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Losers and the Pandemic

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a mural for the downtown branch of  Loser’s Bar and Grill done by Manuel Fuentes. That mural, on the south side of the building, was a great example of the murals in town specifically designed for people to stand in front and get their picture taken. I wrote about it at the beginning of the shutdown and commented on the irony of it not really being used at the time. Here we are about three months later, and the lockdown has eased, even as cases are rising. There are restrictions on venues like Losers, and their downtown branch remains closed. From their Facebook page, it appears their Midtown branch is open on reduced capacity and is featuring live music. Interestingly, they advertise that both locations have new UV-light systems in their airflow systems to reduce contaminants. Welcome to the emerging new normal. To their credit, they aren’t one of the places cited for violating the current pandemic rules. Someday, this will all be over.

Located at 111 Fourth Avenue South. The mural is on the north side of the building, at the far end of the parking lot if you are coming from 4th. It faces towards Broadway. This is downtown – lots of parking, almost none of it free.

 

Out into the open

The March 3 tornado that tore through Nashville did a lot of damage to art on the east side. But temporarily at least, it has brought one work out into the open. The building that housed the Nashville Urban Winery was heavily damaged in the storm, and recently it has been demolished. When the winery was intact, it had a large covered patio at the front. From the street, this mural by Bryan Deese was visible inside the patio, but it was also shrouded, and usually had lots of tables in front of it. I debated putting it on the blog, but each time I thought about it I wound up going with something else. Then suddenly it was fully in the light. It survived the destruction of the building because it sits on a wall shared with Jerry’s Artarama, currently closed due to tornado damage.

The mural’s themes make sense for a Nashville winery, evoking the great wine nations of France and Italy. The trellis shape is the base of the Eiffel Tower. It frames a row of vines from a vineyard, the facade of Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Roman Colosseum. In the center of course is Nashville’s own Eiffel Tower, the Batman Building.

Urban Winery mural Nashville street art
The Nashville Urban Winery mural when the building was intact.

Soon, the cleared lot this mural looks out on will become a construction site. For that matter, the building it sits on is in need of serious repair. So the fate of this mural is highly uncertain. Let’s call it endangered art. I should note it’s also currently inside an area sealed off by a locked fence, but there is a gap between the building and the fence, right at the edge of the mural. You didn’t hear that from me.

Located at 715 Main Street, an address that currently has no building. More accurately, it’s on the east side of 713 Main, the Jerry’s Artarama building. For now, you can park in Jerry’s Artarama’s parking lot.

All aboard the B1281 camper!

Some months ago I wrote about a mural on the back of the then not-yet-open Bar 1281, a “pop-up” backyard bar with Hawaiian and Japanese style food. It’s part of a larger development developed by Bento Box that’s largely finished. Of course, like most bars, Bar 1281 is currently closed, but they also have another mural, this one visible from the street. It appeared last June and was created by Wooden Wave, the Hawaiian-based husband and wife team of Matthew and Roxanne Ortiz. Given the Hawaiian theme of the bar and its Hawaiian roots, it makes sense that the artists are from Hawaii. Scroll through their Instagram page and you’ll soon see that camper vans and treehouses are themes they use a lot. I actually first photographed this last October but wasn’t happy with my pictures. One thing that has changed since then is the appearance of a metal Bigfoot, with a small headstone behind it that reads “Roo Nov 1977 – Mar 31, 1991.” I have found no explanation, but rest in peace, Roo.

B1281 mural Nashville Street art

Bigfoot sculpture Nashville street art

Located at 1281 Third Avenue South. There is some limited street parking on Third.

Hold Nothing Back

The north wall of what is now Bowie’s (and before that, Piranha’s), seems to be developing as a goto spot for murals sponsored by international brands. About three years ago, Stella Artois commissioned Eastside Murals to do a promotional piece I featured in Drink responsibly!. Last September, it was Audi’s turn. They commissioned No King’s Collective, aka Brandon Hill and Peter Chang, two Washington, D.C. artists, to use their bright, colorful style to promote the Audi Q3. That link is about the 2020 model, while the mural features the 2019. (If you’re reading this in 2021 or later, no guarantee on the link.) Hill and Chang not only painted the mural, but they also painted one of the cars, in a pattern very similar to the mural itself. The phrase “Hold nothing back” shows up a lot in Audi’s marketing campaigns.

The Audi mural is part of what seems to be a growing phenomenon – corporate firms promoting mural campaigns across the country. Just recently I featured one sponsored by Pandora that produced a mural in Germantown. All this is great – it certainly gets work for artists, possibly at somewhat higher rates than some local businesses can afford. And I think it’s good that this sometimes brings in out-of-town artists, but within limits. For the most part, I think these firms should reach out to local artists first. We need the mix, but we also need to keep our own community going.

This is something of a pandemic post. It’s not often a downtown parking lot right off 3rd Avenue is clear! I shot the mural a little off-center because there is a pole in the middle of the lot blocking a direct shot.

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Located at 174 Third Avenue North. The mural faces north, away from Lower Broad. This is downtown, so lots of parking, almost none of it free, notably not the lot the mural faces.

Loser’s Postcard

Losers Postcard mural Nashville street art

As I’ve noted before, there’s a growing trend of murals designed to entice people (tourists mainly) to stand in front of them and get their portrait made. Not just because the mural is pretty, but because it’s designed in a particular way that it’s only really complete if someone is standing in front of it. The peacock at Chauhan’s is a great example, and the wings in the Gulch are the best known. A recent entry is this one, by Manuel Fuentes, is one of two murals he’s done for Loser’s Bar and Grill (look for the other one on the blog soon), just off Lower Broad, on Fourth. If you stand right under the “Greetings From Nashville Tennesee” the mural is complete. And you’ll always have Loser’s address, just in case. Sadly, as I write this, the bars and honkytonks have been shut down as part of the fight against COVID-19. Times are rough for the entertainment industry that draws all those tourists to Nashville. I’d note that visitor stats for this blog have cratered. I know from Google Analytics that half of my readership is women aged 18-35, the prime bachelorette demographic, and they ain’t coming to Nashville anymore. At least this is a hobby, not my living.

Based on his Instagram page, Fuentes has other murals, mostly in White House, TN. Whenever I get around to expanding the reach of this blog to surrounding counties, I’ll definitely feature them. This article also indicates that he has others in the works or already up in Davidson County, and I’ll definitely go looking for them. Maybe by the time I get them on the blog, the tourists will be back. Stay safe everyone.

Located at 111 Fourth Avenue South. The mural is on the south side of the building, facing towards the Hilton Nashville Downtown. This is downtown – lots of parking, almost none of it free.

The Cobra (Part 2)

Cobra Bar Mural street art Nashville

Sometimes I report on new art, sometimes not. While not nearly as old as the art in my last post, this mural at The Cobra on Gallatin goes back to September 2016, and I posted about the larger mural on the side of the bar way back in April of last year (see below). Obviously, it’s by Eastside Murals. It continues the theme of skulls found in the mural on the side, but not the cobra or beer imagery. Here the skulls are complimented with abstract art. There is another mural altogether on the backside of the bar, one very different from the other two. Maybe I’ll post it before the end of 2020.

Located at 2511 Gallatin Road. As it faces Gallatin, your best bet for a good view is actually across the street, where there is a Walgreen’s with ample parking. The bar itself has plenty of parking, particularly early in the day when the bar is closed.

Part 1

Urban Juicer, Eastside Edition

If you think about it and are a little generous, you can say that the twisted straw on this mural spells out the word “urban.” Which makes sense, since this mural sits on the side of the Gallatin Road version of a local juice bar chain called The Urban Juicer. If you look at that website, you’ll see long, super twisty straws are part of their branding, so this colorful version hinting at all the different kinds of juice you can get fits right in. It’s by David Wright of Manecoon Sign Company, who rarely signs his work, but if you peruse that Instagram account, you’ll see that his art is all over town. The picture above doesn’t capture the whole work, as there is also a The Urban Juicer logo and slogan off to the side, but that would have made a bad header photo for this post (see below). Maybe give The Urban Juicer a try – they were voted Best Juice Bar in the Nashville Scene’s Best of Nashville poll in 2019.

Urban Juicer Mural street art Nashville

Located at 1009 Gallatin Ave. The mural is on the south side of the building. Note that the parking lot it faces is not The Urban Juicer’s parking lot. There’s is in front of and behind their building. There is also street parking on Sharpe Avenue, just to the north.

The Owl and Rose

On the Charlotte Avenue branch of the local chain M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers (so named because their original location is in the Melrose neighborhood) you can find this mural of an owl and a rose. As in L Rose. Mel-Rose. M(Ow)L Rose. It’s kind of like “M.L. Rose,” and M.L. Rose does use an owl in its logo.  The piece is by two artists who have been on this blog a lot, Nathan Brown and Eric Bass, aka Mobe Oner. The rose is reminiscent of the rose Brown did for Topgolf, though less sharply geometric. The owl has more of the geometric shapes Brown is known for, though for what it’s worth, that side is signed by Mobe Oner. (Which may mean nothing at all.) I have to say I debated whether the owl was, in fact, an owl or a cat until I remembered that an owl is part of M.L. Rose’s branding. To take the picture above, I had to climb a low wall and get up on the landscaping. Below is the best view from the sidewalk. There is a tree that blocks a direct view.

Rose Owl Mural street art Nashville

Located at 4408 Charlotte Avenue. The mural is on the west side of the building facing 45th Avenue North. There is paid parking as well as M.L. Rose’s parking, and some limited street parking in front of the fire station behind M.L. Rose.

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.

UPDATE: While the mural was spared, at least temporarily, this building was severely damaged by the March 3, 2020 tornado. The fate of the mural is unclear. See What we lost in the storm.

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.

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