By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — The glittering legacy and cultural importance of Sidney Poitier, as well as the distinctive personality and huge influence of Judy Garland, are now celebrated in a new six story Hollywood mural. Pop artist Tristan Eaton was commissioned to create the spray paint work on the new Aster hotel and club.
Ther mural made its debut Aug. 25. It adorns the south-facing side of the Aster club and hotel, The mural was created with spray paint and executed in Eaton’s signature collage style, which mixes pop art and traditional techniques. It’s a salute to Hollywood groundbreakers Garland and Poitier, whose likenesses are the largest figurative elements of the work.
Eaton said, the mural pays tribute to “car culture, graffiti culture, punk rock and underground film,” which were a part of his experience growing up in Los Angeles. Eaton jokes that he was conceived a few blocks from the Aster when his father was courting his actor mother, and that he was born just down the way on Sunset Boulevard. He was raised in greenrooms and backstage areas, and those environments informed the conception of the piece, whose focus is “Hollywood versus underground Hollywood.”
The artist credits Stacy Peralta, the Z-Boys skateboarder and surfer-turned-film director and entrepreneur with shaping his vision of the city. Peralta himself appears on the mural, as does a graphic borrowed from his skateboard brand Powell-Peralta.
Other Los Angeles signifiers — including Randy’s Donuts, City of Los Angeles insignias, the Cinerama Dome, Mel’s Diner and Griffith Observatory — are depicted in the mural, as well as writer Joan Didion, muralist David Alfaro, cartoonist Phil Norman, illustrator Betty Brader, April Geiman, designer Sheila de Brettville and poster artist Stanley Mouse.
Eaton received two certificates of recognition, one from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and another from Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell of Los Angeles’ 13th district. The Aster, which opened earlier this month, the same week Eaton’s mural was completed, also received a certificate. Before heading up to the club level of the Aster to celebrate, Eaton told the LA Times “I’ve been trying to get this wall for six years,” and commented on the irony of being in Hollywood “in a suit and a tie, talking about spray paint.” 1717 Vine St., Hollywood