Sure, there’s more than one mural featuring Johnny Cash in this town. But this was one of the first, if not the very first. Or at least, the original one on this spot was. Bryan Deese, Audie Adams and Ryan Shrader of Thoughts Manifested produced a Cash mural on this spot not long after Cash’s death in 2003. However, by late 2012 it was in very bad shape, so the same three artists painted a new Cash mural to replace the original (and I do not know how close the second version is to the first). There is a video of them making the second mural. Now six years on, the second mural is somewhat worse for wear, and it faces more threats than just the weather and traffic smog. The little building it’s on is surrounded by some very expensive real estate, and it’s hard to imagine no developer has any interest in it. If you want your picture taken in front of it, you might want to do so soon.
Located at 300 4th Avenue South at the corner of 4th and Molloy Street. The mural faces Molloy. This is downtown, so lots of parking, almost none of it free.
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):
Jackalope Brewing Company got its start in Nashville in 2011. It got its mural in 2013. And a few weeks ago I got a picture of the mural without cars in front of it! It turns out the secret to getting car-free pictures of murals associated with bars and breweries is to show up early in the morning. I have seen this mural many times, as I am a regular at meetings of Science Club Nashville, which meets at Jackalope’s every second Tuesday (usually) at 6:00 to hear local scientists talk about their work. It’s a lot of fun – I recommend the talks and the beer. The mural is a Bryan Deese project. I didn’t realize that at first and had to do some research to figure it out because the mural is unlike a lot of his other work. Check out his other projects I’ve blogged about – you can find him on the categories tab.
Located at 701 8th Avenue South. The mural is on the north side of the building. There is very limited parking at the brewery, but some of the last remaining free parking downtown is on the nearby streets – good luck! There’s also a paid lot nearby on 9th Avenue. Come enjoy a beer, and on certain nights some science, and enjoy the art!
I wouldn’t ordinarily use a detail shot like this as the header photo, but this Bryan Deese piece at Exit/In is so badly hemmed in by a porch at Hurry Back next door that the only way to take a shot of the full mural is at an extreme angle. (See below) This is the central part of the mural, the rest is in a slideshow at the end of this post. The mural honors the 45th anniversary of Exit/In, featuring images of just a handful of the luminaries who have played there over the decades, many of whom were still working to make a name for themselves when they took the stage at Elliston Place. Some of them are also name-checked on a wordy mural on the front side of the venue (See the slideshow). This is a neighborhood that I have largely neglected on this blog, in part because of the difficulty of finding any of the art without cars parked in front of it. 12th Ave South and Hillsboro Village present similar problems. I need to hit all these places bright and early in the morning!
Located at 2808 Elliston Place. The mural is on the west side of the building. Parking in this neighborhood is hard. Most street parking anywhere nearby is metered, and the venues and shops themselves have limited parking. Grab a ride share and make it part of your pub crawl!
I love it when other people do my research. The East Nashvillian pretty much has it covered in this article concerning the murals at Stacks on Main. Seriously, just read the article. Three murals by Bryan Deese depict some famous people and landmarks from the east side. They are spread out enough that I’m using only one, “People and Places,” for the header photo. (See below for the rest.) That, of course, is Oprah Winfrey and fellow East Nashville High alum Mayor Bill Boner floating above their alma mater, while Edwin Warner, a prominent East Nashville businessman for whom the park is named, takes center stage. “Music on Main” honors musicians who have recorded at Woodland Studios, while “Trains & Trolleys” honors the old L&N lines that ran through East Nashville. I mean it, read the article.
Located at 535 Main Street. The murals are on the east side of the building, facing the small road (Yeaman Place) that comes off of Main St. and separates Stacks from Fifth and Main. There is visitor parking for Stacks on that road.
The relationship between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs was a complicated one – friends, rivals, collaborators – not necessarily all at the same time. Here we see them around the time their rivalry broke wide open. While Jobs and Gates were photographed together many times, Bryan Deese has created a composite (with his trademark dots) from different images from the 1980s. The Jobs portrait is based on a Norman Seeff picture taken in 1984, which would make the computer he’s leaning on the original Macintosh, the one released that year and announced to the world with that famous ad. I haven’t found the Gates picture, but that’s certainly a mid-80s vintage Bill Gates. It was the introduction of Windows that ended the collaboration between Apple and Microsoft. While Windows 1.0 was released a year after the Macintosh debuted, the symbol floating below Gates first appeared with Windows 3.1 in 1992. I almost called this post “You have died of dysentery” because of the reference to the infamous The Oregon Trail game. Capital City Computers commissioned the piece when their southern office moved next door into the space vacated by Hey Rooster General Store (now found in the old Bookman/Bookwoman site in Hillsboro Village).
Located at 1106 Gallatin Pike. The mural is on the south face of the building. There is a reasonable amount of parking around the building. Come get your computer fixed or get a cheap refurbished rig and enjoy the art!
I’m normally a little wary about featuring concert ad murals. They get painted over quick. But this one is for a show back in March, it’s still there, the building seems only part occupied, and it’s a very nice mural, so who knows how long it will last? Still, we have to call this temporary art. BJ The Chicago Kid, Xavier Omär, and Kamau gave a rockin’ show on March 20th – or so I imagine! The artist is Bryan Deese, who has done a number of murals around town. He signs this piece with his website address, but that leads to a blog not updated since 2014. Try his Instagram account for more up to date information about his work. And if you go visit this one and it’s gone, you can still see a Bryan Deese mural across the street.
UPDATE: This mural has been painted over.
Located at 2622 Jefferson Street. The mural is on the west side of the building. There is plenty of parking at 2622 and nearby businesses. If the church on the west side is out of session, there is lots of parking there.
Hey, it’s a gorilla! With weights! Not much to say about this except that it’s further evidence that Nashville business owners are more and more understanding the importance of public art on their facilities. The placement on the corner is unusual. This is on the new World Gym in the Gulch, and the gorilla appears to be a symbol of the national chain. UPDATE: I have been informed by the artist himself that this is a Bryan Deese piece. I didn’t recognize it without the trademarks dots in the background you see in a lot of his work!
Located at 114 George L. David Boulevard. The mural actually faces Grundy Street, about a block west from Chauhan Ale and Masala House. Street parking and parking at the gym available. Break a sweat and enjoy the art.
It helps to drive around. Keep going down that road, you might find something. The art along the Cumberland River Greenway between Van Buren and Taylor is no surprise to anyone who uses that greenway, but no doubt far less known to everyone else, other than the patrons and employees of the businesses nearby. Although very close to downtown and to the development in Germantown, this is an industrial area with roads that dead end at the river, so not a lot of traffic. Along this stretch of the greenway, all of the buildings have something on them, and it’s fairly easy to divide it up given the different styles. The backside of Bearded Iris Brewery stands out as the most detailed and elaborate installation. And look, it’s signed! These are names associated with the TM crew, with a giant logo at the far north end, and the MFK crew, which is prominently tagged nearby. An interview with Paser reveals, by the way, that I deciphered UH wrong in a previous post – it’s Urban Heroes. I’ll have to go back and do some updating! We also see Rex2 (Bryan Deese) whose shown up a lot on this blog. I also include the Bearded Iris logo, featured prominently on the other (west) side of the building.
Located on the Cumberland River Greenway between Taylor Street and Van Buren Street. Bearded Iris Brewing is at 101 Van Buren. The graffiti mural is on the back (east) side of the brewery. Lots of parking there, and given the quiet nature of the area, street parking is fairly easy. Grab a beer, or go for a walk or a ride, and enjoy the art.