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Graffiti-style art creates image for XFactory businesses in Point Breeze

Tribune-Review
| Tuesday, November 18, 2014 9:00 p.m.
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James Knox | Trib Total Media
Artists John Muldoon (left) and Jewels Despines stand in front of a mural they created Monday, Nov. 17, 2014 at the X Factory in Point Breeze.
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James Knox | Trib Total Media
Artists John Muldoon (left) and Jewels Despines created this mural now on display Monday Nov. 17, 2014 at the X Factory in Point Breeze.
PTRLIVMURAL3111814
James Knox | Trib Total Media
Artists John Muldoon (left) and Jewels Despines created this mural now on display Monday Nov. 17, 2014 at the X Factory in Point Breeze.
PTRLIVMURAL4111814
James Knox | Trib Total Media
A detail of a mural created by artists John Muldoon (left) and Jewels Despines that's now on display Monday Nov. 17, 2014 at the X Factory in Point Breeze.

A quick look at the massive mural spanning the length of a multi-use building in Point Breeze shows a few familiar faces.

Cartoon characters hang out among oversize roses, bright bridges and stained glass. A closer look reveals words forming the message amid the chaos: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

The bold graffiti-style artwork covers the first floor of XFactory, a former grocery warehouse with more space than four football fields, on Lynn Way. The structure, built in the 1920s, is home to an array of businesses, ranging from an embroidery company to a winery, contractors, a choreographer, cabinetmakers, tech firms and several others.

The mural’s message is a nod to the many businesses housed within XFactory walls and the dedication of each owner who made his or her goal a reality.

“It’s a little abstract, but that was on purpose,” says Howard Eisner, who has owned the building since 1977 and commissioned the mural. “We want to relate to a younger generation.”

The mural, created by a community of artists over three months this past summer, marks a new era for the building. From the outside, XFactory looks like an industrial warehouse with its exposed brick and raw concrete. Eisner has been revamping its image and welcoming new tenants since the nearby Bakery Square started drawing more people to the area.

Artists Jewels Despines of Beechview and John Muldoon of Shadyside headed up the project, which the former calls “the biggest, hands down” job he’s ever had. They went through more than 400 cans of spray paint to get it done and caught plenty of attention from tenants and passersby while working.

“Everyone seems to like it,” Despines says. “People in the neighborhood and little kids came to hang out with us while we were working on it.” Eisner plans to expand the mural on the building facade and inside where white walls greet guests now. Despines and Muldoon already are planning the next step.

“It’s what we’re good at, and we love doing it,” Muldoon says.

Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or rweaver@tribweb.com.

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