One of the most prolific mural artists in town is Bryan Deese. For some time, he has been maintaining a wall at the Stop-N-Shop on 51st Avenue, putting up a series of murals, primarily ones promoting concerts. By definition, they are temporary. Back in March, Deese put up a new mural on the wall that may turn out to be a little more permanent, not the least because not many bands have concerts to promote these days. It is of course of Dolly Parton, and it is sponsored by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It seems to have been based on a 1977 promotional photo, seen here on her song-list page on Wikipedia. Parton frequently uses flower motifs and is often seen with one in her hair, which may have inspired the halo of flowers. It’s a popular mural, and I’ve seen it many places on social media. Hopefully, it has some staying power.
Located at 5100 Indiana Avenue, at the corner with 51st Avenue North. The mural faces east towards 51st. Street parking and parking at the Stop-N-Shop are readily available.
This one is obviously temporary, as it is painted on boards covering a window blown out by the March 3rd tornado. Of course, my last post was about another mural on Jerry’s Artarama, but I feel this one is timely, and as construction is already getting started next door and a large disposal unit you see at construction sites has appeared just to the side of this mural, I thought it important to document it now. I also try really hard to credit artists, but this one is unsigned, and I suspect it is anonymous for a reason.
The happy-style letters belie the seriousness of the topic at hand. In my main work, I am a history professor, not an art blogger. I do not know why this particular incident has generated the enormous energy and the wave of protests that it has, while others like it before did not. My future colleagues will spend a lot of time sorting that out. Some reasons seem obvious, but one thing you learn in history, the obvious answers aren’t always right, or they may not be as important as they look. What history-minded people like me can do is document everything, so the full story can eventually be told. Already, the Smithsonian is collecting signs plastered to the fence around the White House so they will be available to researchers and the public in the future.
Located at 713 Main Street. For now, the parking lot in front of Jerry’s Artarama is available, but once this becomes a construction site, that’s unlikely. The nearest street parking is towards downtown on Seventh Street North.
The best view of the We Are Nashville installation at 916 Main Street is where the Holleman Transmission building used to stand. It was taken down by bulldozers, in preparation for new development. But the photographic mural features the staff of the local fashion line Molly Green, whose Main Street branch once stood next door to Holleman, and which was almost completely destroyed by the March 3 tornado. We Are Nashville is an anonymous collaborative that for the last two years has been documenting who Nashville is today. They have begun to put up wheat-paste installations of the resulting photographs, with QR codes that lead to their website where you can learn the stories behind the images. The start of their campaign to present these photos and stories to the city coincided with the tornado and its aftermath, so it makes sense that some of the early installations are about the people and stories of the storm.
In the center and the far left, we see the people of Molly Green, standing in the ruins of their Main Street store.
If you were to stand where the photographer stood now, you would see the mural to your direct right, as the Molly Green building has been leveled.
The left side of the mural includes a closeup portrait of Molly Green staffer Heather Johns, but it’s mostly is a portrait of ten-year-old London outside her great-grandfather’s home, David Young Sr. Parts of the home date back to 1870, and if you click on the Donelson story above you’ll see it was more damaged than it appears in this photo.
A little ways away, about where I stood when I took the photo at the bottom of this post, there are three smaller portraits of Molly Green staffers. They are on the backside of Attaboy. The only deaths recorded in Davidson County from the March 3 storm were of two people who left Attaboy just as the tornado was approaching.
These are obviously all temporary. Wheat-paste murals don’t tend to have a long shelf life. Like the recent also temporary installation at Jerry’s Artarama a few blocks away, they both memorialize the damage suffered from the storm as well as highlight the strength of Nashville as a community. There is something else about them that speaks to the temporary nature of all art. Just below the four portraits above stands the only remaining fragment of the largest work of art destroyed by the March 3 storm, the wrap-around mural by Eastside Murals that once covered all of Molly Green.
The smashed wall was boarded up, with only scraps of the original mural surviving. Recently, two local artists, Herb Williams and Andee Rudloff, have turned some of that drab plywood into colorful art. Williams did the stylized Tennesee flag, with birds and butterflies circling the stars in the middle, while Rudloff did the colorful array of Picasso-style faces. Look close and you can see three remnants of the original mural in surviving brick columns. The two bordering the flag are a little hard to see as they fit in with the color scheme of the new murals, but the blue and white strip at the far right, which is all that’s left of an image of paint tubes, is more easily discerned. Piled in front of the flag is much of the rest of the remnants of the old mural. Below, you can see how the new ones fit in with the whole facade, and you can see more clearly the extent of the destruction and what’s left of the previous mural. Obviously, this is temporary, but then, isn’t all art, ultimately? When the building is restored and new art goes up, you’ll find it here.
Located at 713 Main Street. For now, the parking lot is open. That may change when reconstruction starts, but there is parking at nearby businesses.
The little building on 8th Avenue South that once housed Edison Vacuum Company and has apparently recently become the home of XGTEES has long been a target for taggers. Graffiti tags would go up, and the owner would paint them over. Graffiti tags would go up again, and the owner would paint over them again. Rinse, cycle, repeat. Taggers are generally respectful of murals, though not always, so maybe this new piece by Eastside Murals will tamp down on that cycle a little. It is however probably a temporary mural, as it advertises an exhibit at the nearby Adventure Science Center, Soundbox. The interactive exhibit looks like a lot of fun, giving visitors the opportunity to play with all kinds of sound technology. And it’s the Science Center’s first new permanent exhibit in many years, so perhaps this mural will have some staying power. Also, don’t confuse Adventure Science Center’s Soundbox with Metro’s mobile park installation of the same name, which also looks like a lot of fun. It’s not surprising Adventure Science Center asked Eastside Murals to do this mural, as Eastside has done work for them before.
Located at 862 Eighth Avenue South. Street parking is available, and there is parking at the rear of the building. The mural is on the north side of the building facing downtown.
I don’t often do very new work, but as this is a paper image in an outdoor setting, and is by nature ephemeral, so I want to post about it now before it’s gone. It’s a Brian Wooden piece and fits in a style we’ve already seen in works like the one I featured in Striding. Based on his Instagram feed, it’s a fairly new piece (that link is dated August 20) and there are others like it. You can even get a holographic sticker with the same design. If you want your selfie with this one, go soon. The paper is already peeling a bit.
Located on the 800 block of 12th Avenue North. There are railroad tracks behind Marathon Village. This installation in on the south side of the I-40 bridge over those tracks, facing Marathon Village. There is gravel lot right next to this installation.
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):
Located at 1309 McGavock Pike, on the side of Relax and Wrap Barber and Style (well, that’s what the sign says – on the internet, it’s known and Relaxing Wraps Barber and Style.) There’s plenty of parking here and across the street, though often full with partons of the Village Pub and Garden. Baily and Cato, sadly, has closed. Get a cut, grab some grub, and enjoy the art!
I’m normally a little wary about featuring concert ad murals. They get painted over quick. But this one is for a show back in March, it’s still there, the building seems only part occupied, and it’s a very nice mural, so who knows how long it will last? Still, we have to call this temporary art. BJ The Chicago Kid, Xavier Omär, and Kamau gave a rockin’ show on March 20th – or so I imagine! The artist is Bryan Deese, who has done a number of murals around town. He signs this piece with his website address, but that leads to a blog not updated since 2014. Try his Instagram account for more up to date information about his work. And if you go visit this one and it’s gone, you can still see a Bryan Deese mural across the street.
UPDATE: This mural has been painted over.
Located at 2622 Jefferson Street. The mural is on the west side of the building. There is plenty of parking at 2622 and nearby businesses. If the church on the west side is out of session, there is lots of parking there.