Search

nashville public art

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

Category

Restaurant and bars

Smashville (The Stage on Broadway)

Sometimes it’s good to walk down an alley – you might find art! This particular alley is not super-secret. It lies between Ryman Auditorium on one side and a bunch of Broadway honkytonks on the other. And it contains one of the Smashville murals that the Predators commissioned Audie Adams to do around the downtown area. (Adams also goes by Audroc.)

This particular mural is on the back side of The Stage on Broadway, hence the logo next to snarling saber-toothed Predator. While usually I would crop a mural shaped like this vertically, I think the placement of this example, framed by the gutters and the gas meter, calls for a wider shot to give the full context.

The Predators have had a mixed season this year (2021), but as of this posting are still in contention. So why are they the Predators? What does that have to do with Nashville? When what is now the UBS Tower was being built in 1970, workers found the partial remains of a sabre-tooth cat, including some impressive fangs. Those bones are now found at Bridgestone Arena, home of the Predators. Hey, the Nashville soccer team chose a coyote as its mascot, after the coyote that managed to get in to a bathroom at the Music City Center. (His name is Tempo.)

This is part of a series of similar murals. I know of at least three others: one in SoBro, one at the downtown Jackalope, and another on the south side of Bridgestone Arena, which I haven’t written about yet. Given its proximity to the Ryman and Lower Broad, this one may be the most accessible to tourists, at least the kind of tourists who are here for the Ryman and Lower Broad.

Located at 412 Broadway. That’s the address of The Stage on Broadway. The alley lies between and runs parallel to Broadway and Commerce Street. It’s closer to Broadway than Commerce, and it runs along the south side of the Ryman. If you can find the alley, just look for The Stage’s neon sign sticking out into the alley. The mural is right next to it. This is downtown – lots of parking, almost none of it free.

Feelin’ Lucky – Hawkers

One of the many things lost as a result of the closure of the long-standing East Nashville staple Family Wash was the mural of a giant multi-colored mule by Herb Williams that once adorned its building. But with a new restaurant in that spot, we also have a new mural.

Hawkers is an Asian street food chain based out of Florida that opened in the old Family Wash site on Main Street a few months ago. As such, it’s no surprise that the giant mural provided by Mobe Oner (aka Eric Bass) has a strong Asian theme. As part of their branding, Hawker uses an image of the familiar Maneki-neko, the Japanese beckoning cat. Wait, that’s what they are called? I didn’t know that they even had a name, but I learn a lot writing this blog.

Hawkers Mural Nashville street art

And yes, beckoning cat, not waving cat. In Japan, that’s a beckoning gesture. They are usually white, which is the color for luck, and in the upper left corner of the mural, Mobe Oner has placed the slogan “Feelin’ Lucky,” hence the title of this blog post. The Maneki-nekos are supposed to be based on the Japanese bobtail, but the flesh-and-blood cats are not nearly as chonky as their artistic counterparts. Maybe it’s all the Asian street food.

Hawkers mural Nashville street art

Only some of the cats in this mural are actually doing the traditional beckoning gesture. We seem them dancing, cooking, stuffing themselves with ramen, and taking selfies. The biggest one of all, appropriate to Nashville, is playing a guitar. You can watch a video of Mobe Oner working on the mural on his Instagram page.

Hawkers Mural Nashville street art

I had to take these pictures at an angle because the cramped parking lot and the addition of an upstairs patio. I was sorely tempted to stand on top of Bolton’s next door, something easily done, to get the picture, but I didn’t, and neither should you. The building is also home to part of the 615 Center complex, as you can see by the sign right next to the Feelin’ Lucky logo.

Located at 626A Main Street. the mural is on the west side of the building, facing towards downtown. There is retail and street parking available nearby.

Ham Baby

Back in 2008, Mitchell Delicatessen opened at 1402 McGavock Pike and quickly became a neighborhood favorite. They became so popular that by 2013 they needed to move to a larger space, though just down the street and across Riverside Drive, to 1306 McGavok. Not long after that, Mitchell’s acquired a mural on its west side (see below). I never wrote about that one, mostly because I never got around to finding out who the artists were. I was informed by Kim Radford, the creator of the newer mural featured above (it went up in April and May, 2018), that the original mural had been done by some of the employees at Mitchell Delicatessen. By 2018 the old mural had begun to deteriorate, and the owners were ready for a new one.

Old Mitchell Mural Nashville street art

The old mural had been a little obscure in its imagery. The sandwich and the guitar are obvious, as was the sunrise based on a Tennessee state flag. On the other hand, why the original artists chose to include what appears to be a large cockroach and some Pac-Man like figures is less clear.

Radford’s mural is a different story. She chose to call it “Ham Baby,” and boy is it ever. This is a deli, and of course they serve a lot of ham, but a giant anthropomorphized sow with a “Greetings from Nashville” bikini definitely has presence. Her wink and flower tattoos only amplify the over-the-top nature of this fun mural. You can see closeups of the mural on Radford’s Instagram page. Indeed, she put up a whole series of posts on the mural’s creation. See links below.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve.

Both of my pictures of the two murals are taken at an angle because of a fence and retaining wall that separates Mitchell’s parking lot from the driveway below and which obscure a more direct shot.

Located at 1306 McGavok Pike. The mural is on the west side of the building (in the direction towards Gallatin Road). There is some limited parking at Mitchell Deli. Be aware that the parking at the end of the driveway in the alley is reserved for another business. There’s paid parking to the east just off Riverside, on the other side of Village Pub.

Dolly at TailGate Brewery

One trend in Nashville outdoor art I can definitely support is the spread of portraits honoring Dolly Parton, like Kim Radford’s and the one by MuckRock. Now, both of those are on walls, and may be a little more permanent than this one. That said dumpsters are heavy, so this one will probably stick around a while. (By the way, I grew up calling them “dempsty dumpsters,” a corruption of the brand name of the original line of dumpsters, “Dempster Dumpsters.”)

Now, technically, I should have saved either Radford’s or MuckRock’s for today, as they are both women artists and today is International Women’s Day (and my father’s birthday!), but honoring Dolly is certainly in the spirit of the day, as she has long been a supporter of women’s rights and is something of a feminist icon, even though she’s careful about using the term “feminist.”

Dolly Parton Mural Nashville street art

This piece appears to be signed “ALORD 20,” which confused me for a bit until I remembered that Drew Lord is the art director of Tailgate Brewery and responsible for all their art. The dumpster, you see, is located in the parking lot of their Demonbreun Street location (right across the street from the (in)famous Musica statue). The mural includes some outlines of the pickup truck that serves as one of Tailgate’s logos (look under the name “Dolly”). That this work was done by Tailgate suggests it has some staying power, certainly as long as Tailgate Brewery remains in that location.

Dolly Parton Mural Nashville street art

The mural is based on a widely distributed photo that is probably from a 1970s promotion shoot. I have not been able to find who the photographer is, but Parton herself tweeted a copy of it on August 8, 2018, which apparently was International Cat Day. Her caption? (Or is that “cat-tion”?) “Just kittin’ around!” But of course.

Located at 1538 Demonbreun Street. The dumpster with the mural is in a small parking lot next to the traffic circle where the Musica statue is, and sits at the exit from the parking lot onto 16th Avenue South. There is parking in this area, but most of it is either pay lots or belongs to nearby businesses. Grab a brew and enjoy the art!

Baked on Eighth

If you live in Nashville and pay any attention to murals, you’ve seen this. It’s on a major thoroughfare, it adorns a beloved sweet shop, so of course people put this on their Instagram. It’s a bachelorette favorite. Posting this now is not journalism!

This mural for Baked on Eighth appeared back in February, 2018. It is appropriately emblazoned with the slogan “Life Can be Sweet,” and is festooned with cookies and pies and cakes, exactly what Baked on 8th is known for. They change their menu regularly, but they focus on the sweet stuff.

The mural is the creation of Susanna Chapman. Chapman is a local illustrator and muralist who specializes in watercolors and book design, mostly children’s books. To my knowledge, this is her only outdoor mural in Nashville, but her illustration work is playful and energetic and would definitely lend itself to some fun murals. Hopefully we’ll see more from her.

This mural is hard to photograph. I like to photograph on cloudy days to avoid shadows, but the pastels look a little dark in anything besides bright sunlight. So imagine this on a sunnier day. Or better, make an order on a sunny day at Baked on Eighth, and go see it for yourself.

Located at 1512 8th Avenue South. The mural is on the south side of the building, looking down 8th Avenue away from downtown. There’s parking in back of Baked on Eight and there’s street parking just to the north on Lynwood Avenue, where you will find the mural featured in Hanging Around.

Welcome to Nashville

This is another “only on Christmas” picture. This mural sits on a storage building in a Premier Parking paid lot attached to Nashville Pedal Tavern. Now if you’re local, that’s quite a pair. Neither one is exactly a favorite of Nashvillians. But hey, everyone’s got to make a living. And because of the bachelorettes and the row of bars along this stretch of Demonbreun, the lot is usually packed with cars, blocking the mural.

Not on Pandemic Christmas! It’s by Music City Murals, business home of Anthony Billups and Dean Tomasek. It’s a very Nashville mural. It features an enormous guitar, and the Cumberland River, with some folks enjoying a rowboat ride on the water. And the guitar neck leads to the Nashville skyline in front of a glorious sunset as seen from the east side of the river, including our city’s signature, the Batman Building. Just as the Eiffel Tower is all you need to say “Paris,” the Batman Building says “Nashville.”

Welcome Mural Nashville street art

It’s also interesting in that it can only be fully appreciated by looking at it from the corner. It’s a continuous image that wraps around the south and east sides of the building, forcing you to stand back from the corner to take it all in. Also, one of the dangers of it being in a tight parking lot, it’s been damaged. It’s pretty obvious someone backed into it, right below the word “Tennessee.”

Welcome Mural Nashville street art

Located at 1504 Demonbreun Street, at the corner with 14th Avenue South. The largest part of the mural faces east towards downtown. There’s obviously parking here, but not much free anywhere nearby. (Pro-tip: If you want to sound like a local, learn to pronounce “Demonbruen.”)

Hillsboro Village

What did you do on Christmas Day, 2020? I photographed murals. This mural has been around since 2012, and there have been cars parked in front of it pretty much every day since. But on pandemic Christmas, I stumbled on it car-free.

It is of course by Andee Rudloff. Anyone who reads this blog should recognize her style immediately. Like a lot of her work, this mural was a product of community collaboration. It was sponsored by Kay-Bob’s Grill and Ale, and sits on the side of their building. If you watch the time-lapse video of the mural’s production (produced by Stacey Irvin), you’ll see how it was made, which is typical of Rudloff’s work. She drew a black-and-white outline of all the figures, and completed all of the parts of the the mural that required a boom lift. Then, community volunteers helped complete the lower part of the mural.

The plaque on the mural, which includes a QR code that leads you to the video, thanks the Hillsboro Village Art Walk, an art and music crawl that used to be a monthly event in Hillsboro Village. Presumably the community volunteers in the video were participants in the Art Walk. It would have been one of the last Hillsboro Art Walks. The mural went up in the summer of 2012, and the last Art Walk was in September of that year.

The mural is a jumble of imagery, but the road at the top leads to green hills in the distance. If you drive down 21st Ave from the mural, yes, you’ll get to the Green Hills neighborhood. But it’s south, not west, and the sun shouldn’t be rising or setting in that direction. Oh well, it’s art! The mural has received a little wear in eight years, but it’s still standing. Hopefully, it will be around for many more.

(Note, Rudloff does not link to her Instagram page on her website, so here it is.)

Located at 1602 21st Avenue South. The mural is on the north side of the building, facing Caper’s Avenue. This is Hillsboro Village, so lots of parking, but not much of it free.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑