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I believe in Basement East

I believe Nashville mural street art

Perhaps the most famous mural in Nashville, the most famous piece of art, period, is not one but multiple. It’s three, or four or even more, depending on what you decide to count. There are two completely official “I Believe in Nashville” murals, one in 12 South and one in Marathon Village (neither of which is on this blog yet). I say “completely official,” because those are the ones you find on IBelieveInNasvhille.com, the I Believe in Nashville Facebook page, and on the I Believe in Nashville Instagram page. There is also one on Shelby Street done by a local homeowner and not the original artist, Adrien Saporiti of DCXV Industries. There are takeoffs like the I Believe in Petsville mural by Leah Boorse, and an I Believe in Smashville mural by Saporiti himself. This one, on the west wall of The Basement East, is not signed by Saporiti, nor does it appear on any of his websites or social media, but it does sport the IBelieveInNashville.com website and Instagram page addresses, so I’ll call it semi-official. I didn’t see it scrolling through several pages of the #ibelieveinNashville hashtag on Instagram, though interestingly, one that does is the wings mural by Kelsey Montague, featured in Sometimes you have to be obvious and easily the biggest rival for Internet fame to the I Believe in Nashville series. I think that’s odd because the Basement East version is the best one for taking an actual selfie because it’s up high, and thus you can angle your phone and get a decent shot. The wall it’s on features a rotating series of concert murals and one other “permanent” mural of a skeleton. This mural, by the way, will be the 500th pin on the blog’s map. It’s not the 500th blog post – that honor went to 500 Pink Elephants back in July. Early in the blog, I was in the habit of using only one pin where there were multiple works of art, thus the discrepancy, but now I don’t do that and pin every piece. Note that not all of the pins on that map are for art that still exists – check the relevant blog post before making a special trip – but it does give you a good idea of where to find outdoor art in Nashville.

Located at 917 Woodland Street. The mural is on the west wall, facing downtown towards the river. Parking is complicated in this area, given the many businesses and that Basement East is a concert venue. There is street parking on the nearby side streets, 9th Street and McFerrin Avenue.

Flowers of Ma’Kai

MaKai Mural Nashville street art

One muralist who has been popping on this blog a lot recently is Tara Marie Aversa (who also uses the name Tarabella Aversa on Instagram.) And why not? She’s been very productive of late. Back in July, she painted this mural for Cafe Ma’Kai on Wedgewood. Ma’Kai is Hawaiian for “towards the ocean,” so the classic surfer’s wave and the collection of tropical flowers make sense, partirulay since so much of Aversa’s work features a lot of flowers. Interestingly, if you peruse Ma’Kai’s Instagram page, you’ll see they’ve been taking photos of food and customers in front of this wall long before they got a mural. Now they have a more colorful background to work with. It’s also another example of Aversa successfully working with a difficult canvas. Here it was very rough stone, and in Living Waters, it was a corrugated metal wall. On her Instagram, you can also see a couple of production shots.

Located at 1210 Wedgwood Avenue, just west of 12th Avenue South. There is a small parking lot at this shopping center, and there is street parking on Wade Avenue just to the north. The mural faces Wedgewood, on the south side of the building.

Welcome to Goodlettsville

The artist Kristy Oakley has developed something of a series of community murals, all with large block letters featuring local landmarks. There is one for Donelson, one for East Nashville, and very recently, one for Goodlettsville. And very recently – the dedication for this one is scheduled for November 4th. It was sponsored by the Goodlettsville Chamber of Commerce and lies on the south wall of Perk Up Cafe & Gifts. It includes landmarks like the Connor Memorial United Methodist Church, the Bowen Plantation House, the Old Stone Bridge, the old Bank of Goodlettsville building (now occupied by Artists on Main), Moss Wright Park, the old Goodlettsville High School, and Goodlettsville City Hall. And there’s more! Oakley also did some work on the front of the building  (see slideshow below) and the back. The back two panels were done first for the owners of Perk Up, who wanted to cover some plain wood panels. (I’m not sure who did the signs on the front.) Tim Ellis, Goodletesville’s City Manager, has a picture on his Twitter page of the mural as it was about three-fourths finished (where you can see that Oakley worked from the bottom up and right to left). He also calls this “Mural number 1”, implying the Chamber has more murals planned. I’ll certainly be looking for them.

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Located at 136 South Main Street (Dickerson Pike) in Goodlettsville. There is parking at Perk Up and it’s plausible to park on East Avenue (which faces the mural) for a short period of time. Perk Up is closed on Sundays and after 3 or 4 the rest of the week – when it’s open, someone is likely to be parked in front of the main mural.

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!

La Rosa’s birds

While Charlotte Pike is bustling, it remains the mix of old Nashville and immigrant Nashville that it’s been for many years. Full-scale gentrification is hitting north and south of the corridor, particularly in The Nations, but Charlotte retains a lot of its older character. Meaning there’s a lot of local businesses and thus a lot of opportunities for outdoor art. It has the potential to be as prolific as lower Gallatin, but it’s not quite there yet. One artist doing his part is JamersonSGC, who frequently tags his pieces “Low Key Art” (though not this piece). Here his style is more loose and cartoony than the majestic work in Day Dreamin, which is perhaps appropriate for La Rosa Cafe, a night club and hookah bar that also serves up wings and pizza. There used to also be a frightened chicken on the front wall (which may be by someone else), but it has since been painted over (See below).

Located at 6317 Charlotte Pike.  There is plenty of parking here.

Obie’s no more?

Pizza Mural street art Nashvillle

Of late, Nashville’s “Rock Block,” located along Elliston Place, has been under threat. First, Gold Rush closed. More recently, there was a controversial move to rezone the lots at Elliston Place and Lousie Avenue, currently the site of three small buildings collectively known as the Louise Douglas apartments, to allow a 15-story hotel to be built on the spot. Such a building would tower over longtime music venues The End and Exit/In and radically alter the character of the neighborhood, not to mention eliminate some of the only reasonably affordable housing left in Midtown. After much public outcry, the rezoning measure was withdrawn, though the long-term future of the area remains uncertain. One troubling feature is the apparent closure of Obie’s Pizza, which lies in front of The End and just east of the apartments. It hasn’t been open in a couple of months or so. There is a sign on the door that says they will reopen soon, but the number at that link I gave for them has been disconnected, and there’s no sign of activity. So their mural, made for them by Tyler Z. Key, in all likelihood will disappear sooner than later. Call it endangered art. The mural has been edited at least once. On Key’s Instagram page, you can see that the mural once had a large signature at the bottom reading “TiiKii Art.” If you look close, you can see where it’s been painted over next to the blue hand. Key apparently decided to go with a more subdued signature, reading “TZ Key.” Either way, check it out soon while you still can.

Located at 2217 Elliston Place. The mural is on the west side of the building. There’s some free street parking in the area, but not a lot. You can probably get away with parking in the lot in front of the mural for a short time if you just want to grab a picture.

Topgolf

Top Golf mural street art Nashville

The Topgolf complex off Jefferson Street on the banks of the Cumberland is an enormous entertainment complex. It is only appropriate then that it has an enormous work of art, courtesy of Nathan Brown. I have referred to the style above in the past as Brown’s “colorful geometry problem” style, but I now know he calls it his “geometric gradient style.” This one is more organic than others in this style, such as the one featured in Rainbow pizza, looking strongly like some kind of flower or tree. It sits on a 35×20 ft wall that’s part of The Cowan, Topgolf Nashville’s live performance venue. Note that Topgolf is a national chain. I’ve stated many times that national chains don’t do outdoor art, as it clashes with their branding. But more and more, art is part of the cost of doing business in Nashville. Brown apparently had complete freedom to create his own design. On his website, you can watch a video about its creation and see a number of other photos, including some that were taken from a higher vantage point. Notice the two electric scooters on the side? I had to move about five scooters out of the way that were parked in front of the mural before I photographed it.

Located at 500 Cowan Street, near where Jefferson Street intersects with I-24. The mural is on the northeast side of the building, facing the parking lot. Topgolf has an enormous parking lot, but you may have difficulties parking there at peak hours.

King Solomon Gyros

Solomon Gyros sign mural street art Nashville

If you’ve ever driven down lower Gallatin, you’ve seen the sign. You may even have picked up a meal or twenty there. I usually get the combo plate, but this Scene article makes me think I’ll get the gyro sandwich next time I drop by King Solomon Gyros. Sadly, I do not know who made this sign. The business has exchanged hands in the last several months, and the current owners don’t know who the sign maker was. There’s also some reason to be concerned about the future of this business, as recently this property and the old church next door were bought by James Higgins and Richard Piliponis for $1.02 million. One would hope they don’t mess with a very successful take-out place. The two men, who also own Noble’s Kitchen & Beer Hall right down the street (site of the mural featured in A noble brew), seem to be planning on turning the former New Destiny Christian Fellowship into a pub named Eastwood Assembly. Some of the nearby neighbors have read the word “pub” to mean “bar” and have voiced opposition. The Nashville Post article previously linked also notes that the church building has structural issues that have put plans on hold for now. Again, one would hope Higgins and Piliponis have no plans for King Solomon’s besides collecting a reasonable rent.

UPDATE: The sign was produced by David Wright of Manecoon Sign Company.

Located at 716 Gallatin Ave, at the corner with Chicamgua Avenue, across from Kroger. Solomon has parking, and street parking is available, but really you should admire the mural as you pass through the drive-through!

Living Waters

Living Waters mural street art Nashville

About a month and a half ago, a new brewhouse and coffee shop opened on Trinity Lane, Living Waters Brewing. (Not “Brewery” as I originally typed. Think about it – both coffee and beer are brewed, so “Brewing” is a better name.) But several months before it opened, back in January, Living Waters acquired this mural, courtesy of Tara Marie Aversa (who now uses the name Tarabella Aversa on Instagram.) You can tell it was a cold month from a production shot she posted to her IG account. The design is Living Waters’ logo, a stylized wave, which is why it doesn’t have Aversa’s usual plethora of flowers. I also have to note Living Waters’ IG post about this mural that credits Aversa. Too often businesses do not credit the artists who do this kind of work, and Living Waters went further and noted the difficulty of the canvas – painting a circle on a ridged surface was no doubt a bit of a challenge. This building also contains CrossFit Rising Sun, which has a sign/mural by Folek Kelof.

Located at 1056 East Trinity Lane. The mural above is on the north side of the building, facing Trinity. The Rising Sun mural is on the east side. There is plenty of parking at this site.

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