BROOKLYN—If you're an energy drink aficionado – or just browsing refrigerated beverage options in the NYC-area – you'll soon spot Nets All-Star and Red Bull athlete Deron Williams on a limited edition can of Red Bull's signature beverage.
The company brought together the Nets' point guard and Brooklyn artist Tristan Eaton, a renowed street artist and creator of "designer toys." The pair spent time observing each other at work, and after a six-month process, Eaton's mural will be unveiled Thursday on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn (at the southeast corner of Dean Street).
We caught up with Tristan as he polished off the mural Tuesday afternoon.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: How'd you first get involved with this project?
Tristan Eaton: Red Bull has been pretty good to me for a while. I’ve done some pretty cool projects with them before. Last year, I worked with Thierry Henry, the soccer player for the New York Red Bulls; we did a CRAZY collaborative art project together. That was just awesome. Since I’ve lived in Brooklyn so long, they thought I’d be the right guy for this. They asked me to do it, and I was honored. It’s been about a year in the works.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: What was it like collaborating with Deron?
Tristan Eaton: We got to hang out a little bit, get to know each other a little and that was pretty awesome. I think that we’re completely different people with completely different lives, but we share the same kind of dedication to this thing we love: for me, it’s art, for him, it’s his sport. Both those things require an extreme amount of focus, and we’re both trying to get better all the time – that’s a tough thing. It’s very personal, lifelong dedication, so I think we can relate to each other that way.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: How did the time you spent with Deron, how did that end up influencing your design?
Tristan Eaton: With Deron, as I was getting to know him, I found out that one of the most direct ways that he deals with art in his life is through his tattoos; so zoned in on that as a way to kind of explore his relationship with art. I took the panther and the snake tattoos to make metaphor of his personality on and off the court. That’s what’s happening in this piece.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: Considering it's been so long in the making, how does it feel to be this close to the reveal?
Tristan Eaton: Aw, man. It’s awesome. Right in the middle of Brooklyn, by the Barclays Center, Flatbush Avenue – it’s great. I couldn’t ask for a better wall. This is amazing. Everyone’s going to see it. This is prime real estate.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: As a former resident of nearby Crown Heights, what's it like seeing this area now that it's changed so much?
Tristan Eaton: I remember, before the Barclays Center was here, when I used to skate up and down Flatbush. I’ve been all around here. I remember when there were ‘rumors’ of a stadium going up there and it was all train yards. It was like, ‘Yeah, right. That’s going to be a decade from now!’ But to be here and see it now, it’s real cool.