One of the most prolific mural artists in town is Bryan Deese. For some time, he has been maintaining a wall at the Stop-N-Shop on 51st Avenue, putting up a series of murals, primarily ones promoting concerts. By definition, they are temporary. Back in March, Deese put up a new mural on the wall that may turn out to be a little more permanent, not the least because not many bands have concerts to promote these days. It is of course of Dolly Parton, and it is sponsored by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It seems to have been based on a 1977 promotional photo, seen here on her song-list page on Wikipedia. Parton frequently uses flower motifs and is often seen with one in her hair, which may have inspired the halo of flowers. It’s a popular mural, and I’ve seen it many places on social media. Hopefully, it has some staying power.
Located at 5100 Indiana Avenue, at the corner with 51st Avenue North. The mural faces east towards 51st. Street parking and parking at the Stop-N-Shop are readily available.
The March 3 tornado that tore through Nashville did a lot of damage to art on the east side. But temporarily at least, it has brought one work out into the open. The building that housed the Nashville Urban Winery was heavily damaged in the storm, and recently it has been demolished. When the winery was intact, it had a large covered patio at the front. From the street, this mural by Bryan Deese was visible inside the patio, but it was also shrouded, and usually had lots of tables in front of it. I debated putting it on the blog, but each time I thought about it I wound up going with something else. Then suddenly it was fully in the light. It survived the destruction of the building because it sits on a wall shared with Jerry’s Artarama, currently closed due to tornado damage.
The mural’s themes make sense for a Nashville winery, evoking the great wine nations of France and Italy. The trellis shape is the base of the Eiffel Tower. It frames a row of vines from a vineyard, the facade of Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Roman Colosseum. In the center of course is Nashville’s own Eiffel Tower, the Batman Building.
Soon, the cleared lot this mural looks out on will become a construction site. For that matter, the building it sits on is in need of serious repair. So the fate of this mural is highly uncertain. Let’s call it endangered art. I should note it’s also currently inside an area sealed off by a locked fence, but there is a gap between the building and the fence, right at the edge of the mural. You didn’t hear that from me.
Located at 715 Main Street, an address that currently has no building. More accurately, it’s on the east side of 713 Main, the Jerry’s Artarama building. For now, you can park in Jerry’s Artarama’s parking lot.
Back in June of this year, I was contacted by Eileen Tilson, Director of Marketing and Promotions at Oh Boy Records, who was looking for help finding muralists. It seemed that John Prine wanted to do a mural as part of the promotion for his latest album, The Tree of Forgiveness. In particular, she was looking for something that would emphasize Prine’s independence. So I sent her a list of many of the professional muralists I knew. The last I heard about it, Tilson was planning on contacting Bryan Deese. A seemingly completely different story was Grimey’s New and Preloved Music announced move to Trinity Lane from their Eighth Avenue South location. A few days ago I was driving down Trinity and I saw this new Bryan Deese mural on the side of what used to be the home of Point of Mercy Church. I realized it had to be the result of those June e-mails. It was an article in this week’s Scene that tipped me off that the building, still under renovation when I saw it, was to be the new home for Grimey’s. An appropriate image for an appropriate home. Glad I can say I had a tiny part in making it happen.
Located at 1060 East Trinity Lane. There is plenty of parking. Once Grimey’s is open, you can get some music with your art!
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.
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!