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Lost Art

George Jones rides a lawnmower

One of the great legends of country music was George Jones, and one of the best legends about George Jones was the story about the lawnmower. See, Jones went through a long period where he had a serious drinking problem. When he wasn’t allowed to drive himself to the liquor store, he used his driver. And when he lost that option, he took the lawnmower all the way to the liquor store, which was a few miles from where he lived at the time. As he later recalled:

I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.

The New Channel 5 story linked above claims his destination was Colonial Liquor Store, where the new mural is found. Or did this actually happen in Texas? There is a conflict in the sources, but Jones himself said it happened, so Texas or Nashville, it’s still a good story. Colonial Liquors has embraced the legend. Inspired by an episode of Mike Judge’s Tales from the Tourbus (you can catch a glimpse of Jones on the lawnmower in this short trailer), Colonial worked with local artist Shawn Catz, who got permission from Judge and Cinemax (who produced the series) to use Judge’s design on the mural. Jones’s widow was apparently not pleased. But then, the George Jones Museum does have the lawnmower in question on display (just scroll down a bit).

Jones Quote mural street art Nashville

This mural, by the way, covers the mural featured in Mystery of the Spheres.

Located at 2401 Franklin Pike. The mural is on the north side of the building, facing Hillview Heights Road. There is parking at Colonial and across Hillview Heights.

A new anthem

One of Nashville’s newest murals is not 100% new, as it incorporates traces of a previous mural. Which makes sense, as this is a new mural to celebrate a company’s rebranding and reorganization. ole media Management (no, that’s not a typo, they used lower-case letters in their name) recently became Anthem Entertainment. The new name is that of a company ole recently bought, which had been founded by Rush’s manager Ray Danniels. If you look below, you’ll see what the old mural looked like, and you can see that Tara Marie Aversa, who did the new mural, cleverly incorporated the central part of that earlier, more austere mural in her much more exuberant new work. (I have not been able to determine who made the original.) Like her work for Walden, this piece is overflowing with flowers, but here the flowers are background, with the stars of the Tennesee state flag given pride of place, as in the previous mural. As befitting Anthem’s role in the music business, there are also instruments and a microphone, and a silhouetted man who looks a lot like a young Johnny Cash to me.  (Image taken from this article.) Check out Aversa’s Instagram page, where you’ll find a series of posts detailing the process of creating this mural.

Ole mural street art Nashville

There was also an ole sign on the front of the building that is also now gone.

ole sign street art Nashville

Located at 462 Humphreys Street. The mural is on the east side of the building and actually faces Martin Sreet, Street parking and parking at the business is available.

East Nashville: You Are Here!

Welcome mural street art Nashville

For a long time, before the mural boom in Nashville, one of the only murals in town I was aware of was this one, the “East Nashville: You Are Here!” mural at Five Points, on the north-facing wall of what used to be Eastside Cycles and will soon be MOAB Bikes. The decision to paint over it in mid-2016 with a new mural was controversial at the time and even prompted some vandalism (you can see the new mural at that link). I’m writing about it today because of a post to the East Nashville Facebook page (that’s a closed group) by the original artist (whose name I had never known before), Nathaniel Allen. Of course, I’ve been using this mural as the banner for my blog since the inception, but since I didn’t know the artist, I never got around to posting about it. This blog is not just a guide to what’s out there now (and it’s incomplete as such a guide), but also an attempt by me to record the history of outdoor art in Nashville and create an archive for lost art. At least 10% of what’s on this blog no longer exists, and I do at times blog about pieces that are gone, though at three years later this is the farthest back I’ve gone to recover lost art. If you can’t open that Facebook post above, I can assure the decision to paint over this mural remains quite controversial, but it’s hardly the only mural in Nashville to be lost, and there will certainly be more. Allen posted on his own Facebook Page a couple of posts detailing the process of producing the “East Nashville: You Are Here!” mural you might want to check out.

Formally located at 103 South 11th Street, at Five Points. It’s worth walking around this area, as there is a lot of art in the Five Points area now. There is paid parking at Five Points, but with a bit of luck, you can find free street parking within a block or so.

Panda sky

Panda Betor Mural

This mural appeared in the alley behind Make Nashville some months ago and is visible from the 900 block of Main Street (well, until some developer builds condos on top of Gym 5’s parking lot). But until very recently, there were a group of trailers parked in front of it stacked with what appeared to be some kind of traffic dividers, making for lousy pictures. When I realized those trailers were finally gone, I rushed immediately to get a new picture. I found that there was, in fact, a lot of new art in this alley. The wall of graffiti tags featured in Back in the alley has been replaced with a whole new set of graffiti tags, and there is a trippy new mural on the back of Gym 5 – all of which I will feature here soon. This mural above is unsigned, but the block of colors with a lion’s face poking out appears to say “Panda,” which is a tag I associate with the UH crew. There is also another Betor memorial. Betor was the tag of the artist Ronnie Bobal, who died in 2016. There is a major memorial to Betor on Gallatin Road, and his name is found in a number of murals around town. (This is the same wall that once had an interesting flower on it.)

Located at 947 Woodland Street. The mural can only be reached through the alley, which runs from McFerrin to South 10th Street. It is plausible to park in the loading dock best to the mural. Otherwise, there is street parking on McFerrin.

Hidden skyline

Skyline mural Nashville street art

I had been aware of this mural for several months, as it’s on my route home for work. At first, I didn’t write about it because I thought it might be unfinished. But as a few months passed, I figured it must be done. Then the problem was taking a picture. The lot in front of it was overgrown, partially obscuring it. Then the lot was cleared, but a bulldozer and big pile of dirt blocked the view. Finally, the lot was cleared a week or so ago, and I got the photographs I needed. I planned to write about it soon. But just yesterday I saw an Instagram post from Mobe Oner showing that he and some fellow artists had painted a serious of graffiti-style murals over this one. You can see just a few bits of the old one sticking out. Otherwise, this skyline is probably visible only here, and perhaps on the phone of whoever made it. (It’s unsigned.) This blog is in part an archive. Several pieces I’ve written about no longer exist, and this is the third or fourth time I’ve written about art that was already gone. I’m glad I got these photos! The scene is a bit of a fantasy. The view would be from across the river near the Seigenthaler pedestrian bridge, and no such line of trees is there.

Skyline Detail

Located at the corner of Herman Street and 19th Avenue North, on the east side. Street parking is available. There is a lot of art on this group of buildings. The fate of the new murals, which I’ll blog about fairly soon, is uncertain, depending on the development future of this lot. They may get blocked from view.

UPDATE: Here’s the art that replaced this mural.

Flower balm

UPDATE: Some months after this post went up, the artist expanded on the original mural. The original is below.

Back when the spot now occupies by Walden was home to The Hop Stop, there was a first a mural for The Hop Stop on the building housing the bar, and then later another Hop Stop mural appeared across from it on the building where the East Tattoo Collective is found. Now Walden has followed suit, with another Tara Marie Aversa mural to go with the one on the Walden building. (There’s also one inside.) The hashtag is #flowerbalm, hence the blog title, but I did try to come up with something clever about the Rolling Stones. Did you know they had an album called Flowers? News to me – learn something new every day!

Lip and flowers mural street art Nashville

Located at 2913 Gallatin Pike, on the south side of the building. There is plenty of parking, but it’s a pay lot. There is no nearby free street parking.

The lost art of Bongo East, Part 1

LeahDancers.jpg

One of the first murals in town that really grabbed my attention was this one and the one of a boxer next to it. It sat on the north wall of Bongo East, the Five Points branch of the Bongo Java empire. I tried to post about it before, but I realized the only photos I had of it were slightly out of focus (it’s most notable if you look at the signature and tags on the right). And I never got a new picture before construction started in the lot in front of it. I had hoped to photograph it again, as it seemed to be destined to face an open courtyard, but I saw recently that it had been painted over, a white blank wall taking its place. I suppose it clashed with the esthetic of the new building. Interestingly, it’s by Leah Tumerman, the same artist who did the bear mural on the side of Eastside Cycles, which replaced the mural in the banner of this blog, and was somewhat controversial, which I wrote about in one of my very first posts on this blog. This piece is called “Deeply Dimensional Women,” and you can find more pictures of it and close-ups on Timerman’s website. (Interestingly, her large photo of it also seems out of focus on the signature and tags.) The tags include one for Color Theory Studios, so Tinsley Dempsy likely was involved in getting this mural produced. The boxer mural you see in the photo below by Eastside Murals seems to have also been destroyed. It’s certainly blocked from view by the new building. I’ll devote another post to it later.

Construction

Located at 107 Sout 11th Street, or at least it was. The tomato-fist mural still exists, and you can see it from the sidewalk. I’ll post about it later as well. This is Five Points. There is free parking on some of the side streets, but you may have to walk a bit.

Impermanent, The Nations

MPSouthFull

And the blog is back! How about a whole lot of art to celebrate? Back in April, there was an art show at an old warehouse in The Nations whose only indication of its past is a damaged sign that seems to have once read “Motor Parts.” The show was carried out by Impermanent, which bills itself as “a collective of artists who are displaying their talents in the world of subversive and immersive art within an uninhibiting environment,” and was done in partnership with Nashville Civic Design Center and The Oasis Real Foundation. The show produced art both inside and out at the warehouse. This blog covers outdoor art, but you can see some of the creations inside in this video. Some of the work on the outside features tags associated with the UH crew. There is one piece signed by Brandon Donahue (look for the “ink blot” image that is the second image in the South Wall slideshow below). On the Impermanent website the orange face above is credited to Sterbo, and based on style, the mouse on the south wall and the mouse and head on the north wall appear to be the work of Adam Hale, while the ice cream colored scene around the orange face fits the style of Kevin Bongang. Presumably, the other artists listed on Impermanent’s Who page were also involved in producing the outdoor art. (I really should have gone to this show – I’d be better informed. It must have been laundry night!) Go check it out soon. An abandoned warehouse in the go-go-go real estate market of The Nations won’t last long.

UPDATE: These murals have been painted over.

East Wall, left to right.

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South Wall, left to right.

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West Wall, full, then left to right.

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North Wall, left to right

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Located at 1211 57th Avenue North. Street parking is available.

Abracadabra

HPMain

This is a tale of two murals and two stores. The Hokus Pokus mural by Music City Murals on Gallatin advertises the vape store of the same name. The MCM guys must be really proud of it, as they use it as the cover art on their Facebook page. Hokus Pokus has also used the design in a billboard farther south on Gallatin. Before this mural, however, there used to be a graffiti art mural here with the “Betor” tag, he of Betor Forever. I thought I had my own photograph of it, but I can’t find it, so I’ve posted a Google street view shot below. But wait, there’s more! Sage and Serpent is a tattoo parlor in the same building, and below I include their interesting sign and an image that is posted on the back of the building. I don’t know who did either, but I would hazard a guess it’s one or both of the two artists who own Sage and Serpent.

HPold

Located at 4118 Gallatin Pike. The main mural is on the north side of the building, while the Sage and Serpent sign is on the front and the image of a hand is on the back side. There is plenty of parking in front and back of the building.

 

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