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Hidden art

Attaboy

Attaboy

For many years, when I talked about food in Nashville, I would say, “we’re ten years behind Atlanta.” But then the “It City” phenomenon took hold, gentrification went wild, and chefs from around the country began to establish themselves in Nashville. The bar scene quickly followed, including the decision of the muchballyhooed New York City bar Attaboy to establish a branch in Nashville. Attaboy is different from most bars. They don’t take your drink order. Instead, they ask you what you like, and the bartender creates a concoction for you. The hard to miss sign is a product of Philadelphia artist Eric Kenney, who also goes by Heavy Slime. Kenney mostly does posters and t-shirts and does his own screen printing. Looking through his work, the Attaboy sign is sunnier than a lot of it. As for the chicken on the bike, while Kenney’s work features DeathAngry Snoopy, and a crazed Mickey Mouse, this is the only chicken I can find. I imagine it’s a nod to East Nashville’s most famous culinary export. And how does a Philly artist wind up doing a sign in Nashville? Because one the partners, Brandon Bramhall, is Kenney’s cousin (and a former bartender at the New York Attaboy).

Located at 8 McFerrin Avenue. The mural faces south, across from the alley that is halfway between Woodland and Main. There is limited street parking, and Attaboy has just a few spaces, so maybe you should just take a late night rideshare to get some cocktails and enjoy the art!

Long lost

SewingRight

This is a story about lost origins. The art is there, but its story is a mystery. There’s a neighborhood a little ways south of Rivergate Mall, on the west side of Gallatin Pike, that is unusual. It was clearly built as a residential neighborhood, but many of the houses have been converted into shops and offices, like parts of Berry Hill. Google Maps calls its Echo Meadows. And here we find the Goodlettsville branch of Sewing Machines Etc (there is also one in Knoxville). Besides selling and repairing sewing machines, Sewing Machines Etc has fabric and other sewing supplies and teaches sewing classes as well. What does any of this have to do with the mural of a fist grasping drawing and painting instruments? Nothing, as it predates the sewing store. Inquires inside reveal only that there was some kind of store that sold paint here in the past. Online tax records are no help either. The work is signed by Lee Long, which doesn’t lead anywhere. The sewing place opened in 2015, so the mural is older than that. It’s right across a driveway from some thick bushes, hence the angled shots. The current owners don’t seem inclined to remove it, and so it sits, testament to a forgotten store, and a hard to find artist.

SewingLeft

Located at 808 Meadow Lark Lane. There is parking in front and back of the store. Take a class or two and enjoy the art!

From me to you

ZidekBrownMain2

Some unusual presentation for a (somewhat) unusual mural. This Nashville Walls Project mural across the street from the Gulch version of Barista Parlor is really two murals joined together, and is also found in a cramped alleyway where it’s impossible to get a full direct shot. Thus my header photo is a merged shot, one from the left, one from the right, each featuring one of the different artists. On the left, one of the colorful geometric math problems Nathan Brown is known for. On the right, a human figure in the characteristic style of Chris Zidek, who signs his work Zidekahedron. This mural took some time to complete. I went by several times to see if it was finished. If there were paint supplies left next to the wall, I figured it wasn’t. I did, however, catch Brown at work one day – you can see that in the slideshow of close-ups below.

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Located at 601 Overton Street. The mural actually faces Mansion Street, on the south side of the Turner Supply Company building. Mansion Street is not much more than an alley and has prominent No Parking signs. You can put some coins in the meters along Overton, but most of the nearby paid lots have one-hour free parking to encourage shopping in the Gulch, so make it part of your Gulch crawl and enjoy the art!

 

Just a few gents

12SouthTaproom

There’s a lot of outdoor art in the 12 South neighborhood. One of the most photographed murals in Nashville has to be the “I Believe in Nashville” mural found on the north wall of 12 South Dental Studio and sadly subject to multiple acts of vandalism. Just up the road is a very different mural which I think is at least as worthy of a few selfies or portraits, though it’s easy to miss. Tucked away in a semi-hidden driveway that wraps around the north side of 12 South Taproom and Grill one finds these three dapper gentlemen, who oddly given the location don’t seem to be enjoying a cold beer. They are the work of Jared Freihoefer, a Nashville artist who seems to specialize in black and white portraits that use the kind of shading technique seen here. Put on something snazzy and take your next selfie with these gents!

Located at 2318 12th Avenue South. The mural is on the north side of the building, facing a driveway that leads to parking behind 12 South Taproom. Parking in this area is tricky. There is free street parking on the side streets, though it’s often crowded (and a few spaces at the north end of the district on 12th). There are also a couple of pay lots, and of course, many businesses have their own parking. Make it part of your 12 South crawl!

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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