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Nashville murals, street art, graffiti, signs, sculptures and more

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Lost Art

Molly Green

This building at the corner of Main Street and McFerrin has undergone a lot of changes in recent years. It’s been a couple of failed clubs and a boutique clothing store. It’s been completely white and completely black – at which time it served as a canvas for one of Emily Miller’s wheatpaste creations. For the last couple of years, it’s been home to a branch of Molly Green, a local fashion line. And perhaps befitting the lively styles that Molly Green sells (and no, that’s not actually the name of a person associated with the fashion line), the building now sports a very colorful mural from Eastside Murals. As I mentioned in my post about their mural for Bearded Iris Brewing, it has a passing resemblance to that mural, with the many dots and the snaking lines. But here those dots and lines are found on a tie-dye canvas, as opposed to the crisp black one at Bearded Iris. The mural actually wraps around the building, so there’s much more than seen in the featured photo (see slide show below). If you look close on the right, you can see a piece of the graffiti art mural featured in A few words and then who knows.

UPDATE: This building was destroyed by the March 3, 2020 tornado.

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Located at 918 Main Street, at the corner with McFerrin Avenue. There is street parking on McFerrin, more of it on the north side of Main. When Molly Green is open, the west-facing side and the back end of the east side the building often have cars parked in front of them.

Hunt Supply Co.

When is hidden art not hidden art? When it’s only visible from an alleyway, but that alleyway has a fair amount of foot traffic. Hunt Supply Co. supplies all your skateboarding needs and is found in an alley a couple doors back behind Beyond the Edge in the Five Points district. According to Google Maps, the alley is called “#929 Alley.” As a long-time resident of Lockeland Springs, which borders Five Points, this is news to me. Hunt Supply has been in place for a few years, long enough to acquire multiple stages of art. For some time, there was an Emily Miller wheat-pasted and skateboarding paper wolf just below the sign (see at the bottom). The current work is by David Wright of Manecoon Sign Company and an artist he credits as @_wanted_1 on Instagram (that account has no pictures or information). It features a western scene, which may or may not have much to do with skateboarding, but the wolf at the end mimics Miller’s piece. If you check out the Instagram page of Jason Hunt, the store’s owner, you’ll see a fair amount of wolf imagery, and the shop dog, Harley, has something of wolf-like look. There’s a large sign in the back which was also done by Wright.

UPDATE: This building and all its art was destroyed by the March 3, 2020 tornado.

Located at 118 South 11th Street D. The “D” means “behind.” There is a path that reaches from 11th to Hunt Supply, but the real front of Hunt Supply, and the main mural, faces the alley. The alley can be reached from the 1000 block Woodland Street between Five Points Pizza (at 1012) and Boston Common, aka Batter’d & Fried (at 1008 A). It can also be accessed from the 1000 block of Russell Street, next to the YMCA Community Action Program building at 1021, or from the paid parking lot next to Beyond the Edge.

Bearded Iris Brewing, Makeover Edition

In January 2017, just a few months after starting this blog, I wrote about an interesting wall of graffiti on the rear side of Bearded Iris Brewing. I even called it “Part 1,” because I intended to come back and write about the less interesting graffiti on the building that faced that back wall of Bearded Iris, on the other side of the Cumberland River Greenway. Well, that building got torn down to make way for a parking lot, and the graffiti was replaced by this giant sign for Bearded Iris done by Eastside Murals. (The graffiti off to the left is still there, and might get a blog post someday.) This mural is reminiscent of another recent work by Eastside Murals covering the entirety of the Molly Green building at McFerrin Ave and Main Street. While the color scheme is quite different, that work also features thick flowing lines and large circles. I recently got good photos of it, so look for it on the blog soon. The featured photo above is angled because, as you can see below, trying to take a photo straight on mostly just gets you a picture of trees! The Bearded Iris Brewing logo, which you can see in the upper right of the mural and on the tanks located on the front of the building, doesn’t look much like a bearded iris flower to me but more like a stylized fleur-de-lis. Your mileage may vary.

Bearded Iris Mural street art Nashville

Bearded Iris Tanks street art Nashville

Located at 101 Van Buren Street. The mural faces east, along the Cumberland River Greenway. There is a paid parking lot directly in front of it, but you can probably park for free for a little while in Bearded Iris’s parking lot (look for the tanks), longer if you stop in for a brew!

Jerry’s Artarama

Of course an art supply store has a mural. This is particularly true if that art supply store is in Nashville. When the Nashville branch of Jerry’s Aratama moved from Antioch to East Nashville two years ago, it acquired a mural even before it opened. The mural appropriately features many of the colors you might want to create art from, pouring out of tubes of the primary colors, red, blue and…wait, yellow? Ok, not actually the primary colors. But you can get green from blue and yellow, so close enough. The main mural is a joint work by Hannah Holgate, who has been on this blog before, and Marshall Hall, who is making his debut here. Both Holgate and Hall work in the frame shop at this store. I live in this neighborhood, and pass this mural every day, so why has it taken two years to put this very obvious mural on the blog? I got pictures of it a long time ago, but after that, the artists added their signatures, so I needed new ones. And the combination of an empty parking lot and good light eluded me for months. But it is just as well, as I can add the tubes of paint Hall recently put in every parking space (minus the handicapped spaces). There are eighteen in all, and all a little different. This is a very art dense spot, and as a result, this may be the most image dense article on this blog! It’s worth noting that Jerry’s Artarama is a national chain, breaking the rule that national chains don’t so local outdoor art. But of course, this is an art supply chain, and that rule is beginning to break in Nashville anyway. The slideshows below are 1) closeups of the mural and 2) four sets of the paint tubes, running east to west. There are also some signs in the parking lot, painted on artist’s palettes. You might notice some pallets (not the artist kind but the moving stuff kind) in a couple photos – those seem to be a permanent feature of the site.

UPDATE: The main mural on the wall, including the corrugated metal door, was severely damaged in the March 3, 2020 tornado. Most of it was lost, and what’s left of it will probably have to be replaced. One of the signs was damaged, but the parking lot is fine. See What we lost in the storm.

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Located at 713 Main Street. Obviously, there is parking, though you will inevitably park on top of some art. A good strategy is to get there before they are open (10:00 am every day except Sunday when they open at noon) and park next door.

With a Capitol View

Graffiti Capitol street art mural Nashville

It’s been a while since I’ve put any “wild” graffiti on the blog, but this one caught my eye recently and I really like it. That skull in the middle of the tag is common in Nashville graffiti. A good example is the one featured in Staying power. This tag was surprisingly difficult to research because it lies in the midst of a massive development project, Capitol View. Capitol View lies on the north side of the part of Charlotte Avenue that was recently renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, centered on 11th Avenue. When fully finished, it will take up six entire blocks running between MLK Blvd and Clinton Street three blocks north, while bordered by George L. Davis Blvd to the west and the railroad that roughly parallels 10th Avenue to the east. And about 10th Avenue – many of us have come to rely on Google Maps to stay up to date, but as of this writing it very much isn’t, (but it might be by the time you click that) and I could not make what I remember seeing jibe with the map. At one time, Gay Street crossed 10th Avenue and went under a railroad bridge to connect to a large, decrepit parking lot. That lot is now “Building E” of Capitol View and has a big sign on it that says “500,” as it’s official address is 500 11th Avenue. And the stretch of 10th that used to run between Nelson Merry Street and Lifeway Plaza? It’s been turned into an almost-finished park, that according to Capitol View’s Master Plan, will apparently be open to the public and linked to the greenway system. To get it, you have to go under the bridge, right where this graffiti is. Which means this graffiti probably counts as endangered art. Check it out soon.

UPDATED: This has been painted over.

Located just east of 500 11th Avenue. There is a driveway that runs between Lifeway Plaza and Nelson Merry and parallels the railroad, and the underpass where this is found is right in the middle of that stretch. There is an entrance to a parking garage right in front of it where you should able to park as a visitor for short periods of time.

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.

Under hypnosis

Under Hypnosis mural street art Nashville

Feeling hypnotized? Certainly, this mural was meant to play with your vision. It appeared recently on the back side of Gym 5, and is by a local artist who goes by Sterbo (or terbosterbo). This alleyway is a busy place for art. Turn around from looking at this mural and you’ll see the one in Panda sky, and just to the left is a set of elaborate graffiti tags that cover what used to the elaborate graffiti tags found in Back in the alley. I’ll blog about the new tags sometime soon. This particular wall has seen a series of not very interesting scribbled tags. With some exceptions, taggers tend to be respectful of murals, so maybe the new mural will put a stop to that. In the meantime, it’s here to mess with your head. The symbol at the end is one used by Sterbo as something of a signature (see photos below).

UPDATE: This mural was severely damaged by the March 3, 2020 tornado. The part of the wall with the word “under” on it collapsed. Repairs will probably result in the destruction of the rest of the mural. See What we lost in the storm.

Located at 952 Main Street. The installation is in fact in the alley, which can be accessed from 10th Street or McFerrin Avenue. There is some parking in this alley if you are just visiting.

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