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Signs

A door of many symbols (Joy’s Flowers)

Recently, Joy’s Flowers, a local florist with a history that goes back to 1877, moved from its long-time location on West End near Vanderbilt University to new digs on Gallatin, in a building that once held Wayne’s Unisex, a beauty salon. To liven up their stone facade, Floral Designer Lori Warren painted the five doors that punctuate that wall, notably the one above. It’s not just a pretty collection of plants and animals, but also a catalogue of sorts of a number of Tennessee state symbols. Naturally, the mural includes the two state flowers, the iris, the state’s cultivated flower (really a group of related flowers) and the state wildflower, the purple passionflower. An eastern box turtle, the state reptile is seen near the bottom, as well as the state amphibian, the Tennessee cave salamander. Along the border of the door, we find the state tree, the tulip poplar (a tree with many other names), in which sits a mockingbird, the state bird. Warren has also included a couple other species that are not state symbols but are found in Tennessee: the blue-tailed slink and the tiger lily (that name is used for a lot of different flowers, but I could not find one specific to Tennesee – however, there are orange and red lilies native to Tennesee, such as this one).

Joy's Door murals street art Nashville

The other doors are decorated more simply. Right to the left of the door above is an abstractly colored door with “East Nashville” emblazoned on the bottom, while the main entrance of the building there are hand painted letters spelling out “JOYS.” (Look close at that door, and you’ll see the mail slot still reads “Wayne’s Unisex.”) The remaining two doors have similar abstract coloring. In the slide show below, the doors go left to right, or west to east.

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Located at 400 Gallatin Avenue, between East Nashville Magnet High School and a Firestone. Parking is a little complex – it’s plausible to park in the little alley between Joy’s and the school. Also, you can park on Ordway Place across Gallatin.

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.

Arena Imprints

Arena mural street art Nashville

Located in Wedgewood-Houston, Arena Imprints provides – well can you guess from the mural? Like the saying goes, “exactly what it says on the tin.” Or in this case the mural. Arena is the place to go to order up screen printed apparel (and they do some other kinds of printing as well). A company that that does graphics production really ought to have a well-designed sign, particularly in Wedgewood-Houston, known for its art scene. This one was produced by Terrance Haynes of TerNan Art Production, a collaboration between Haynes and Nanella Henderson. And here we see another Nashville skyline featuring the Batman Building, a common motif in Nashville murals. We do love our Batman Building!

Located at 467 Chestnut Street. The mural is found on the north-east side of the building, facing a large parking lot. Parking available there and on the street-facing side of the building.

 

The Nations Wall – Part 6

Nations mural street art Nashville

This is the sixth in the series on The Nations Wall, a massive set of murals on the west-facing wall of Music City Tents and Events, organized by the Nashville Walls Project. It’s the sixth piece going from left to right (roughly north to south), and it’s by Audie Adams (who did the birds), Tess Erlenborn and Jon Buko (who collaborated on the letters). This is also the central mural in this gallery, and the one most often featured on social media and in articles about the mural scene in Nashville.

Images of the entire wall with all the murals together can be found in Part 1.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

Located at 5901 California Ave, Nashville, TN 37209. The murals actually face the 1300 and 1400 block of 60th Avenue North, across from the intersection with Pennsylvania Avenue. Street parking is possible nearby.

Able Restaurant Equipment

Able Restaurant Equipment on Nolensville is no more. While the building that once housed the business still hosts two versions of this sign, the store closed some months ago. As I’ve written before, vintage hand-lettered signs in Nashville like this one are under threat. Of course, a sign is always under threat if the business closes, but it’s also true that the rapid pace of development in Nashville increases the threat. There’s a small signature at the bottom crediting “Post Sign Co.” I have been able to find no evidence of a sign company by that name. It may have passed out of existence pre-internet, or just so long ago that all internet traces of it have disappeared. That much of the sign is in Spanish suggests the possibility that this was one of the earliest Hispanic-oriented businesses on Nashville, if the sign actually goes back to the ’80s. If it was done later, then perhaps Able was merely responding to its changing neighborhood. The sign above on the north side of the building is the better preserved of the two signs (the south-side sign is below). However, recently it was defaced with some very carefully hand-lettered and quite vulgar insults I won’t reprint here. If a future owner wishes to preserve the sign, the graffiti is on the white part and could be easily painted over.

Able sign street art Nashville

Located at 2601 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211. There is some parking available in the alley behind, and along Grandview Avenue one block west.

 

The Delgado calacas

In a small shop in the collection of galleries and other businesses at 919 Gallatin Ave is a business with a long history. Delgado Guitars had its start as a family business in 1923 in the city of Torreón, Coahuila, in north-central Mexico. Over the last century, the family and the business moved many places, eventually winding up in Nashville. And over those years Delgado Guitars has maintained both instrument making traditions and Mexican cultural traditions. Thus the very Mexican subject of calacas and calaveras found in the mural on their front door. Calacas are the skeletons, often in fancy dress, that are so important in Mexican art, particularly in representations of the Day of the Dead, while the calaveras are brightly painted skulls also common in Mexican art. They have a long history, as political satire, but also as a reflection of Mexico’s roots in Mayan, Aztec, and other Amerindian cultures. The artist who produced this work comes from another part of the world. Olasubomi Aka-Bashorun was born in Lagos, Nigeria and grew up in Oklahoma. He now has a gallery in The Arcade, the DBO Gallery. While the Delgado mural is a different theme from much of his work, its bright, strong colors are very much like his other paintings. This mural verges on hidden art. Not only is it impossible to see from the road, but also, since it’s on a door, you won’t see it when Delgado Guitars is open! So you’ll need to come twice, right? Certainly you will if you want to see both the guitars and the mural.

Calacas mural street art Nashville

Calavera mural street art Nashville

Located at 919 Gallatin Avenue. There is a fair amount of parking available at the venue.

 

Stratus skyline

Skyline mural street art Nashville

This lovely skyline with a bit of a watercolor vibe stretches the “public art” definition a little bit. It can be seen from Antioch Pike, but it’s definitely blink-or-you-miss-it. It’s found on the training center of the Nashville branch of Stratus Building Solutions, which bills itself as “leading the way in health and environmentally conscious commercial cleaning services.” It’s by Hannah Holgate, an artist who also is the Frame Shop manager at Jerry’s Artarama on Main Street (where she partnered with Marshall Hall to produce the mural on the facade of the art store, which I’ll post about later). She says it’s her first solo mural, which makes it a pretty good start! Hopefully, she will be doing more murals in the future.

Located at 2123 Antioch Pike. It’s located on a building behind the main building you see from the road, facing approximately north. There is parking here, but this is also a working business so you might want to ask politely before driving around to the back, particularly on a work day.

Nashville Spring Service

Spring Sign mural street art Nashville

Since 1943, Nashville Spring Service has been meeting all your vehicle and trailer spring needs, including, like the sign says, products from Monroe Shocks and Struts. They also provide a lot of other services, like cabinets and shelving. For most of those years, they’ve been in a red-brick building with the official address of 621 Eight Avenue South, but which lies on the corner of 9th Avenue South and “Litte” Division Street (Just one block north of Eight and Division there is a block-long stretch of road also called Division Street.) They have moved, however, to 216 Omohundro Place, an industrial area more in keeping with their work, unlike the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood they leave behind. The old building is for sale. That puts this sign in danger. This type of sign used to be common in Nashville, and you can still find a few of them around, but by and large, they disappear when the business does (or when the building is torn down.) Some new businesses save the old signs, but that’s rare.  So as this blog is meant in part as an archive, I want to document it while it still exists. I found a picture on Google Maps of a three-dimensional sign that used to be here as well (see below) but I don’t believe it made the move to Omohundro. Keep an eye out for these fossils. They are disappearing.

Spring sign street art Nashville
Photo credit: Kenny Holloway

Located, officially, at 621 Eight Avenue South. It actually faces Ninth, at the corner with “Little” Division Street. Around that corner is some of the only free street parking left in downtown Nashville. Grab it while you still can.

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!

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