Someday I will finish the Norf Wall gallery project. I had thought to just do one big post on everything that’s left, but I think I’ll save that for the ones I don’t know the artist and which have things stacked in front so the pictures aren’t great. This is not one of those. It’s signed “TA” and is obviously the work of Thaxton Waters, who first appeared in this blog in A Soul Break. The main panel includes images of Mahatma Gandhi, the Dali Lama, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. The last one really looks like Etta James to me, who would not be out of place given her role in bridging white and black culture.
Located about half about half a block south of where 18th Ave North dead ends into Herman Street, and under Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Boulevard. Parking is very easy here. The tire company that occupies this space seems to be fine with people exploring to view the art. See the map post for Part 1.
This is post number 300. For this post, I’m updating on the art I know is now gone. The photo above is an Emily Miller piece once found at the corner of Main and McFerrin. Much of Miller’s work is deliberately temporary, drawn on paper and glued to outdoor walls. Her pieces are more durable than you might think, however, and in fact, this one was deliberately removed when the building was repainted. That’s the fate of most of the works listed here – they have been painted over. Others are gone because the building they stood on is gone.
The blog itself is getting a little better all the time. Statistics wise, since I started it in July 2016, 5450 people have visited the blog for a total of 11,006 page views. Modest, but it has been growing. From a couple hundred views a month when I got started, 800 and 900 has become common, it looks like the blog is about to close in on the second month in a row and third overall for more than 1000 views. The empire grows slowly.
All art is temporary, outdoor art in particular. A list, probably incomplete, of art I have chronicled that is gone or substantially erased. (I will be updating these posts in the coming weeks):
North Nashville is changing, as is the entire city. This particular mural, with its records of parts of Nashville already long gone, may not be around much longer itself. Northside Auto Clean Up, located at the north end of DB Todd Jr Blvd, is for sale, and the business appears to be shut down, which means this mural goes in the endangered art category. The artist seems to be the same one who did the murals just down the street that I featured in Down at the corner. The style is quite similar, and like one of those murals, this mural references itself! You can see it in the upper right, where the car wash itself is included in the street scene. There are references to bygone North Nashville history. Center left is a sign that reads El Dorado Motel. All that’s left of the El Dorado today is the sign. And the factories are probably supposed to be the old Werthan Mills, which have long since been converted to condos. For more recent history, check out this Nashville Scene video in which Northside proprietor Pinky talks about the time when Snoop Dogg and Young Buck visited the shop.
Located at 1914 Dr DB Todd Jr Blvd. The mural is on the south side of the building, which is located just south of where DB Todd curves to the northwest and becomes Clarksville Highway. There is for the moment plenty of parking at Northside Auto Clean Up, as it seems the business is closed.
Located at 1200 Porter Road, at the corner with Greenwood Avenue. Vinyl Tap in the old Family Wash site is across the street on Greenwood, while Cafe Roze is catty-corner across Porter, and Southen Grist Brewing is directly across Porter. All of which explains why the parking you see in the picture is now paid parking. Welcome to Nashville. There is some limited street parking on Greenwood.
Some weeks ago, a set of UH crew works appeared in the alley between Main and Woodland on the back side of the building that house Main Street Liquors, Main Street Market, and Transmission Exchange. This is obviously permitted work – tags this elaborate take time to install, and this is a fairly public place. Some business owners have figured out the way to avoid random graffiti is to promote murals and more elaborate graffiti art. This appears to be the case here. The UH crew has done other work in this alley, notably And we’re back!. See below for the rest of the installation. There is also an interesting tag on a gate/door across from this installation on the other side of the alley
Located at 944 Main Street. The installation is in fact in the alley, which can be accessed from 10th Street or McFerrin Avenue. There is some parking in this alley if you are just visiting.
This blog has been a learning process. One thing I’ve learned – look on the back side of buildings. There’s a lot of art where few people can see it. Back in November 2016, I posted about the very obvious murals visible from Nolensville road on the front and side of CarQuest. I did not, however, take a few steps to look around back. I did note though at the time that there were murals on the back side visible on Google street view, and I vowed to update. Well, here I am, updating. Usually, when there are several murals in one place, my top photo is the wide view of all of them, with a slide show of the individual ones below. But I like this one so much I decided to feature it. These three murals were clearly painted over other, older murals, which only highlights the transience of outdoor art and the need to document it. Next to the blue door, we see “Kyle Korea.” While that may be the name or handle of an artist, Camp Kyle was a U.S. Army base in Korea closed in 2005, so that might also be the reference. See the map pin for Part 1.
Located at 3317 Nolensville Road, at the corner with Elgin Street. There’s some street parking on Elgin, and if things aren’t too busy at the Lava Lounge Hookah Bar next door, you might be able to park in their lot for a spell. Pick up some bling for your car and enjoy the art!
Five Points in East Nashville was not always the place you went for bar hopping, fine dining, and trendy shops. It used to be the place you got your car fixed. Margot’s, Burger Up, East Side Smiles* and the Family Dollar all used to be service stations, the kind of places that filled your tank and replaced your spark plugs. Gym 5 was an auto repair place, and Battered and Fried was once where you found Jackson’s, which sold tires, tubes, and batteries and had a fleet of trucks to deliver them around town. Beyond the Edge at one point was a welding shop that no doubt helped repair cars. There were probably more. Now only Firestone and Main Street Tires are left in the immediate area. Hunter’s Custom Automotive is the latest to leave (they’ve moved to Trinity Lane), its property snatched up to be developed as restaurant space by Fresh Hospitality. Already the small building they owned across the street has undergone major renovations (no longer will Hunter’s employees play the dangerous game of crossing the street right where Main makes a right angle curve and become Gallatin – the light went in not long before they moved). What will happen to the Hunter’s murals is unknown at the moment, but in all likelihood, they are doomed, as are the glittery signs. I only learned this past weekend that those signs make a fair amount of noise when it’s windy. Whooooooosh.
UPDATE: I drove past Hunter’s this morning (3/28/17) and saw that the brick facade the mural up top is on is being dismantled, and the mural with it. This one is a goner.
Located at 975 Main Street. Until it becomes a construction site, you can park in the Hunter’s lot. Climb the stairs to get a better look at the main mural, though I recommend against clambering on to the roof. The sign and the mural above both face south, while the King of Chrome mural is on the west side of the building. (*East Side Smiles may be a different building, but there did used to be a service station at that spot. Family Dollar may also be a “new” building.)
Gallatin Pike south of Briley Parkway is loaded with outdoor art. North of Briley, you have to look a little closer, dig a little deeper. That’s partly because of the greater number of chain stores north of Briley, but I suspect there are also differences in neighborhood culture. One place that stands out is Dent Repair of Nashville, which sits on a hill just south of the Rivergate shopping district, which is chock full of chain stores and precious little outdoor art. On the north side of Dent Repair is this mural of Lower Broad with the pearly gates to Honkytonk Heaven (which apparently is in East Nashville across the river). Waylon Jenning, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, and Johhny Cash grace an improbable scene – Lower Broad with no tourists. Where are the pedal taverns? No signature on this side. On the south side (below), a completely different mural of graffiti art that pays homage to Dent Repair itself, though like its companion on the north wall, it includes the Batman building. It seems to be signed “Nite 7 2015.” There do seem to be some other graffiti installations around town with that tag, but I can’t find an Instagram account or other page associated with it. The Google street view image shows only parts of this mural. That and the distinct styles suggest multiple artists.
Located at 1414 Gallatin Pike North. There’s some street parking just south of Dent Repair, and a convenience store with lots of parking just north. Grab a soda and enjoy the art!
Across the street from The Gallatin and Straightway Gallery is this Eastside Murals production celebrating Lincoln Tech, what was once known to Nashvillians as Nashville Auto Diesel College. Ian Lawrence and Sterling Goller-Brown of Eastside Murals have done a number of pieces in town, such as the one featured in The cats are loose. Lincoln, and Auto-Diesel before it, of course features a fair amount of training in the automotive arts, and its students can often be seen crossing the street to shop at Jerry’s Market, centerpiece of the Gallatin and Straightway Gallery.
Located at 1524 Gallatin Avenue. The mural is on the south side of the building and actually faces Strouse Avenue. A fair amount of parking, though a little less when classes are in session. Plenty of street parking nearby. Vroom-vroom!