In my consistent effort to bring you timely updates on Nashville’s outdoor art scene, I bring you this mural by Jack Coyle that went up in late December 2020. Ok, so not that timely but I try!
The Capital City Computers building is something of a mini-art gallery. Besides this Coyle piece found on the back wall, there are two other murals. On the north wall, there is a mural of colorful, wavy lines by the artist who goes by Sterbo. That mural appeared at the same time this Coyle piece did. The south wall has long hosted what I call the Young Warlords mural, a portrait of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as they looked back in the 1980s which was done by Bryan Deese, wand hich Capital City uses on their webpage. There aren’t many buildings in town that are this thoroughly decorated.
The surreal imagery in this mural is in keeping with a mural Coyle did even earlier at 912 Main Street, which I am surprised has survived the fast pace of development on Main – so far at least. Definitely check that one out soon.
Located at 1106 Gallatin Ave. The mural is on the back of the building, away from Gallatin. There is parking at Capital City. Probably the best time to visit and see all three murals is on the weekend when Capital City Computers is closed. Capital City Computers is across the street from Publix.
Because I took a break from the blog for a while, I’ve missed some new art. But I also have a back catalog, if you will, of older art that still needs to make it to the blog. And the double mural at the Commodore Grille is an important work I should have put on the blog a long time ago.
What makes this work important is its location, for the Commodore Grille sits in the Holiday Inn building on West End. This makes the murals at the Commodore Grille some of the very first murals on a building owned by a national chain in Nashville. Depending on how you define “major,” it might also qualify for the very first on a building owned by a major chain. This mural and its companion (which I will feature soon in an upcoming post) were done by Mobe Oner (Eric Bass) in April 2019 in honor of the Grille’s 50th anniversary. As such, they beat out the mural at our local branch of Top Golf by a couple of months and the one at the Kroger near Five Points by a few more. The only mural at a national chain in Nashville that appeared earlier that I am aware of is the one at what used to be a Holler & Dash and is now rebranded as a branch of Maple Street Biscuit Company. That one was created by Meghan Wood of I Saw the Sign in early 2018. Ashley Bergeron of The Studio 208 helped Mobe Oner get the Grille and Holiday Inn to take this leap and put local art on a national chain.
It’s also an early example of an interactive mural, or at least it was. At one point there was a stool in the middle where people could get their picture made between the two songwriters. While the famous wings mural was probably the first intentionally interactive mural in Nashville, as a trend interactive murals didn’t really take off until around the time the Commodore Grille murals went up. (The Gulch wings mural went up in 2016, around the time I started this blog.)
The anonymous songwriters in this mural are an obvious theme for the Commodore Grille, as songwriters’ nights and open mic nights are a regular feature of the entertainment there. If you want to see a very different version of Nashville music from the one found down on Lower Broad, you might want to check out the Commodore Grille.
Located at 2613 West End Avenue. The mural faces west towards 28th Avenue South. This is a busy area with lots of parking, but most of it is tied to local businesses. You might try the parking garage on the 2500 block of West End or look for street parking on Vanderbilt Place a block south of the mural.
Back last summer, in June, a bright, vibrant mural appeared on the side of The Local Distro in Salemtown, facing onto their outdoor dining area. It was the product of many hands, a true community mural put together by a number of artists, nonprofits, and the children of the neighborhood. (According to the Tennessean, many came from the nearby Chetham Place housing community.)
(I have been having technical trouble with featured photos. If you don’t see the full mural at the top of the post, scroll down to the bottom.)
Booker and thirty-four youth artists worked with art therapist Devon Billions-Gomez of Inspritus, a social services non-profit, to develop the themes for the mural. The ideas they developed focus on many prominent current issues, such as police brutality and the work of Black Lives Matter. The tornado represents the March 2020 storm that devastated much of North and East Nashville. The mural was officially unveiled on June 13, 2021.
Booker is no stranger to this kind of work. He participated in the “We Are Seeds” community mural in 2019, which was also a youth collaboration, and he recently collaborated on a piece at the Oasis Center that I will feature later.
I almost made the mistake of saying this mural was in Germantown, but the blocks bordered by Rosa Parks Boulevard, Hume Street, 3rd Ave North, and the interstate are Salmentown, a neighborhood chopped up badly when the interstate was built.
Located at 614 Garfield Street, at the corner with 7th Ave North. The mural faces 7th. Street parking is available on 7th, and if you are a patron of the Local Distro, behind their building.
I’ve been away from the blog for two months if you are wondering why you haven’t seen any posts in a while. I’m not sure why I’ve been off so long. Some of it is pandemic blahs, for sure. But I think it was burnout as well. Back in June 2021, I hit the fifth-year anniversary of the blog. For much of that time, I was posting three times a week. I also spent a lot of time driving around Davidson County looking for outdoor art, old and new. Any cloudy day (I hate shadows on my pictures), I’d hit the road, keeping my eyes peeled for any splash of color.
But back last October, I started to slow down to two posts a week, and by November just one a week. Then my post-Thanksgiving, end-of-the-semester-I-have-a-lot-of-work-to-do vacation stretched to Christmas, then to New Year’s, and heck, all of January. Well, it’s February 1, and Chinese Lunar New Year, and as good a time to restart as any. And the Facebook page for the blog has been getting a lot of new followers, so the lack of new content has gotten a little embarrassing!
So, some art. Anyone who has known the 12 South neighborhood over the last several years has seen the “Erector Set Sculpture” as I have dubbed it. I never blogged about it because I was never able to determine who built it, or who authorized or commissioned it. It sits (or rather did) behind what’s known as the Paris Building, which was sold last May. The only “signature” on it was some leaf prints in the concrete bases and what might be “1221.” Well, those small clues are all that’s left of the Erector Set Sculpture. It disappeared sometime in the last few months, and I’m not sure if it still exists. Presumably, the new owners didn’t want it anymore. It was sitting on some very valuable property.
If anyone knows its history or what happened to it, I will be happy to update this post!
And I will be posting again. I’m shooting for twice a week for now and may ramp up in the future.
Formerly located behind the Paris Building at 2814 12th Avenue South. There are plenty of great murals to see in the area, so you should still visit, but you might want to rideshare – there are a lot of tourists fighting for not many parking spaces.
UPDATE: All it took was for me to post it to Instagram to learn the artist and the proper name. From Jon Sewell:
“The sculpture, named by artist Holton Rower as “Church of Sculpture,” was located at 2814 12th Ave. S., in the 12South District. As a side note, the 2814 property was owned by 1221 Partners, and Mark Deutschmann and Joel Solomon were co-managers of that partnership. They have a long history of doing the right thing And supporting good causes. Holton, the artist and Joel’s close friend, is the grandson of the artist legend, Alexander Calder. The sculpture has been a low profile art presence, formerly in Hillsboro Village (1996), then moved to 12South in 2009. Last I heard it was moved into storage when the 12th S site was sold.”
If it ever reappears, I will give it its own proper post.
If you’re standing on the west side of the upper decks of Topgolf and look off to your right, you might see a train, because there’s a track down there. Indeed, if there wasn’t a net to catch golfballs, you could hit a passing train. Look across the street, and you’re guaranteed to see a train – well, a mural of one, anyway.
(I have been having some issues with featured photos. If you don’t see a photo at the top of this post, scroll down to the bottom to see the full mural.)
This mural of a fanciful Shiner Bock Train hauling a giant can and an even larger bottle of the brew went up in early September. It’s the work of Malcolm Byers, an artist out of Denton, Texas. That delights me because a bunch of my relatives went to college in Denton, I have a lot of family there, and I lived there as a little kid when my parents were in graduate school. In the before times, I was out there for a family wedding and saw a lot of murals, and maybe even some of Byers’s work.
This of course is an advertisement for the Shiner company, who sponsored it, and they have a great video of Byers working on the mural on their Instagram account. I scrolled through that account and didn’t see other murals, so this is something of a departure for them.
Perhaps not surprising for what is basically an ad, the mural was designed by Anat Ronen in conjunction with the ad agency Bakery. Like Byers, Ronen is a Texas artist. Bakery has done other work with Shiner, including a series of comic TV ads. This is all a Texas affair, as Bakery and Shiner are also out of the Lone Star State. (Me too – I was born in San Antonio.)
How long this mural and the apparent storage building it’s on will be around is anybody’s guess. This part of Nashville is slated for major redevelopment. Most of that development is planned for the other side of Topgolf, along the riverbank, but if it turns out looking anything like this rendering, everything is up for grabs in this traditionally industrial neighborhood. Even more so given that Oracle is building a major project just up the street.
But this is the new Nashville, and nothing lasts forever. So get your pictures while you can!
Located at 403 Cowan Street, directly across the street from Topgolf. There’s a gravel lot across the street that probably belongs to Topgolf. There is no street parking anywhere nearby.
Life has been turned upside for everyone since March 2020, but East Nashville started this strange period even bumpier than most. The March 3, 2020 tornado hit the neighborhood hard, and since then there have been many tributes to the rebuilding and the resilience of this side of town, notably the “Nashville Strong” mural at Boston Commons. More recently, a bright, multi-colored tribute to East Nashville’s comeback appeared at Lockeland Table.
About a year ago, Cara Graham, co-owner of Lockeland table, asked Emily Harper Beard (who works under the name e.f. harper) to do a mural that represented East Nashville’s strength and resilience. Beard hesitated at first because she didn’t want to compete with the mural that was already on Lockeland Table’s main wall (a painted sign from when the building housed a hair salon). Also, she was reluctant to paint on the building’s brick wall.
An answer came from Andee Rudloff (who has been featured on this blog many times) – aluminum panels from the local branch of Jerry’s Artarama (who has their own post-tornado comeback mural I need to feature). From there it was a question of design, and Beard settled on a phoenix image she had created in college. The phoenix, of course, is an ancient and potent symbol of rebirth and renewal. The hashtag on the mural gives this blog post its title.
Located at 1520 Woodland Street, at the corner with 16th Street. The mural faces east, away from downtown and Five Points. There is street parking available, but you might wind up walking a block or two.
I had already planned to write my next blog post about this giant mural at One Drop Ink when the Tennessean decided to feature one of the artists who created it, Elisheba Israel Mrozik, earlier this week. That was of course about yet another mural she’s produced (along with the help of a number of young artists) – I need to post more to keep up!
(I have been having some trouble with featured photos. If you don’t see a photo at the top of the blog post, scroll to the bottom where I repeat it.)
Mrozik is the owner and an artist at One Drop Ink, and this particular piece is a collaboration with another of the artists there, Michael “Ol Skool” Mucker. Mucker unfortunately was the victim of a hack, and the Instagram signature on the mural no longer works – you’ll find his new account here.
Talking about the more recent mural, Mrozik told the Tennessean (you can hear her talk about it in the video on this link):
“I feel like my place in all of this is to bring the Black form and Black art and the North Nashville communitty to the world and to the rest of Nashville.”
The art that she has done in Nashville certainly follows those themes. A mural that sadly has been recently painted over that she did a few years ago has some similarities to this one, featuring a regal black figure with bright white eyes and surrounded by the images of space, sky, math, and the sciences. Here in this mural that she did with Mucker, we again see the regal figures with the mysteries of space, but also symbols of wealth, power, and the African heritage of Black Americans.
The mural went up last summer, and you can see here that it was painted in stages, with the two portraits done first, and the space imagery and the masks added later.
This mural is part of several that have gone up in the Jefferson Street and Buchanan Street neighborhoods during the pandemic months that depict Black themes and issues, and Mrozik participated in some of those others as well. This region of North Nashville is one of the most vibrant areas for outdoor art, forming a critical part of the visual fabric of our community.
Located at 1511 Jefferson Street. The mural is on the east side of the building, facing towards downtown. There is a large parking lot in front of the mural.