Spotlight| Matthew “briteso” Forrest

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Video by Alex Campbell and Freddie Hall

Expanding the Spotlight

Those familiar with our digital Spotlight music series on WFSU’s YouTube channel know that we recently featured our first non-music artist: Muralist Matthew “briteso” Forrest.  Forrest has been doing graphic design for about 13 years and for the last three he has been focused on painting large murals around down. His work is easy to find around Tallahassee, primarily in the Railroad Square and the southern part of the city.

One small step for murals, one big step for briteso

The first mural Forrest ever worked on is called “Spaceman” and can be found on the side of Cat Family Records in Railroad Square. “I bit off way more than I could chew,” Forrest said about the mural.  “I didn’t have any idea of what I was doing and how complicated I was making it. I’ve learned so much since then, but I am so happy with how that one came out.”   That mural painted the way to the creation of many others he has done in the surrounding area.

Feeling the Tallahassee Love

While Forrest considers “Spaceman” his most unique mural, he feels his most popular mural is the one that features the Tallahassee-born musician T-Pain.  The mural is called “Tallahassee Love” after one of T-Pain’s songs and shows the music artist in a lot of brilliant colors such as purple, yellow and green. Many musical artists from the community show a lot of love for the design and often perform at events held at that Railroad Crossing location (1312 South Adams Street).  Forrest also says this mural was a lot of fun for him. “Primarily because I was using a lot of tools and materials I never really used before and it allowed me an opportunity to stretch my creative muscles.”  

Taking a quick flight with Nighthawk

Forrest says the creation of his murals typically take a few days but there is one he did in less time. The piece he calls “Nighthawk” is located in Gallie Alley at 109 East College Ave and was created in collaboration with Downtown Tallahassee. It shows an all-black background with a white hawk flying across it. Forrest says he had only one day to paint this mural and the result demonstrates his efficiency as well as his creativity.

Forrest’s passion for these pieces runs deep and once he gets started, they come alive for him and for those who view them. He has other murals with many different styles and many depict people who hold special places in Tallahassee’s history.  Included in that list: “King Love” who is a Tallahassee legend known for walking around downtown wearing a crown and a cape and carrying a sign saying “Love is the Answer”; Carrie Patterson and Wilhelmina Jakes, who prompted the start of the Tallahassee Bus Boycott in 1956, are in the “ Moving Forward Together” mural; and musician Jim Morrison is seen in triplicate in the mural named after his song “Light My Fire.”  We were happy to highlight Forrest murals in Spotlight and showcase his mark on this community.

A Map to the Murals

Want to check out Matthew “briteso” Forrest’s murals and learn more about each of them for yourself? Check out this map that locates murals featured in our story and provides a short video that explores more of the briteso story.

Spotlight is a local creator series dedicated to showcasing independent artists and sharing their stories locally and beyond. This digital series aims to feature artists of all kinds from the Florida Big Bend area.  You can find new and past episodes on our WFSU Public Media YouTube page under the Spotlight playlist. If you are a local artist and are interested in being featured on Spotlight, please contact us at spotlight@wfsu.org.

A man sitting on edge of stage
Freddie Hall
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Freddie Hall is a Camera Technician and Photojournalist for WFSU Public Media. One of the most notable projects he's helped produce is a digital series called Spotlight, which shines a light on local artistic and musical talent. Freddie earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Florida State University and an Associate of Arts degree from Tallahassee Community College. As a kid, Freddie always loved movies and tv shows, as well as discovering how they are made.  While attending Florida State University, Freddie interned with the Red Hills Motion Picture Releasing Company as part of FSU's Torchlight Program. This is where his love for production and writing began. Freddie’s work at WFSU has helped make those dreams come to life.

While with WFSU Freddie has helped to produce content for The Florida Department of Emergency Management, FSU's Board of Trustees, The Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, and FSU’s College of Music. He's also worked on studio productions as a camera operator and audio engineer.  As a Tallahassee native, Freddie loves to show his appreciation for the community through his photography skills. He works on the WFSU Local Routes photo project called “Now & Then” as one of the photographers and writers. It showcases various notable historic landmarks across our North Florida and South Georgia area.