CHANGE: The painting is in Eine’s signature font – making it instantly recognisable as his work. The mural stretches 21 metres long in letters 2.4 metres high and Eine has carried out the commission free of charge for the Flavasum Trust.
Ben Eine/Flavasum Trust, Old Street, London EC1
Earlier this year, British street artist Ben Eine made headline news when Prime Minister David Cameron set off to see President Obama with Eine’s TWENTYFIRSTCENTURYCiTY as a gift – Ben Eine is one of Samantha Cameron’s favourite artists, it transpired.
Tragically, four years ago this September, Tom-Louis Easton – a 22-year-old youth worker and musician – also made the news, when he was killed in an unprovoked knife attack while at a music project recording studio in Islington.
Tom was born in North London on 25 September, 1983 – he was buried on what would have been his 23rd birthday. After his death, Tom’s mother Dolores Altares and his family set up anti-knife charity the Tom Easton Flavasum Trust to help engage disadvantaged youngsters in the Arts and steer them away from knife crime.
On Friday – the day before what would have been Tom’s 27th birthday – his family and Ben Eine unveiled a painting by Eine in memory of Tom and others who have died from knife crime, on a wall almost next to the recording studio where Tom died.
The mural simply reads CHANGE.
Standing on the pavement on a blustery autumn evening, the family’s enthusiasm for this project and carrying on Tom’s work is clear. “We had been thinking of what to put up and because his signature is letters, what better word than Change?” says Tom’s mother Dolores.
The painting is in Eine’s signature font – making it instantly recognisable as his work. The mural stretches 21 metres long in letters 2.4 metres high and Eine has carried out the commission free of charge for the Flavasum Trust. Eine says the trust wanted an artist that younger generations could relate to and when approached, he felt the charity was a good cause to be involved with.
CHANGE rides across the wall in bold colours and is impossible to miss.
Meeting the parents of a victim of knife crime also had a profound effect on him – Eine is the father of three young children and says what happened to Tom is ‘horrific’ and ‘unimaginable’ for any parent. “You read stuff in the newspapers, but to actually meet the parents of somebody who has lost their life; and to hear their personal story and to hear how they are dealing with it – and they talk about how other parents deal with it – is amazing: they’re always busy, they’re always doing something.”
Dolores Altares added, “Change is what we’re all about – the trust that we formed in Tom’s name, it is what Tom was all about: he worked with Islington, he was trying to cause a little change by working with kids off the street, teaching them music and keeping them out of trouble.”
The Flavasum Trust works with groups and individuals in an arts programme funded purely by donations.
“We are supporting some theatre groups and other organisations,” says Dolores. “But ideally we would like the Arts to be used as means of raising awareness, and that is what we are pushing at the moment with the Home Office, the police and other organisations.”
Ben Eine says to see how Tom’s family has coped with their loss is an ‘uplifting, inspiring story.’“To hear about what they do and how they try to change young people’s lives and young people’s attitudes towards knives – it’s amazing.”
Ben Eine’s painting CHANGE to commemorate Tom-Louis Easton and other victims of knife crime is situated on Old Street, London EC1, between Ironmonger Row and Bath Street.
You can hear Tom Easton’s music at MySpace – the site is run by Tom’s partner, Daisy. (http://www.myspace.com/flavasumproductions)
You can also make a donation to the Tom Easton Flavasum Trust by sending a cheque made payable to the trust to:
The Flavasum Trust
P O Box 23
Herts SG8 8DT