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Damaged art

G.P. Rose & Co.

This may at first just appear to be a picture of an old brick building, found on 8th Ave South just south of the railroad bridge, a building which until recently housed the Downtown Antique Mall. Look closer though, and a faded set of signs emerges. Damage on the taller part of the building has erased part of the original sign, and banners, one for the departed antique mall, one advertising the building for lease, hide much of the long thin signs down the length of the building.  (There’s a clip from Google Street View below that doesn’t have the leasing sign.) They advertise a firm that was called G.P. Rose & Co. According to the 1919 edition of  Grain and Farm Service Centers, Vol 43 (scroll down to the bottom of page 1143, the linked page) G.P Rose & Co. was founded in 1884, the successor to Smith & Rose. The company featured direct access to the L & N and the N.C. & St. Louis Railroads (there are still tracks behind the building, and rail traffic still passes by regularly) and was powered by three 35 h.p G.E. engines (in 1919, anyway). There were two buildings at the time that could hold a total of 95 thousand bushels and handled wheat, oats rye, field seeds, and cowpeas. As the signs on the building say twice, “A Feed for Every Breed.” It’s quite conceivable the sign goes back to 1884. If so, it would have been originally painted 136 years ago. It’s also possible the sign is somewhat younger or was substantially altered at some point – being sure will take more research. But it’s very likely to be one of the oldest painted signs in Nashville, if not the very oldest. Nashville was a much smaller place back then, as can be seen from the 1889 G.M. Hopkins Atlas of Nashville, and there aren’t many candidates left. For instance, you can see a few faded letters high up on 423 Broadway, present home of the downtown version of Mellow Mushroom, which seem to read “—WELL BROS & Co” that may be from the late 19th century, but that’s about it for Lower Broad and its cross streets. The 1889 Hopkins Atlas also explicitly shows G.P Rose, though back then 8th Ave was called Spruce Street (see the excerpt below). I also found on eBay a collection notice signed by Mr. G.P. Rose himself, dated April 29th, 1885 (which I bought!) – you’ll find it at the bottom. It would be really nice if this sign was spruced up. That will likely depend on the building’s next tenant, assuming it’s not torn down.

GP Rose sign street art Nashville

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Located at 606 Eighth Ave South. It’s possible to park for a while in the space just south of the building, between it and Norris Architecture next door. Otherwise, you’ll need to park on the other side of 8th Ave.

La Hacienda Taqueria

Facing the front parking lot of La Hacienda Taqueria, one of the original Mexican restaurants on Nolensville Road, is a mural that has been seen by tens if not hundreds of thousands of people by now. But it’s unsigned, and most people would have no idea who might have made it. Even the staff just points to the signature on the main mural inside, which was clearly done by the same artist. It reads “M. Torok ’99.” Well, there is a painter and muralist named “M. Torok” with a deep connection to Nashville, Mitchell Torok. Torok, who now resides in Texas, had a long career in country music as a performer and, in partnership with his late wife, Gail “Ramona” Redd, a songwriter. He is best known for the songs “Mexican Joe,” (which was an even bigger hit for Jim Reeves) and “Caribbean,” and he and Redd wrote successful songs for a number of other artists. But before he became a recording star, he got a dual degree in Art and Journalism from Stephen F. Austin University. He must have had a reputation as a visual artist in Nashville because he  “was commissioned to paint a 110-foot, five-panel mural titled “The History of the Grand Ol’ Opry”, which was on display in the Ryman Auditorium until it was remodeled for live performances.” (Wikipedia) (That remodeling happened in 1994.) He also painted an 85-foot long mural called “Elvis-A-Rama” detailing the life of Elvis Presley, which was last seen in a museum owned by Jimmy Velvet that closed in 2006. It’s unclear what happened to that mural. The La Hacienda murals, including the ones inside, are a little worse for wear, but still going strong. The outdoor one featured here has been broken up by the construction of an outdoor seating area, but you can see that hidden part below in the slideshow. And being from 1999, it is definitely one of the oldest outdoor murals in town. That I know of only the Chromatics mural (1993) and the renovated painter mural at the Hard Rock Cafe are older (date unknown, but it was hidden for decades by an adjoining building that was torn down in or just before 1994, when Hard Rock opened). The Angels Will Rise/Seventh Letter mural came just after La Hacienda, in 2001. As of this writing, Torok at 90 years old is apparently still alive and painting and writing in Texas, making him perhaps the oldest and certainly one of the oldest artists I’ve featured on this blog.

Hacienda Mural street art Nashville

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Located at 2615 Nolensville Pike. The mural actually sits on the north wall (facing downtown) of La Hacienda Supermercado next door at 2617. There is parking in front and in the rear of the restaurant (the rear parking is reached from Grandview Avenue). If you want any chance to see it without cars parked in front, arrive before 10:00 a.m., which is when the restaurant opens each day.

City under the bridge

Usually, I try to use a shot of the entire work as the featured image, but that’s impossible here, as this particular work is spread out over both sides of the underneath of a railroad bridge on Wedgewood Avenue. The wider shots are informative, but I think this detail above best captures the essence of the spread out work. It’s not clear how long these abstract skylines have been under the bridge next to Warren Paint and Color Co. It appears that mold and mildew have grown over some of the work, and some has been tagged with graffiti. That and some general deterioration, including chips out of the concrete that the work is painted on, suggests its been here for several years. I first saw it about a year ago, but I’m sure it’s much older. The abstract buildings may be inspired by the main Warren building (see below). There is also a rainbow-colored “RESIST sign on the bridge itself. That, I’m sure is fairly recent. In the slideshows below the factory, the first focuses on the north part of the underpass, working from east to west, while the second showcases the southside, working from west to east.

brick factory building Nashville

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Located on Wedgewood Avenue, between 700 and 654. Parking is tricky here. It is possible to park on a gravel area in front of 654, on the northeast side of the bridge, but I have only done this after hours and on the weekend.

Able Restaurant Equipment

Able Restaurant Equipment on Nolensville is no more. While the building that once housed the business still hosts two versions of this sign, the store closed some months ago. As I’ve written before, vintage hand-lettered signs in Nashville like this one are under threat. Of course, a sign is always under threat if the business closes, but it’s also true that the rapid pace of development in Nashville increases the threat. There’s a small signature at the bottom crediting “Post Sign Co.” I have been able to find no evidence of a sign company by that name. It may have passed out of existence pre-internet, or just so long ago that all internet traces of it have disappeared. That much of the sign is in Spanish suggests the possibility that this was one of the earliest Hispanic-oriented businesses on Nashville, if the sign actually goes back to the ’80s. If it was done later, then perhaps Able was merely responding to its changing neighborhood. The sign above on the north side of the building is the better preserved of the two signs (the south-side sign is below). However, recently it was defaced with some very carefully hand-lettered and quite vulgar insults I won’t reprint here. If a future owner wishes to preserve the sign, the graffiti is on the white part and could be easily painted over.

Able sign street art Nashville

Located at 2601 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211. There is some parking available in the alley behind, and along Grandview Avenue one block west.

 

Ride on

Bike mural street art Nashville

This mural is something of a survivor. It’s the work of Andee Rudloff, who’s done a number of murals and other art around town. It first went up in November 2016 (check that link for a list of several sponsors) on the backside of what used to be Eastside Cycles. The owner of Eastside sold the business early this year (see the pinned post) to MOAB Bikes. Meanwhile, the empty lot next door became Vandyke Bed and Beverage. What had been empty space on the one side of the mural became a wall. Both that wall and the parent building got a paint job, but the mural survived. However, at some point, it was damaged. I have forgotten the circumstances, but sometime last year Rudloff returned to repair the damage. The black and white bicycle rider in the middle covers the damaged area. Below, you can see what the original looked like. Given that the new owners are bike people, maybe this mural can keep rolling one.

Bike mural street art Nashville

Located at 103 South 11th Street, at Five Points. The mural is on the backside of the building, facing the Art and Invention Gallery. There is paid parking right at the mural, but with a bit of luck, you can find free street parking within a block or so.

First One

Sign mural street art Nashville

Who doesn’t love a great sign? First One Market on East Old Hickory Boulevard has a wonderfully chaotic sign, welcoming friends, extolling revolution, letting you know who’s boss (well, someone is boss, it’s not really clear) and assuring you that this is the place you can get your phone charged. Is the fist raised in protest holding a cup with a straw, or a walkie-talkie? I’m not sure, but I am sure it qualifies as art. I discovered this, by the way, when I decided to drive the entirety of Old Hickory Boulevard, minus of course the part that lies beneath the waters of Percy Priest Lake. Take a day and give it a try. It’s a great way to really get a grasp on the diversity of Nashville and Davidson County.

Located at 660 East Old Hickory Boulevard. The mural/sign is on the east side of the building. There is plenty of parking. Load up on cheap tobacco and beer and enjoy the art!

Principality: Artis et Scientiae

LaRosa mural street art Nashville

Such is the name of this mural on the backside of PopStart on Gallatin Road. PopStart is a new gallery (you’ll find their Facebook page and their Instagram page more informative than the website). Dävid La Rosa is an artist featured at PopStart who produced this mural. Much of his work features animals and sacred geometry. This piece, with its butterfly shape and its geometric designs, seems to be something of both. “SDG” is a reference to a long quote about gratitude you’ll find on his webpage: “I am thankful for the inexhaustible Love that surrounds my going out and my coming in, for the good health that I enjoy; for the possibilities of realizing worthy goals. I am grateful for the endless creativity available to me by the sempiternal wisdom of the Name, for being led to fields of green pastures daily. I am grateful today and always, that I am indeed wealthy”  -SDG. The damaged hashtag should read “#limbism.”

Located at 4110 Gallatin Pike. The mural lies on the back side of the building. There are narrow driveways on both sides of the building that lead to some limited parking, and there are a few spaces in front. You could also conceivably park at the Mapco next door.

A fading cut

Barbershop sign mural street art Nashville

This version of Miles Barbershop on Jefferson, along with La Unique Hair Design, is closed and has been for some time. What relationship it might have with the Miles Barbershop and Hair Salon on Ewing in northeast Nashville or the Miles Barbershop off Hickory Hollow in Antioch, I don’t know, though the fonts used in their different signs seem the same.  The damage from weather and mold is obvious for both the signs and the buildings, but they are a reminder that fancy hand-painted signs are nothing new. This kind of signage used to be common along the Jefferson and Buchan Street corridors, but there is less of it now. Jefferson Street is changing rapidly, and the fate of this building and its deteriorating signs is anybody’s guess. Maybe a future tenant will preserve the signs representing the old neighborhood, as happened when Lockeland Table moved into the old home of Boutique Coiffures.

Located at 1609 Jefferson Street. The signs are on the east side of the building. There is easy parking at this spot.

Tin Dog

Nashville street art mural "Welcome to Old Nashville"

Welcome to Old Nashville. That’s an interesting greeting for Tin Dog Tavern to make. On the one hand, it’s relatively new, having opened in 2014. But it’s also true that there’s been a dive bar on this corner of 4th Avenue South for a while. Before it was Tin Dog, it was Purple Heys, and before that, it was TC’s Triangle (the building is triangle shaped). Tin Dog sits in an interesting place. It lies on the border between Wedgewood-Houston and Chestnut Hill, two rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods that still have significant chunks of their older versions. Warehouses, factories, auto repair places and low-income housing sit side-by-side with art galleries and some of the newest high-end housing in town. Just south, the Fairgrounds are poised to become home to Nashville’s major league soccer stadium. Compared to all that, Tin Dog is very much Old Nashville. It’s anyone’s guess how long it, or some succeeding dive bar, will stick it out. The sign is an Eastside Murals creation. On the other side of the building is a graffiti installation that bears tags from the UH crew. (See below).

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Graffiti street art tags Nashville

Graffiti street art Nashville

Graffiti street art Nashville Tin Dog

Located at 1401 4th Avenue South, at the corner with Rains Avenue. The Welcome to Nashville mural faces Rains Ave. The graffiti mural is on the south side of the building, facing an alleyway. Tin Dog has parking, much of it right in front of the mural. If you want to find the mural car-free, try early in the morning.

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