Internationally-known urban street artist and designer Tristan Eaton was the winning artist who created the signature mural on Alexander Lofts, transforming the formerly blank 7,000-square-foot wall into a tribute to the father of telecommunications, Alexander Graham Bell.
His multi-layered approach to portraiture allowed Eaton to “mash up” elements of realism, graphic design, abstract patterns from Bell’s era, historic Southern Bell branding imprints, diagrams of Bell’s original Harmonic Telegraph schematics, and more, to create a truly original visual. Twelve days and over 500 cans of spray paint later, Alexander Lofts became one of Downtown West Palm Beach’s most recognizable works of art.
Alexander Graham Bell revolutionized how we communicate when he invented the Harmonic Telegraph in 1874, thus leading to the modern-day telephone and changing the world forever. For me, art has always been about communication. Art is a more emotional and visual form of communication, but it has the power to connect us just the same. Therefore, being asked to create a mural to celebrate Bell’s life on the former West Palm Beach Southern Bell headquarters, I jumped at the chance and gladly accepted this honor.
Over the course of 2013 I painted a series of murals focusing on portraiture, using a multi-layered approach that brings together many of my visual interests. This approach allows me to ‘mash up’ elements of realism, graphic design, and abstract patterns to create a collage of imagery telling the story of my subject. This method of portrait storytelling is fitting for someone with a life as grand and powerful as Alexander Graham Bell’s.
Within this mural I have sewn together many images both relevant to Bell and the specific location of the mural itself. Within the mural you’ll find Bell himself, selected branding from historic Southern Bell design (including the “Spirit of Communication” illustration from the cover of their phone books during the 1940s), diagrams from the original models of Bell’s Harmonic Telegraph in 1874, the Northern Mocking Bird (The Florida State bird), an American pin-up inspired by George Petty’s illustrations glamorizing the use of the telephone and a selection of graphic patterns from Bell’s era.
I hope for this 7-story mural to be a powerful landmark that brings beauty and glory to both the neighborhood and Bell’s legacy in the city of West Palm Beach.