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500 Pink Elephants

Well, actually there is only one pink elephant, at least on Charlotte Avenue. But this is the 500th post on this blog, and I thought it was a good moment to post something different! And a good time to take a little vacation of sorts, because this time, WPLN did all my research for me. To be more precise, Sara Ernst, a former multimedia reporting intern at Nashville Public Radio did the research for the podcast Curious Nashville. You can read her story about the elephant, or listen to a podcast episode about various Nashville animal stories, including the pink elephant. Pinkie is currently the mascot of University Motors – you’ll find her on their website, and emblazoned on the shirts of their staff. She’s not the first elephant to reside here. Back when this spot was McPherson Motors, an even larger pink elephant greeted drivers on Charlotte. Even though the original elephant and McPherson Motors were gone for years, there was enough local nostalgia for the old one that when University Motors moved to the site, it seemed inevitable that they too had to have an elephant. But seriously, read Ernst’s story!

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Located at 6005 Charlotte Pike. Perhaps the best place to park is the Dollar General next door.

Nashville Spring Service

Spring Sign mural street art Nashville

Since 1943, Nashville Spring Service has been meeting all your vehicle and trailer spring needs, including, like the sign says, products from Monroe Shocks and Struts. They also provide a lot of other services, like cabinets and shelving. For most of those years, they’ve been in a red-brick building with the official address of 621 Eight Avenue South, but which lies on the corner of 9th Avenue South and “Litte” Division Street (Just one block north of Eight and Division there is a block-long stretch of road also called Division Street.) They have moved, however, to 216 Omohundro Place, an industrial area more in keeping with their work, unlike the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood they leave behind. The old building is for sale. That puts this sign in danger. This type of sign used to be common in Nashville, and you can still find a few of them around, but by and large, they disappear when the business does (or when the building is torn down.) Some new businesses save the old signs, but that’s rare.  So as this blog is meant in part as an archive, I want to document it while it still exists. I found a picture on Google Maps of a three-dimensional sign that used to be here as well (see below) but I don’t believe it made the move to Omohundro. Keep an eye out for these fossils. They are disappearing.

Spring sign street art Nashville
Photo credit: Kenny Holloway

Located, officially, at 621 Eight Avenue South. It actually faces Ninth, at the corner with “Little” Division Street. Around that corner is some of the only free street parking left in downtown Nashville. Grab it while you still can.

Smashville (Jackalopes)

Jackalope Predator

The Preds are playing tonight, so it’s as good a time as any to feature one of the at least three Predator murals found in town. This one is at the downtown Jackalope Brewing Company, another is at Yazoo Brewery, and another is at Bridgestone Arena where the Predators play. All are by Audie Adams who also goes by Audroc. He’s also part of the Thoughts Manifested collective, responsible for a number of murals in town. By the way, do you know why the Predators have that name? The Tennessean does!

Located at 701 Eight Ave South. The mural is on the north side of the building, facing a short street labeled Division Street (not to be confused with the other Division Street one block south). There is some limited free street parking as well as metered and pay parking nearby, and just a few spaces at Jackalope’s.

Fading beauty

Beauty sign mural street art Nashville

Handpainted signs like this one are found all around Nashville. They are particularly a feature of North Nashville, in the area of the Jefferson St. and Buchanan St. corridors, long a predominantly African American neighborhood. Steady gentrification has begun to encroach on the area, and some of these signs have disappeared as a result. The stately red brick building at the corner of Monroe and 9th Avenue is a survivor, dating back at least to 1900. JC Beauty Collection has not been so resilient. The building seems to have been empty for several years. One would hope it will be renovated and repurposed. Perhaps the new tenants, should that come to pass, will preserve this old sign, as Lockeland Table did when it moved into the old Boutique Coiffures building. Interestingly, there is a JC Beauty Mart in Clarksville, so perhaps the business simply moved. In any event, this piece of the North Nashville fabric must be considered endangered art.

Located at 817 Monroe Avenue, at the corner with 9th Ave North. This is across from the Kroger on Rosa Parks Blvd. There is parking at the Kroger, and street parking on 9th.

Do the Dew

Tennessee mural street art Nashville

It’s not often I post about a brand new mural, but this one was finished within the last few days. I know it was largely complete last weekend, lacking mainly the barn sign and the billboard. So one of the dry days last week, the last touches must have gone up. It’s an Eastside Murals project, who’ve taken to signing their work “Out East Boys.” The Mountian Dew theme explains the “It’ll tickle your innards” on the billboard, as that comes from a 1960s Mountain Dew ad campaign. While internet research shows that there are other Mountain Dew murals out there, it doesn’t seem to be a major campaign. “Born in Tennessee” is right, as Mountain Dew was invented in the 1940s by Tennesseans Barney and Ally Hartman as a mixer for whiskey. As this lies on the side of a shuttered Family Dollar store, it’s anybody’s guess how long it will last, depending on the owners’ plans for development. Get your selfie now. I should note when I went to photograph this, I had to wait my turn, as a father-daughter pair were doing their own impromptu shoot.

Located at 1000 Woodland Street. The mural lies on the east side of the building, facing 10th Street South. The old Family Dollar parking lot is now a paid lot, but if you are willing to walk a block or two, you can usually find free street parking nearby.

CBD, Street art style

CBD mural street art Nashville

Many shops selling cannabidiol, often called CBD, have popped up recently in Nashville. The legality of these stores has been complex, though the expansive legalization of hemp in the new Federal farm bill seems to put these stores on firmer ground. So why not a little art advertising their wares? LabCanna is actually a chain with several branches in Tennesee and neighboring states. Their outpost on Gallatin Road contracted the artist who goes by Mobe Oner to produce this advertisement of their main product line. Seriously, there are a lot of CBD stores in Nashville – including one barely a block away from this one!

Located at 1006 Gallatin Ave. There is parking in front and behind, as well as on side streets. The mural is just about 15 feet from the next building over, which, houses Pearl Diver, so shooting your portrait can get a little cramped!

Vinyl Bunker

VinylBunker.jpg

This blog is devoted to outdoor art, and the mural above mostly qualifies, as it is just inside the 5th Avenue entrance to the L&C Parking Garage and if the wind blows from any westerly or northern direction, the rain would definitely hit it. And why does a portrait of Pat Reedy grace a parking garage wall? Because in the basement of the same garage is The Vinyl Bunker, a record store owned by Jason Galaz (the artist who made the mural) and is also headquarters for Muddy Roots, the music festival and record label. And no surprise, Reedy records for that label. So, synergy?

Located at 144 5th Avenue North. The entrance to the garage opens on to the alley behind Downtown Presbyterian Church. Look for the giant mural of words (which I have not yet featured on the blog) – this mural is just below that one.

 

Low key bee

CeeBeeBee

The population of bees, which has been in decline of late, is maybe coming around. Of course, if they were all as big as this one, that might not be a good thing! The Nashville artist who goes by jamersonsgc produced this bee for Eddie’s Cee Bee Food Store on Lafayette, a natural design as bees are part of Cee Bee’s logos. Jamerson, who uses the tag #LowKeyArt, also apparently designs clothing, among other things. I actually had to step out in the middle of Lafayette Street to get this shot. The things I do for art! It appears to be dated 2018, and I’m pretty sure I was on Lafayette earlier this year and didn’t see it, so it’s probably pretty new. And hey, there’s the Batman Building!

Update: This mural has been greatly expanded. See The full bee (an update).

Located at 109 Lafayette Street. The mural faces Lafayette. Cee Bee is a grocery store and has plenty of parking. Load up on sundries and enjoy the art!

Camels and jellyfish, naturally

CamelMain1

I don’t usually take photos from this far away, but I would have a very stretched out photo if I’d gotten closer. This Murals and More work by Michael Cooper is kind of gargantuan. And of course with murals, there’s not a lot you can do to adjust the canvas. The canvas here is the south-facing wall of Camel Express Car Wash. This is, of course, the long tunnel that the cars pass through, and if the client wants the whole wall done, this is the shape of the mural you will get. And it’s no doubt a good investment. Anyone headed north on Dickerson Pike is going to get a clear view from a good ways off, just after they pass under I-65 and Briley Parkway. Cooper deploys his usual trompe l’oeil technique in a particularly colorful way here. I’m not sure I’d want my car to actually go through the process displayed, however! Camel Express features some “making of” photos (dated in mid-March, 2018) on their Facebook photo page (there are more than the ones I linked). One thing you can see is that while Cooper’s name is on the mural, he had other people working with him.

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Located at 3430 Doverside Drive. This is off the southern entrance road that leads to the Lowes and Wallmart that are just north of Briley Parkway on Dickerson Pike. Your best bet for parking is probably the Murphy Express next door. There is a sidewalk on Doverside, so you could walk from the Wallmart parking lot, or just scramble down the hill. Get your car spiffed up and enjoy the art!

 

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