A photo of Tristan Eaton’s mural from his Instagram account. The painting features legendary local guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, blues musician Lead Belly, Texas’ first practicing Black architect William Sidney Pittman and native fashion icon Jerry Hall.
Artist Tristan Eaton has quite the resume, and his talents will be featured in Deep Ellum for at least the next decade.
Eaton is nearing completion of a massive 8,500-square-foot mural on the side of The Stack, a new office building on Commerce Street. He and his team have been painting for two weeks and plan to have the work completed by March 17.
“I only have one setting, which is over the top, everything I can muster, working as hard as I can, bringing all the detail and love I can into the project,” Eaton told The Dallas Morning News. “So, I don’t want to waste that energy on the wrong project that won’t be a good steward of the work for a long time.”
Eaton secured an agreement to keep the splashy mural displayed for the next 10 years. The L.A.-based artist isn’t from East Dallas himself, but he talked with his friend, rapper Bun B from Texas hip-hop duo UGK, and he visited Fair Park to get a feel for the area.
Eaton also does his research. He has been commissioned for large projects in South Korea and New York and has worked with librarians to make sure his work accurately acknowledges local history in addition to being eye-catching.
In the Deep Ellum mural, he incorporates a collage of native fashion icon Jerry Hall, a re-creation of a mural from Harlem Renaissance painter Aaron Douglas and a reference to the weekly newspaper “Brotherhood Eyes.” Center to the piece is a portrait of a Black woman in a cowboy hat, signifying the neighborhood’s origin as a community started by freed slaves.
“There’s layers for different levels of engagement,” Eaton said. “When you’re driving down the street and see it for three seconds, I want it to have a visual impact. But I want there to be a lot more there for people who spend the time and look into it.”
Check out Eaton’s Instagram for more pictures of the Deep Ellum mural’s progress and to see more of Eaton’s work.