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Murals and More

Weiss Murals, Part 2 – Tomato Arts Fest

It’s tomato time! Since 2004, East Nashville has hosted the Tomato Arts Fest, one of the best neighborhood festivals in the country – but you already knew that. Why tomatoes? Wy not tomatoes is a better question. People get dressed up like tomatoes, there is, of course, a lot of tomato-themed art, and plenty of Bloody Marys to be had. An art fest should certainly get a mural. In fact, there’s more than one. There’s the one featured in Robots don’t care about veggies, and there’s this newer one by Michael Cooper of  Murals and More. I would have never guessed it was his because of the style, had I not seen on his website a series of photos showing the process by which Cooper and his team made the murals. In the background, you can also see a Jason Galaz piece in the which will be on the blog as soon as I get around to writing part two of Crying Wolf, Part 1. And hey, I just realized the banner behind the tomato is a rainbow flag!

Go to the Tomato Arts Fest! You won’t be sorry!

Part 1

Weiss Tomato mural street art Nashville

The two murals together.

Weiss Murals street art Nashville

Located at 824 Main Street. The mural faces the alley on the back of the building. There is of course parking at Weiss, and at the storage center next door, which is a pay lot. The Weiss parking lot can be tricky on weekend evenings.

Weiss Murals, Part 1 – East Nashville

There are two quite distinct murals on the backside of Weiss Liquors. The first one, featured above, is very obviously in the style of Michael Cooper of Murals and More. I have to say a couple of times I passed by and thought people were standing in front of it, but of course, that’s Cooper’s usual trompe-l’oeil style. A banner reading “East Nashville” is being put up on the wall by a couple of Weiss employees, while a dog and a couple of musicians hang out. The other mural, which I will feature in a later post, is in a very different style, and at first, I did not know who did it. But it turns out it’s also by Cooper, as you can see on his website with a series of photos showing the process by which Cooper and his team made the murals. You can also see a Jason Galaz piece in the background which will be on the blog as soon as I get around to writing part two of Crying Wolf, Part 1. And below, you can also see the Weiss sign which I featured in A true Nashville survivor. For that matter you can see above mural number two – I didn’t crop it out completely in order that the featured photo would work right with Facebook shares. It references the Tomato Arts Fest next week, and I’ll feature it then.

Part 2

East Nashville mural street art Nashville

East Nashville mural street art Nashville

East Nashville mural street art Nashville

Located at 824 Main Street. The mural faces the alley on the back of the building. There is of course parking at Weiss, and at the storage center next door, which is a pay lot. The Weiss parking lot can be tricky on weekend evenings.

Bullets, beef, and beer

You might think that whoever commissioned this mural would be a bar or even a butcher, maybe even both, given the subject matter. But in fact, it was commissioned by Shooter’s Guns, Ammo and Range, which is exactly what it says it is. The artist is Michael Cooper of Murals and More, using the trompe-l’oeil style he often works in. According to Cooper,

“They were looking to turn the blank, boring wall on the side of their building into something more exciting, and we were happy to make it into a fun storefront mural that incorporates their awning and doorway and turns it into the entrance of an Irish Pub!”

If you’re wondering why there’s a fence right in front of it, what appears to be a long-dead Jack in the Box lies next door, and the fence rather ineffectively is supposed to keep people off that property. Obviously, I ninjaed my way in – by going through a rather large gap in the fence.

Pub mural street art Nashville

Butcher mural street art Nashville

Located at 573 Murfreesboro Pike. The mural faces south, towards Foster Ave. There is parking in front and behind Shooters. The back parking is accessed off Cleaveland Avenue, on the north side of the building.

The Listening Room

Listening Room mural sign street art Nashville

The music venue The Listening Room Cafe has had many incarnations. Founded by Chris Blair, it first appeared in Franklin in 2006. Blair moved it to Cummins Station in 2008, and again to its current location on 4th Avenue un 2012. And it is on 4th Avenue that we find on a stark white wall this sign featuring The Listening Room’s logo, created by Michael Cooper of Murals and More. On the bottom right of the photo, you can see his usual signature, which as always includes his phone number.

Located at 618 4th Avenue South. There is some limited parking at the Listening Room and some street parking on Elm Street. As the mural faces a parking lot, your best bet is to visit early in the day, well before show time. Enjoy the music and enjoy the art!

Marathon Gas Mural

Marathon Gas mural street art Nashville

The new mural by Michael Cooper of Murals and More is an interesting addition to Nashville’s outdoor art scene. Unlike most outdoor art murals in town, tourists won’t be getting their portraits taken in front of it, pretending perhaps to be run over by the large truck in the center.  The Marathon Gas terminal on 51st is decidedly industrial and off-limits to outsiders. That fence is as close as you’ll get without an invitation. But the Marathon terminal is also in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, on the north end of The Nations. Just down the street are places like Nicky’s Coal Fired Pizza, an outpost of Frothy Monkey, and a Frutta Bowls. Fancy apartments have opened a couple blocks north, and more are coming. And murals are popping up all over as part of this gentrification, such as the one for Village Realty and of course the giant silo mural. Marathon may simply be trying to stay in tune with the changing neighborhood, or it may be playing a little defense. The Nations used to be the kind of low and middle-income neighborhood that an industrial site holding hazardous material is often found in, but now Marathon has wealthier neighbors not always accustomed to living near such a site. Some art might make the relationship a little easier. In the slideshow below, take a look at how Cooper cleverly incorporated the Marathon sign that was already on the building.

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Located at 1472 51st Avenue North. There is some street parking south of the railroad and at local businesses. A path has recently been installed along the fence, and there’s a picnic table as well. Grab a cup at Frothy and enjoy the art!

Lane Motor Museum

LaneMain

Housed in what for many years was a Sunbeam Bread factory, Lane Motor Museum on Murfreesboro is a privately-owned museum that prides itself on being one of the few motor museums in America primarily focused on European automobiles. Back in 2014, it acquired a Michael Cooper mural, whose professional home is Murals and More. The gentleman pictured is Jeff Lane, founder of the museum. The only blue car in the online version of the museum’s collection that resembles the car in the mural is the 1938 Georges Irat. However, while it’s the wrong color, the details in the mural car seem closer to the green 1955 MG TF 1500, which would make sense, as, according to a video on the museum’s history, that was the first car Lane restored himself. No word on the dog! There is also a set of car-themed stamps above the main entrance that were also painted by Cooper. They are partially blocked from view unless you go out to the road. There are better pictures than mine of the stamps on Cooper’s website.

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LaneStamps

Located at 702 Murfreesboro Pike. The museum has parking. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which might be the best time to visit if you only want to see the murals.

Bud’s Liquors and Wines

BudsLiquors

I was going to call this post “a bottle of red, a bottle of white,”  but I already did that before. This Micheal Cooper mural, he of Murals and More, doesn’t show up in a lot of tourists’ selfies. Not many of them go to Bud’s Liquors and Wines, the liquor store on the back side of the Green Hills Kroger. But placed right at a key intersection where a major commercial district intersects with a wealthy residential area, it gets seen by a lot of people. The date on the mural is “6.09 (redux).” That implies it was remade in 2009. That makes sense. I’m not sure when I first saw it, but “before 2009” feels right. It’s certainly one of the survivors, an early mural that predates the current boom.

Located at 2139 Abbott Martin Rd. The mural faces Hillsboro Circle. Bud’s has parking, and in a pinch, you could park at the Kroger next door. Grab a bottle of your favorite and enjoy the art!

Camels and jellyfish, naturally

CamelMain1

I don’t usually take photos from this far away, but I would have a very stretched out photo if I’d gotten closer. This Murals and More work by Michael Cooper is kind of gargantuan. And of course with murals, there’s not a lot you can do to adjust the canvas. The canvas here is the south-facing wall of Camel Express Car Wash. This is, of course, the long tunnel that the cars pass through, and if the client wants the whole wall done, this is the shape of the mural you will get. And it’s no doubt a good investment. Anyone headed north on Dickerson Pike is going to get a clear view from a good ways off, just after they pass under I-65 and Briley Parkway. Cooper deploys his usual trompe l’oeil technique in a particularly colorful way here. I’m not sure I’d want my car to actually go through the process displayed, however! Camel Express features some “making of” photos (dated in mid-March, 2018) on their Facebook photo page (there are more than the ones I linked). One thing you can see is that while Cooper’s name is on the mural, he had other people working with him.

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Located at 3430 Doverside Drive. This is off the southern entrance road that leads to the Lowes and Wallmart that are just north of Briley Parkway on Dickerson Pike. Your best bet for parking is probably the Murphy Express next door. There is a sidewalk on Doverside, so you could walk from the Wallmart parking lot, or just scramble down the hill. Get your car spiffed up and enjoy the art!

 

Building who’s Nashville?

ChurchStFull

Ordinarily, I like to keep people out of the pictures I use on this blog. But for this particular mural, done by Michael Cooper of Murals and Moore, that’s not easy. Church Street Park, known also as Library Park, has become a gathering ground for homeless Nashvillians. Some of this is because it lies across from the downtown Main Library, which has made efforts to reach out to the homeless. Not surprisingly, the presence of homeless people in such a prominent spot has raised controversy. That controversy is probably behind the willingness of Mayor David Briley to back a controversial proposal to allow developer Tony Giarratana to build a commercial high rise tower on the property in exchange for also building an apartment complex for the homeless on James Robertson Parkway. Ten years ago, the city bulldozed and rebuilt the park to rid the park of pesky starlings. Now they might just demolish it so they can rid it of the homeless. Whether the deal with Giarratana goes through remains to be seen. If it does, Cooper’s mural suggesting an unfinished but growing Nashville will almost certainly disappear. Call it endangered art.

ChurchStLeftChurchStRight

Located at 600 Church Street, across from the downtown library. This is downtown, so plenty of parking, almost none of it free. The library parking garage has reasonable rates, including ninety free minutes with validation. Peruse the stacks and enjoy the art!

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