This is a story of two murals. The building housing Northwest Liquors and Zap Market, located at the corner of Buchanan and D.B. Todd, lies at a prominent spot in the Buchanan Street neighborhood, so it’s a good place for a mural or two. Facing Buchanan is this Norf Collective piece signed by Woke3 that is an obvious companion to the mural featured in And her hair was an unfolded flower, featuring a male subject here instead of the female one seen in the other mural. (The website listed on the mural is a dead link.) On the south side of the building is a very different mural signed “Tracy the Rose 2016.” I can’t find anyone using that handle, but the subject is one that is found on some liquor stores. While not as ubiquitous as the tires painted on tire stores, they are other examples in town.
Located at 1613 Buchanan Street. There is plenty of parking at the liquor store, though cars are often parked in front of the murals so it might be advisable to visit on a Sunday.
This is post number 300. For this post, I’m updating on the art I know is now gone. The photo above is an Emily Miller piece once found at the corner of Main and McFerrin. Much of Miller’s work is deliberately temporary, drawn on paper and glued to outdoor walls. Her pieces are more durable than you might think, however, and in fact, this one was deliberately removed when the building was repainted. That’s the fate of most of the works listed here – they have been painted over. Others are gone because the building they stood on is gone.
The blog itself is getting a little better all the time. Statistics wise, since I started it in July 2016, 5450 people have visited the blog for a total of 11,006 page views. Modest, but it has been growing. From a couple hundred views a month when I got started, 800 and 900 has become common, it looks like the blog is about to close in on the second month in a row and third overall for more than 1000 views. The empire grows slowly.
All art is temporary, outdoor art in particular. A list, probably incomplete, of art I have chronicled that is gone or substantially erased. (I will be updating these posts in the coming weeks):
If this mural were more centrally located, or more in a tourist zone, it would be in a hundred thousand selfies. As it stands, tucked away behind the fairgrounds, it doesn’t get quite the attention it probably deserves. Maybe that will change if the soccer stadium goes in. Put in back in December 2015, by local artist Josh Blevins, it makes clever use of the windows to evoke the shape of an old cassette tape. Too bad one of the windows is broken. You can see Blevins working on it on his Instagram page. Blevins also has a website, but the page seems to be down for the time being.
Located at 600 Benton Avenue, on the Wedgehill Market building. The mural is on the east side of the building, facing Bransford Avenue. The market has parking, and there is some street parking on Benton. Grab some sundries and enjoy the art!
There is a certain style to Latino markets, and Mi Casa Supermercado on Dickerson fits the bill. We have the display of items available in the store, the woman working with…well, it looks like she has a potato in her hands, but next to her is a traditional stove top for cooking tortillas and what might be a brewing pot of pozole. Pozole is basically Mexican pork-hominy stew. It sticks to the ribs and cures all illnesses — or at least makes you feel better! The artist is José F. Vargas who, as is traditional with these Latino market murals, give us his phone number, in case you want your own pastoral Mexican mural. In the slideshow below, I include the door (with its Nashville theme) and the fruits and vegetables on the front windows.
Located at 2917 Dickerson Pike. Lots of available parking. Load up on all your Mexican fiesta needs and enjoy the art!
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.
UPDATE: This work has been painted over, presumably sometime in early 2018.
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!
This is a tale of two murals, side by side. One is a sign, done in a cartoon style, while the other is an abstract play with colors. La Colmena Mexican Candy has had a presence in Global Mall (formerly Hickory Hollow) for a couple of years, but they recently moved to Nolensville Road, offering, as it says, baked goods, ice cream, and candy. So, diet food! (As I like to say, I had kale for lunch – it was shaped like a patty melt and fries. Here, the kale is shaped like candy.) The beehive mural bears a strong resemblance to images you find if you do a search for “beehive clip art.” (“Colmena” means “beehive.”) If you are not familiar with Mexican sweets but like all things sugar, give it a try! Some of it is quite different from what is typical in the U.S., so you might find something new you love. (The title of this post come from a Spanish version of “trick or treat!”)
Located at 2424A Nolensville Pike, about a block south of the 440 exit. If you are driving south, the double mural, on the north side of the building, is very visible. There is parking in front of La Colmena, and makeshift parking around back where you’ll compete with the neighboring auto repair place. Grab some pan y dulces and enjoy the art!
If you live in East Nashville, and you drink alcohol, you probably have an opinion about Weiss Liquors vs. Main Street Liquor. Some folks have strong opinions on this topic. Here are two empirical facts: 1) Main has colder refrigerators and 2) Weiss wins the sign war hands down. Weiss Liquors goes back a long way. Nicholas Weiss first started selling alcohol downtown in the 1890s. The business has moved a few times since, landing in its current location in 1961. The sign first showed up in the 1930s and has moved twice since then. The arrows, not part of the original design, were added in the 1940s. You can read more at Nashville Design History, in an article by John Whitman. Since then the sign has been featured in movies, music videos, and on more than a few Instagram accounts. Sadly, some of the letters are out right now due to vandalism. That’s a tough one. BTW, if you’re looking for work, as of this posting, Weiss is hiring!
Located at 824 Main Street. Impossible to miss. There is of course parking at Weiss, and at the storage center next door. The parking lot can be tricky on weekend evenings.
The east side has Five Points, where Woodland, Clearview, and North 11th come together. But what do you call a place where four streets and a cemetery entrance come together? Busy – you call it busy. On the north side of the confluence of Clarksville Pike, 13th Avenue North, Clay Street and Dr. D.B. Todd Blvd, and across the street from the entrance to the Temple Cemetary, lies a humble building nearly as busy as the intersection it presides over. At 2012 Clarksville Pike, The Belly Restaurant, Sam’s Market, and Joyce’s Barber and Beauty Salon ensure a steady clientele. And on the west and east sides of the building, we find art. On the west side, a self-referential mural that includes the 2012 Clarksville building, though showing a mural that looks more like the one on the east side (see below). The businesses named are no longer here. Portraits of students fill out the mural. On the east side, a simpler mural, with an intriguing incomplete portrait. And on a low wall to the west of the building, a fading tribute to the Family Affair Diner, which is lost to history, or at least to Google.
Located at 2012 Clarksville Pike, right where it makes a strong turn to the south and becomes D.B. Todd Blvd. Parking available, though if you park in front of the building, you’ll be backing out onto a busy road when you leave.
Corporate America is not big on public art. Oh sure, major corporations routinely fund art projects, often to beautify their own facilities or to gain some good publicity, but when it comes to the brand, the brand must be pure. And if the company is building chain stores across the country, be they restaurants or retail, little deviation is allowed. Chain stores and restaurants seem to exude some kind of cloud that kills public art. The worst place to look for public art of any kind are those four-lane thoroughfares that have miles of national chains up and down them. Which is why I’m 99.99% certain this face on the property of the Family Dollar at the corner of Home and Gallatin was not authorized, and will probably be painted over soon enough. This is found on a concrete enclosure protecting the store’s garbage dumpster. Less interesting graffiti is found on the other two sides of the enclosure. A note to business owners tired of cleaning up graffiti – you should put in murals. Taggers are mostly respectful of mural art. You could save yourself the trouble of cleaning up graffiti and make the neighborhood more interesting in one go!
Located at 3407 Gallatin Pike. The face is found on a concrete “box” behind the store, at the corner of Home and Baxter, facing Baxter. Load up on unnecessary plastic objects and enjoy the art!