By Cari Holland
All passengers whose flights have just touched down at Jacksonville International Airport will take a walk through the terminal with their necks tilted back.
The sight that will keep their attention and their eyes close to the ceiling is a mural by Donald Martin, a Flagler College art professor of 25 years. Seven feet tall and 500 feet in length, it took two years to create. This massive painting beautifully depicts the history of northeast Florida and showcases our region’s ecological diversity.
One of the many travelers who have an appreciation for the aesthetic upgrade of the terminal is Jim Goodwin, senior vice president for new product development at the Bacardi corporation. Goodwin was so pleased with Martin’s artwork that in September 2005 he commissioned the artist of the JIA murals to paint a unique series for Bacardi.
Martin will finish the series of murals he has been painting for the Bacardi Corporation in December.
The three murals will portray Bacardi’s history as a company and illustrate the process of making rum. “After they presented the theme to me, I began the process with a series of black and white drawings that captured the idea,” said Martin.
At each step in the process Martin has met with a committee from Bacardi for approval or suggestion.
When the color drawings were finished Martin began to work on the three, seven-foot by 30-foot murals.
At the beginning of the semester, Martin brought his work into the classroom to show his Design I students what he has been working on.
“It is so cool to see a professor’s involvement in art outside of school,” said Erin Dennis, a junior majoring in fine arts. “For a major corporation like Bacardi to choose our own professor to be the artist of such a massive project is amazing.”
The murals will be located on outside walls of the courtyard at the Bacardi product development center in north Jacksonville.
Since canvas and acrylic paints could not withstand the outdoor elements, Bacardi hired a tile company out of Fort Wayne, Indiana to transfer Martin’s paintings onto 12-inch by 12-inch ceramic tile.
When the paintings are finished, they will be photographed and transferred to a software program that will print in special ink to be transferred to glazed tiles, said Martin.
The transformation from acrylic painting to ceramic tile will take approximately three weeks for the tile company to complete and then the installation process will begin.