Most people think of the Nolensville Road corridor and Antioch as the main areas to find Latino-owned businesses, but there’s also a cluster in Madison. So it’s no surprise to find a Latino-themed tattoo parlor there, Tatuajes Raza. The black-and-grey storefront on Gallatin is the work of musician and artist Ghosty Lowks (he has a more art-themed page called “The Phantom Collection“).
The mural contains a stylized image of one of the more enduring symbols of Mexico, the Aztec Sun Stone. It is known to many as the “Aztec Calendar Stone,” but while it does have the names of the days and months on it, it is not really a calendar, but a representation of the largest cycles of time in Aztec thought, great ages known as “Suns.” At the end of each, the Sun would be destroyed and and a new Sun born. They saw themselves as living under the Fifth Sun. (Did I mention I’m an historian of Latin America?)
“Raza” as part of the store’s name is also significant. It’s a reference to the idea of “la raza cósmica,” the cosmic race, an idea of José Vasconselos. He was an education minister in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution and thought in Mexico, where people from all over the world were found, that the strengths of all these peoples combined created a newer, stronger people. It has become an important idea in Mexican national identity.
We see various people in the mural. There’s an an ice cream vendor with the tattoo “familia” on his arm, but that’s a tattoo needle, not an ice cream cone on his cart. The eyeless face above him seems to have a Nashville skyline for a headdress.
There are more eyeless faces, a woman with a shotgun, a mustachioed clown and another Aztec image that might be Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god. “Chuy” and “Buda,” as best I know, are nicknames of the owner. (And yes, that’s me just barely reflected in the doorway.)
Located at 322 Gallatin Pike South, a few blocks south of Old Hickory Boulevard. The mural faces Gallatin. This is a tricky area to park. There is some parking in front of Tatuajes Raza and neighboring businesses. Otherwise, you might need to do some walking.