This is a story of two murals. The building housing Northwest Liquors and Zap Market, located at the corner of Buchanan and D.B. Todd, lies at a prominent spot in the Buchanan Street neighborhood, so it’s a good place for a mural or two. Facing Buchanan is this Norf Collective piece signed by Woke3 that is an obvious companion to the mural featured in And her hair was an unfolded flower, featuring a male subject here instead of the female one seen in the other mural. (The website listed on the mural is a dead link.) On the south side of the building is a very different mural signed “Tracy the Rose 2016.” I can’t find anyone using that handle, but the subject is one that is found on some liquor stores. While not as ubiquitous as the tires painted on tire stores, they are other examples in town.
Located at 1613 Buchanan Street. There is plenty of parking at the liquor store, though cars are often parked in front of the murals so it might be advisable to visit on a Sunday.
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):
Eight Avenue South has art but is not as rich as some other neighbourhoods. This is in keeping with its mix of national chains, which tend to discourage public art, and independent businesses, which tend to encourage it. A very obvious example of the later, if you are travelling south on 8th, is this impossible to miss piece on the side of Colonial Liquors. This trippy image complete with crystals and a starry firmament is a product of the ever-prolific Eastside Murals. The backside of the building has a major graffiti installation I’ll feature later.
Located at 2401 Franklin Pike (aka 8th Avenue South). The mural is on the north side of the building, facing Hillview Heights. A fair amount of parking is available at Colonial Liquor, and a great deal is to be found across the street at Little Caesars. You have to go about half a block west on Hillview Height to find street parking. Grab some wine, get some pizza, and enjoy the art!
Sometimes I am slow to post about art I see frequently, thinking that I’ll have plenty of chances later. The 4 Way Market in Lockeland Springs is just such a place. For years there were these goofy images on the front, including a humorously bad image of an American Express card. Remember the story about the botched restoration of a painting of Jesus? The American Express Centurion that once graced 4 Way’s facade was about on that level. You can see a little of what I mean here and on their Yelp page. But back in September, before I ever blogged about it, 4 Way got a splashy new overhaul, and the older work was lost. But there sure is a lot more color now. Even the once sad flower box has gotten a bright, colorful overhaul (see below). I asked the owner who did the work. All he could remember was, “Some guy I found in Alabama.” Well done, Alabama guy. (If anyone knows more, leave a comment.)
Located at 1401 Fatherland Street, at the corner with 14th Avenue. There is plenty of parking at 4 Way, so grab some sundries and enjoy the art!
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.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted some straightforward graffiti. On both sides of the southeast corner of the Major Discount Liquors building on Dickerson Pike are two large installations. (The store seems to go by multiple names – see another example below.) Above, on the east wall, is a UH Crew installation that mixes angular and fluid elements. Below, on the south wall facing Hart Lane, is a much more spiky piece. The one below seems to read “LETS YM” to me, but that’s just a guess on my part. The one above is even more cryptic. That’s how many graffiti artists like it, though not all.
Located at 2913 Dickerson Pike, at the corner with Hart Lane. Both of the installations are visible from Hart Lane. There is plenty of parking in front of the store and a driveway behind you can park in for a brief view of the art.
There is a certain style to Latino markets, and Mi Casa Supermercado on Dickerson fits the bill. We have the display of items available in the store, the woman working with…well, it looks like she has a potato in her hands, but next to her is a traditional stove top for cooking tortillas and what might be a brewing pot of pozole. Pozole is basically Mexican pork-hominy stew. It sticks to the ribs and cures all illnesses — or at least makes you feel better! The artist is José F. Vargas who, as is traditional with these Latino market murals, give us his phone number, in case you want your own pastoral Mexican mural. In the slideshow below, I include the door (with its Nashville theme) and the fruits and vegetables on the front windows.
Located at 2917 Dickerson Pike. Lots of available parking. Load up on all your Mexican fiesta needs and enjoy the art!
I have written before that chain stores are the worst places to look for public art. So I was surprised to find what looks like permitted art on the back of the Green Hills CVS. This could, of course, been put up without permission, but that seems unlikely. The style, the placement, the rust stain, and the fact that Google street view shows it’s been up since at least February of last year suggests permitted art. It is on the part of the building that is a separate retail space from the CVS (currently unoccupied), so that may have something to do with it. It is a rare piece of public art on a stretch of road dominated by chains, professional offices and high-end retail, none very conducive to public art. Given all the people stuck in traffic most of the time on that stretch of Hillsboro, some more art might improve people’s mood a bit.
UPDATE: This work has been painted over, presumably sometime in early 2018.
Located at 3801 Hillsboro Pike. The flower is on the back of the building, facing the Orange Theory gym on Crestmoor, and is not visible from Hillsboro Pike. There’s CVS parking around the building, and a parking garage under the gym. Fill up on unnecessary plastic objects and enjoy the art!
If you live in East Nashville, and you drink alcohol, you probably have an opinion about Weiss Liquors vs. Main Street Liquor. Some folks have strong opinions on this topic. Here are two empirical facts: 1) Main has colder refrigerators and 2) Weiss wins the sign war hands down. Weiss Liquors goes back a long way. Nicholas Weiss first started selling alcohol downtown in the 1890s. The business has moved a few times since, landing in its current location in 1961. The sign first showed up in the 1930s and has moved twice since then. The arrows, not part of the original design, were added in the 1940s. You can read more at Nashville Design History, in an article by John Whitman. Since then the sign has been featured in movies, music videos, and on more than a few Instagram accounts. Sadly, some of the letters are out right now due to vandalism. That’s a tough one. BTW, if you’re looking for work, as of this posting, Weiss is hiring!
Located at 824 Main Street. Impossible to miss. There is of course parking at Weiss, and at the storage center next door. The parking lot can be tricky on weekend evenings.