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

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12 South Edition – NLGOY

In the selfie wars of Nashville, the Gulch Wings may be King, but the “nashville looks good on you series” is certainly a contender. Of course, I recently got a shot of the one on a small building behind Frothy Monkey’s 12 South outpost easily only because the crowds are gone, so chalk this up as another pandemic shot. There’s also one on the Anderson Group Real Estate building on 21st South (which I haven’t put on the blog yet) and my favorite, the big one on Nolensville Pike. They’re all done by the artist who bills himself online as NASH.TN Note the small white block next to the word “good.” It’s a notice asking people to please not take down the banner. In the immediate aftermath of the March 2nd tornadoes, banners reading “volunteering” were placed over the word “nashville” on all three murals, making them read “volunteering looks good on you.” Here it is on the one on Nolensville Pike. Tornadoes,  pandemic, what’s next? Another flood? Nashville needs a break.

There is also a Legos Man by for Becks on the back side of the building and a couple of other small pieces by Raddington Falls. One of them may be responsible for the unsigned stencils on the north side of the small building.

Located at 2509 12th Avenue South. The mural is on a small building in Frothy Monkey’s back yard, which can also be reached by a small alley behind Frothy Monkey that runs between Beechwood and Sweetbriar Avenues. That’s where you’ll find the Legos Man. There is street parking, particularly if you are willing to walk a bit, and a fair amount of paid parking in the immediate blocks.

The Flipside

Things are quiet in the 12 South neighborhood these days, as they are in all of Nashville’s tourism zones. So perhaps it’s a better time for locals to check out the art. This piece lies on the side of The Flipside, a restaurant who’s social media doesn’t seem to acknowledge the pandemic at all. This fun piece is by Gage Lozano, an artist and graphic designer who signs his work N.Gaged. It’s been up for about a year-and-a-half, so by now, many tourists have had the opportunity to stand under those headphones and get their picture taken. Kristin Luna has written recently about how many business owners want “interactive” murals for their buildings, specifically wings, like the famous ones in The Gulch by Kelsey Montague. As she says, all murals are interactive, and even if you want something specifically designed for interaction, it doesn’t have to be wings. For example, it could be headphones, like these, or the ones by Ty Christian at The Listening Room Cafe. It’s a good point. I think intentionally interactive murals are great, but artists need to be allowed the freedom to explore new ideas. This one by Lozano, of course, does a lot more, the flowers making them headphones seem more organic than technological.

The mural is in a tight alley, which explains the weird cropping. Apparently, there was a Predators mural here before Lozano’s went it.

Flipside headphone mural Nashville street art

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There’s also a fun sign on the back of the building, which I couldn’t nail down an artist for, but I know it’s over five years old!

Flipside bike mural Nashville street art

Located at 2403 12th Avenue South. The mural is on the south side of the building, and if you continue down that alley you’ll find the bike sign. There is free street parking if you are willing to walk a ways, and a few pay lots nearby.

Looking Pretty

This particular wall at the corner of Dallas and 12th in the 12 South district has seen a series of murals that Eastside Murals has played a role in. The mural promoting the American Heart Association’s “Nashville at Heart” campaign that I featured in Last year’s heartthrob was their work, as was the mural that followed – which I never blogged about. Oops – search for “#peacelovegooddeeds” on Instagram – you’ll find lots of pictures of it. This one they helped on, but it isn’t their design. The designer and main artist is Austin artist Emily Eisenhart. That it’s her design is pretty obvious from a quick look at her Instagram page. You’ll note the main theme seems to be people wearing blue pants. The mural sits on the side of a building currently occupied by one of the Nashville branches of Madewell, a clothing store that specializes in denim. Eisenhart also did a mural for Madewell in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn, in the same signature style. The Nashville mural also had a community component. Students from Pearl-Cohn, an entertainment magnet school, came out one day last March when the mural went in and helped paint it. This is probably why under the word “Madewell,” it reads “Created in support of music and art programs in Metro Nashville’s public schools.” On Eisenhart’s Instagram page, you can find several posts about the production of this mural.

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Located at 2709 12th Avenue South. The mural faces south, towards Dallas Avenue. There is paid parking nearby, and street parking if you are willing to walk a bit. It’s fairly easy right now, but it will be harder when the pandemic ends and the tourists come back.

Music Kitty

While Lower Broad is the honky-tonk heart of Nashville’s tourism industry, its hipper cousin is 12 South. It’s a district you find a lot more actual Nashvillians in, as it runs right through a residential neighborhood and has a lot of restaurants and bars popular with locals. So it’s a little less of a ghost town right now, but the lack of traffic again makes it easier to photograph murals, like this one promoting the Nashville Zoo. It was designed by Kate Johns, the Multimedia Designer at the Zoo, and produced by Stephan Sloan, who signs his work Never Xtinct. (Johns is credited on the mural as Kate Sarber, but having recently married, she changed her name. Mazel tov!) Sloan has a number of pictures featuring his progress in making this mural on his Instagram account – here’s the first and the last.

While it doesn’t directly reference them, the mural design is in part inspired by the zoo’s opening of a Sumatran tiger exhibit last Spring. Also known as Sunda tigers, they are seriously endangered.

Music Kitty mural Nashville street art

The Nashville Zoo is, of course, closed at the moment, but is worth your support when it opens. More properly called the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, it has an interesting past, originating as a plantation, later becoming a private wildlife park, before finally becoming a public zoo and wildlife park. It may be the only zoo that includes a plantation home you can visit. Until then, get your tiger fix at the mural on 12th Avenue South.

UPDATE: I missed it at the time, but this was the 600th post on this blog.

Located at 2315 12th Avenue South, on the north side of Trim. The mural faces towards downtown. As it is right in front of a parking lot, you might want to try visiting in the early morning, particularly once the pandemic passes.

Rivive on 12 South

On this blog, I’ve neglected somewhat the 12 South neighborhood. (And yes, my Nashville memories go back to when it was just 12th Avenue South.) It’s one of the most important tourist destinations in Nashville, which means it has a lot of murals and it’s also a hard place to get clean pictures of murals, with all the people and cars. And parking? Uff. But I really should have posted about this one sooner, because it’s one of the better murals in Nashville. It’s not flashy, with a muted palette, but it also looks like nothing else in town. It’s by a prolific local artist I’ve featured many times, Eric Bass, aka Mobe Oner (the name he signs most of his work with, including this). The fox is just beautiful (see the close up in the second slideshow below). Look at the tall tree on the far right. In the summer, and especially in late fall, it will blend with the live trees behind it. This mural also has something of a twin as well, because it’s sponsored by Rivive, a non-profit that looks to raise awareness about and improve river resources in the Nashville area. They also sponsored a mural downtown by Beau Stanton. Both murals are meant to make viewers think about river conservation and about the forces that impinge on rivers. Mobe Oner’s mural is more explicit than the one by Stanton. Here we see not only what the Cumberland River has to offer but also what threatens it. The Cumberland slices through downtown and is the reason Nashville exists. The wildlife depicted absolutely can be found on its shores, very close to downtown, notably in Shelby Bottoms Park. People really do kayak right downtown, and there are boat ramps on the east bank in Cumberland Park. But obviously, the city, with all its industry and people, makes life tough for the river as well. There’s a giant riverside metal recycling plant right downtown, PSC Metals, of which there has long been a discussion about moving it somewhere else, but as yet to no avail. And in the mural, you can see two icons of Nashville – the Batman Building, and construction cranes. The pressures on the river are real, and sometimes it fights back, but it’s certainly a critical Nashville resource, and the more it can be protected, the better.

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Located at 2814 12th Avenue South. Despite the sign, Iyengar Yoga, now called Chestnut Hill Yoga, is no longer in the building. The mural is on the south side of the building, facing Paris Avenue, on which there is street parking. The reality is parking is hard in this neighborhood, given all the tourists. Be kind to the people who actually live here in making your parking choices.

Last year’s heartthrob

HeartMural.jpg

There’s a new mural in the 12 South neighborhood that’s been cropping up a lot on social media lately. People stand in line to get their picture taken in front of it. This is not it. But this is the place. When I do a Google image search for “Nashville mural,” this mural pops up first. Now, you might get something different, but it’s still likely to come up high on the list because for a long time, this Eastside Murals piece promoting the American Heart Association’sNashville at Heart” campaign featured in a whole lot of Instagram photos. Today, May 31, 2018, there is a marker on Google Maps for the “Nashville at Heart Mural.” Not too many murals get that level of recognition. But one day you’re at the top of the charts, and the next week you can’t get a gig at the Holiday Inn. Now “Nashville at Heart” has been replaced with an even jazzier mural. Do a search for #PeaceLoveGoodDeeds – you’ll find it. I suppose I’ll put it on this blog someday if I can get myself out of bed early enough to be there at dawn before the lines form. That’s how I got the picture above.

Located (formerly) at 2707 12th Avenue South, at the corner with Dallas Avenue, on the south wall of the Corner Music building.  This is 12 South – parking isn’t easy, though if you are willing to walk a block or two, there’s free parking on some side streets. You might want to ride share over. While this piece is gone, the surrounding neighborhood has lots of interesting art. Many will have lines – Just a few gents is unlikely to have one. Be original.

A window on Nashville

DuffNashville12S

The 12 South neighborhood hosts a lot of art. It’s one of the denser neighborhoods for outdoor art in Nashville. And among its collection is this piece by one of our town’s most prolific muralists, Troy Duff. (Who I need to create a category for.) Duff frequently uses graffiti tropes in his work, and this is no exception, with a shout out to 12 South pride in a graffiti font. Doing the Nashville skyline is easy. People may not remember what the rest of the skyline looks like, but put the Batman Building in there, and everyone knows what town you are talking about! The window in the middle changes up the skyline, reflecting buildings from across the street. The building choice is interesting. It’s the site of 4Patriots, a company that provides long-term storage food for preppers. By long-term storage, I mean food meant to last 25 years. Hey, it’s good to be prepared, right?

Located at 1201 Elmwood Avenue. The mural faces east and is visible from 12th Avenue South, on the 2300 block. The parking lot in front of it is for the 12S branch of Taqueria del Sol and Trim. There is free parking on some of the side streets, and even a few spaces on the north end of the 12 South district. There are also paid lots in the district. Make it part of your 12 South crawl and enjoy the art!

Just a few gents

12SouthTaproom

There’s a lot of outdoor art in the 12 South neighborhood. One of the most photographed murals in Nashville has to be the “I Believe in Nashville” mural found on the north wall of 12 South Dental Studio and sadly subject to multiple acts of vandalism. Just up the road is a very different mural which I think is at least as worthy of a few selfies or portraits, though it’s easy to miss. Tucked away in a semi-hidden driveway that wraps around the north side of 12 South Taproom and Grill one finds these three dapper gentlemen, who oddly given the location don’t seem to be enjoying a cold beer. They are the work of Jared Freihoefer, a Nashville artist who seems to specialize in black and white portraits that use the kind of shading technique seen here. Put on something snazzy and take your next selfie with these gents!

Located at 2318 12th Avenue South. The mural is on the north side of the building, facing a driveway that leads to parking behind 12 South Taproom. Parking in this area is tricky. There is free street parking on the side streets, though it’s often crowded (and a few spaces at the north end of the district on 12th). There are also a couple of pay lots, and of course, many businesses have their own parking. Make it part of your 12 South crawl!

The revolution will not be streamed on Facebook

Music mural street art Nashville

Some murals are prime selfie bait. Probably the best-known ones in Nashville are the “I Believe in Nashville” murals (various locations) and the wings in the Gulch. This one may not reach that level, but its size, message, and location (12 South, at Epice) seem designed for portraits. Indeed, when I went to photograph it and the mural across the alley from it, I had to wait for a photo shoot in progress to wrap up. The mural is signed @RelaxMaxApparel. Relax Max Apparel is a clothing line created by Allan Geiger, a Nashville-based artist. The design of the mural also shows up on some of his clothes. Given that Relax Max is Geiger’s “one man show” (see the article above), he presumably made the mural. The model in the photo shoot might have been one of Relax Max’s models, but this is Nashville, so she might also have been someone shooting pictures for the cover of her next EP. Or both – again, this is Nashville.

Located at 2902 12th Avenue South, on the north facing wall of Epice. This is 12 South, so park as best you can. The smell from Epice was powerful when I shot this. If you have never tried Epice (and why not?) make a reservation right now, and get your selfie after you fill up on wonderful Lebanese food.

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