A portion of a brick building, covered in a mural, broke free and crashed through the roof of a law office below, sending four people to the hospital. “Spirit of Communication” painted by Tristan Eaton in 2014, was one of the largest murals in Florida and the artist’s career. It took him 12 days, 500 cans of spray paint, and 4 people to create the 8,000 square mural. The artwork was commissioned by Alexander Lofts luxury apartments and had been wildly popular, so there was no question the owners of the building would have it redone.
The new Alexander Lofts Mural is now a landmark in downtown West Palm Beach. Placed on the outside of the former headquarters of Southern Bell Telephone Company, Tristan decided to paint a portrait of Alexander Graham Bell to commemorate the history of the building. Eaton’s multi-layered, collage-like unique style combined elements of hyper-realism, extreme graphic design, abstract patterns from Bell’s early American era, historic Southern Bell branding imprints and logos. More details added with women on the phone, old fashioned handsets, patterns, and logos laid over the large head of Bell himself – all executed with freehand spray paint on a colossal scale.
Born in L.A. in 1978, Tristan Eaton started pursuing street art as a teenager, painting everything from billboards to dumpsters in the urban landscapes of the cities where he lived, be it London, Detroit, or New York. He designed his first toy for Fisher-Price at 18 years old and soon became a driving force in the world of designer toys. Eaton’s work for Kidrobot, including the famous Dunny and Munny art toys, helped him achieve international renown and an ever-growing fan base. After forming his Creative Agency Thunderdog Studios in New York City in 2004, Eaton became a leader in the advertising and commercial-art spheres, and is regularly commissioned by a roster of clients that includes Nike, Versace, and even Barack Obama. Eaton’s work can also be seen in the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) permanent collection.
CANVAS Outdoor Museum
Tristan Eaton is one of several most prominent street artists who left their artworks in the Palm Beaches giving the city the title of “outdoor museum”. CANVAS mural project founded by Nicole Henry, the owner and director of Nicole Henry Fine Art on Fern Street, invited over 30 such well-known and recognized artists as 2Alas, Bik-Ismo, Case Maclaim, Cyrcle, Eduardo Kobra, José Bedia, Okuda, Sean Yoro (aka Hula), Sipros, WRDSMTH, Heracut, Hoxxoh, and more. Big up to Jose Bedia (son of the famous Cuban artist Jose Bedia), Producer of the project for the great organization and care for artists.
Inspired by murals in New York, Loca Angeles and Miami, Nicole Henri opened CANVAS Outdoor Museum to bring together the most innovative contemporary artists from around the world. With the goal of transforming landscapes into an interactive art experience, activating spaces and engaging with the city, murals were complemented by public and private events, including fashion shows.
One of the most unique murals were created by Hula under the Royal Park Bridge over Lake Worth, that separates West Palm Beach from Palm Beach.
“Clara” painted by Hula in 2015 was voted the most popular mural on the web, despite local vandals who stole his paint supplies and smashed beer bottles against his in-progress mural overnight. Yoro taped his feet to protect against all the broken glass on the ground and bought new paints and brushes to finish the job at the last few days before CANVAS ended, according to WPB Magazine. The gorgeous portrait of Clara, a model who posed for him in his Brooklyn studio, stands with a determined look on her face, arm raised as if holding up the very bridge itself. She appears to be naked, but no further skin exists below the tide line.
People loved the mural and Nicole Henri brought Hula to West Palm Beach again. Self-taught artist Sean Yoro aka Hula, broke into the street art world in 2015, when the release of his unique water murals became widely publicized. Influenced by his love of the ocean, Hula took to the water to create semi-submerged murals, while balancing on his stand up paddleboard. Hula strives to bring life to empty spaces, usually working on shipwrecks, abandoned docks and forgotten walls. Merging his backgrounds in both street and fine art, Hula works entirely with oil paint and uses traditional techniques to create soft, female figures interacting with the surface of the water. Hula’s work often leaves you feeling an array of emotions while proposing an environmental discussion. His work can be found on public walls and in galleries worldwide.
Another artist who made it twice to West Palm Beach, Case Maclaim aka Andreas von Chrzanowski, a founding member of the renowned East- Germany Ma’Claim Crew. He has been a photorealism pioneer for over two decades, primarily using the medium of spray paint to embrace the power of movement through the universality of hands. “Power” and “movement” have individually played key roles in the backbone of his German roots, inspiring him to communicate his strong messages of unity and power by overlaying hands. The overlaying “movement” is not just the physical body movement but a political movement, generally being left without a particular context in which the viewer is left to visualize the remaining story and/or emotion, relative to their current situations. Having traveled to over 20 countries he has literally left his fingerprints in each, continually leaving bits and pieces of a language understood by all – after all a hand gesture can tell a thousand words.
Case painted both a mural and a free-standing wall back-to-back with Sipros, Hoxxoh and other great artists and friends.
Along with well-established artists such as Eduardo Kobra, regional young talented artists painted murals in West Palm Beach Downtown. Danny Doya‘s parents migrated to Miami from Colombia in 1990. He was born in Opa-Locka and started drawing at the age of five, experimenting with paints at 13. He got his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Florida State University. After graduating, he began working with galleries, selling internationally. Nowadays, he is a full-time artist specializing in oil paintings, design, and large-scale murals. One of his largest murals is in West Palm Beach.
“Eris and the golden apple It was an honor to paint this mural for downtown WPB on such a large scale. Besides the apple’s symbolism of knowledge and immortality, “Eris and the Golden Apple” is a story about a Greek goddess who caused the trojan war with a golden apple. Her controversial persona as a deity always fascinated me. I always contemplated whether or not she was misunderstood, and what caused her to become the goddess to spawn so much chaos. Ultimately, the most important aspect of this piece was to depict this look of somber contemplation. A piece that hatches dialogue amongst a community” – Danny Doya, artist.
In 2017 CANVAS Outdoor Museum extended its “art show” to Lake Worth with the theme of Unity. With believe that art and artistic expression offers an opportunity to transcend our differences and connect all of us beyond our backgrounds, age, religion, and beliefs, artists were encouraged to promote healing, communication, and remind us that Unity is possible.
Thus, highly neat and graphic work by CYRCLE aimed to connect people, inspire us, give us hope, and bring thoughtful dialog to our community.
“We may live in a divided nation however we stand for unity, love, justice, equality, and peace for all. We will not let hate and fear slow our progress, or tear us apart. Why build a wall, when we can… ” – CYRCLE for Street Art News.
… when we can build a bridge. The artwork was obviously inspired by “the wall“, a proposed expansion of the Mexico–United States barrier during the U.S. presidency of Donald Trump. Throughout his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump called for the construction of a much larger border wall, claiming that if elected, he would “build the wall and make Mexico pay for it.” CYRCLE’s artworks focus on life, duality, and the human condition combined with the aesthetic consideration of form, typeface, color, and balance which is what creates their “signature” style that perfectly fits the “Unity” subject. CYRCLE, a two-man collective made up of, American artists David Leavitt (Davey Detail) and David Torres (Rabi) have recently split up successfully transforming into solo artists.
Internationally-acclaimed fine artist and muralist Douglas Hoeksema aka HOXXOH attempted to show us “Unity” through a different, abstract way of viewing. His typical work can be found in almost every city of South Florida where he resides and creates a new foundation to evaluating and appreciating time. The oscillation of the pendulum paints time through gravity’s natural pull. Expressing how we can be pulled in one direction, when we are really meant to be going in another. How resistance creates a struggle and a false sense of control. Where if we follow the natural flow of times predetermined, yet unseen path, an experience of beauty and pure form will take shape.
The murals of the CANVAS Outdoor Museum were sponsored by various private entities. Unfortunately, CANVAS has not produced more projects since 2017 and the future of the program is unknown at the moment.
Art in Public Places
Art in Public Places Palm Beach County enriched the Palm Beaches “outdoor museum” with historical and local stories that create a distinct sense of place. Local, statewide and nationally acclaimed artists competed for the opportunity to create site-specific works in communities countywide.
One of the most prominent designs can be found along Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. Delray Progress artwork was completed a long time before CANVAS, back in 2007. Named after an early newspaper, Delray Progress celebrates the spirit and history of Delray Beach and features a 3,300 sq. foot mural by Andrew Reid”, a 14 ft. sculptural ceramic pineapple bench, and painted ceramic bench tops & seating areas. Carlos Alves & JC Carroll were collaborators on the project and produced all the ceramic work.
Andrew Reid’s mural illustrates stories of past and present with bold images of the people, flora, fauna and industries that shaped the unique character and landscape of Delray Beach and South County. Reid’s style is influenced by the WPA murals (Works Progress Administration) invented to provide economic relief to the citizens of the United States who were suffering through the Great Depression. That give an exhaustive narrative, as well as propaganda muralists:
“Propaganda – both good and bad – started with muralists around the world,“ Reid says from his studio, surrounded by works in progress ranging from paintings to tables to wall screens. “It’s meant to tell a story with a certain point of view. I get very involved with the community when I do these murals and by the time I start there is only one truth.” – says Andrew Reid in the article.
Similarly to the County Public Art Program, the City of West Palm Beach, Art in Public Places (AiPP) seeks to create public art that encourages artistic exploration, infuses creativity into the City’s diverse neighborhoods, celebrates the City’s historical richness and embraces art as an integral part of everyday life, transforming the City into a local, national, and international destination.
One of the most recent and interesting works of the program, the water tank was considered from a 360-degree perspective as the mural wraps around the entire 78-foot-wide structure. DAAS was chosen from among 61 who applied to a call to artist. The $35,000 project was funded by the Art in Public Places Program, whose money comes from fees paid by developers.
“Titled “Let The Future Unfold”, painted in 2019, this mural was commissioned by the City of West Palm Beach, Art in Public Places (AiPP) to beautify an aging 55′ ft tall water tank in the Dreher Park Neighborhood. The mural depicts a young child launching a paper airplane into the sky, which as it moves around the tower, the paper transforms into a dove. The work is meant to inspire the young children that walk by the tower every day on their way to school” – DAAS, artist.
With a message of hope, the mural shows a young girl from the Dreher Park neighborhood. Bougainvillea, hummingbirds and a blue heron surround the girl, symbols of her community, environment, heritage, and imagination. The airplane unfolds and refolds like a work of origami, a typical element of DAAS’ work. As it travels around the tank, the airplane returns to the child transformed as a dove.
On this beautiful note, the GNV URBAN ART sends you all a message of hope and keeps working on the Florida Top 10 Urban Art Destinations supported by a grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.