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Hidden art

Fire and Safety (Part 1)

TMBird

I am definitely trying to stay away from multi-part posts, but some sites require it. Three sides of the Industrial Fire and Safety Inc. building on Ash have murals. On one side, we find a series of country and folk music legends (that isn’t quite finished). On the other two other themes are found, mostly stuff that flies. It seems to be mostly if not all the work of the Thoughts Manifested crew, a collection of mural and graffiti artists whose best-known work is probably the Johhny Cash mural on Molloy. I need to blog about that one soon. Given development in that area, I wonder about the future of the small building it’s on. This piece takes a little more effort to find, in the Pie Town neighborhood that still retains the warehouse/industrial atmosphere that was common south of Broadway before the boom years. The bird is featured on some of Thoughts Manifested’s other work, notably a nearby mural on Plaza Art facing 7th Ave, also awaiting a blog post.

Located at 608 Ash Street. The new Division Street extension complicates access somewhat. The mural above faces into a parking lot and alley on the north side of the building, on the opposite side from Ash. It’s easily accessed through the parking lot entrance on Ewing Ave between Middleton St and Fogg St, or down the alley that forks off of 6th Ave a little south of Lafayette Ave. Parking here is easy.

Flower power

CVSFlower

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.

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!

A railroad runs through it

CemetaryMobe

A national cemetery is not a place you expect to find much graffiti. Taggers are generally more respectful, and the public and grounds crew quite intolerant. But if a railroad runs through the cemetery, and there’s a bridge the railroad goes under, and that bridge is actually just off of the graveyard grounds, that’s a different story. Where Walton Lane sails over the railroad that splits the Nashville National Cemetary, all these conditions are met. The walls that support the bridge are fairly well covered. Some of the tags are quite familiar. “Mobe,” featured above, is the handle of an artist I’ve featured before, who does both commissioned and “volunteer” murals. The earliest date seems to be 2008, and it looks like some of these tags lie on top of others, so graffiti artists have been using this site for a while. It’s also, as you can see from the photos, used as a camp by homeless Nashvillians.

CemetaryHasre

Located on the 100 block of Walton Lane under the railroad bridge, in the middle of the southern border of the National Cemetary, 1420 Gallatin Road South. Getting to this is tricky and bends the definition of public art. There is a spot about 50 feet north where the railroad track is level with the cemetery roads on either side. It is possible also to walk up to the west side and scramble up a “trail” to get to that area. The far eastern part, where the homeless camp is, requires either climbing up a four-foot wall, or walking down from Walton Lane. Trains do go through here, homeless sleep here, and the cemetery is right there, so be respectful and think carefully. Or maybe just look at my pictures.

CemetaryGreen

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The Carquest Gallery, Part 2

Car Quest Back Middle

This blog has been a learning process. One thing I’ve learned – look on the back side of buildings. There’s a lot of art where few people can see it. Back in November 2016, I posted about the very obvious murals visible from Nolensville road on the front and side of CarQuest. I did not, however, take a few steps to look around back. I did note though at the time that there were murals on the back side visible on Google street view, and I vowed to update. Well, here I am, updating. Usually, when there are several murals in one place, my top photo is the wide view of all of them, with a slide show of the individual ones below. But I like this one so much I decided to feature it. These three murals were clearly painted over other, older murals, which only highlights the transience of outdoor art and the need to document it. Next to the blue door, we see “Kyle Korea.” While that may be the name or handle of an artist, Camp Kyle was a U.S. Army base in Korea closed in 2005, so that might also be the reference. See the map pin for Part 1.

Part 1

Located at 3317 Nolensville Road, at the corner with Elgin Street. There’s some street parking on Elgin, and if things aren’t too busy at the Lava Lounge Hookah Bar next door, you might be able to park in their lot for a spell. Pick up some bling for your car and enjoy the art!

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Just a few feet away

SpringStBridgeEastFull

SpringStBridgeWestFull

Thousands of people pass by this exuberant graffiti installation every day and never see it (or maybe get just a tiny glimpse). It lies underneath Spring Street, alongside the railroad tracks that wend their way through the spaghetti junction where Spring, Dickerson, Main and Ellington Parkway all come together, and with Jefferson and I-24 just a little way away. Make that tens of thousands, maybe more, come close every day but never see it. I first caught glimpse of these murals from quite a distance – you can just see them from where Foster Street crosses the railroad tracks, but it was a longer distance down the tracks than I cared to walk. After much map studying and driving around, I realized the best access was right off Ellington, where there is a pull off area right under the bridge. There is also a good sized homeless encampment just south of the bridge, also hidden from view of the many thousands of drivers who pass through here each day.

Located under Spring Street, as it passes over the railroad tracks that parallel Ellington Parkway. The easiest way to reach this site is to get on Ellington at or north of Cleveland Street, heading south. Just past the Spring Street/I-24/I-65 exit, there is an area where you can pull under the bridge. It may also be possible to reach it by foot from the west side of the bridge just west of 5th and Main. Google Earth shows a gravel “road” starting from First Street North at A-1 Fun Cycle that parallels the tracks up to the spot – maybe if you have a dirt bike? To be clear, I have no idea if any of this is legal, and there is a large homeless encampment less than 100 feet south from where the murals are.

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Out of the shadows (for now)

ZophieStBarn1

There used to be a Spanish language church on Trinity Lane, just a hundred feet or so from Gallatin. “Jesus te ama” – “Jesus loves you” declared the sign out front. It got knocked down. I’m putting my money on condos or apartments to take its place. But this has temporarily brought to light a graffiti mural that otherwise remained fairly well hidden. On the alleyway between Zophi Street and Trinity Lane (which Google declares to be “2036 Alley”), the backside of a small barn has become a canvas for the prolific local artist who goes by Rasmo, of the UH crew. The washed out psychedelic color palette is not something I’ve seen before here in Nashville, but I don’t claim to have seen everything. The man with the upturned cap is a common theme in UH installations.

Located in the alley behind 1076 Zophi Street. That’s a private residence, so I recommend parking at Checkers at 3001 Gallatin Pike, at the corner of Trinity Lane. The alley and the barn are just a few feet away.

The usual suspects

JeffesronBridgeFull

Sometimes, when searching for outdoor art, you wind up in less than pleasant places. The easternmost support of the Jefferson Street bridge, where Jefferson passes over an unnamed access road just before reaching Cowan Street, is not a place Nashvillians would ordinarily take tourists, and unless you work at one of the industrial sites nearby, nor is it a place Nashvillians would visit themselves. Unless you are homeless, or a graffiti artist. There’s plenty of evidence of people spending time here – discarded bottles, food wrappers, and the like, as well as a mattress it’s hard to imagine anyone sleeping on. But the seclusion that some homeless people appreciate also attracts graffiti artists, given access to a large concrete wall. There are many layers of tags here, with each artist painting over the previous one. If you ever visit, you’re likely to see some names other that what I captured when I found it. Someone has labeled the current crop “usual suspects,” hence the blog title.  There is also an interesting “eye” on a nearby pylon (featured below). I should note that the panel on the far right currently has a reference to sexual assault. It’s not clear what the meaning is – I have chosen not to include a close-up of that part.

Located under the Jefferson Street bridge just west of Cowan, next to the Cross Point Church. To reach it, take Oldham Street west towards the river and turn right on the access road just after the railroad tracks. Just before you get to the bridge, there’s a dirt road on the right that leads to the graffiti. I suspect this will get paved as part of the large construction project underway just past the bridge. This is an industrial area, so try not to park where you’ll block large trucks.

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