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House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 2

As you travel clockwise around Columbine Park in Berry Hill, coming from Bransford Avenue, the second fence you come to is one of the youngest. It and the fence just to the east were the last two created by  Scott Guion for the Nashville branch of the House of Blues. Despite that, the people featured on it are artists whose careers mostly got started back in the ’60s and ’70s. The youngster among them is Jim Lauderdale, whose first album came out 1986. Like all the fences, it’s an eclectic mix of iconic artists from a wide array of genres, many of whom have crossed genres themselves. It’s also interesting that Guion has chosen to show these artists at different stages of their lives. Nina Simone, who was born the earliest of the group (in 1933) is shown relatively young. Meanwhile, Emmylou Harris, born a few years after Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, is depicted a couple decades older than both men. Also included are Gregg Allman, Jerry Garcia, Joni Mitchell, and Otis Redding.

Fence face mural Nashville street art
Gregg Allman and Otis Redding

See Part 1 of this series for why I’m just now writing about these murals. Spoiler alert: You can finally park in Berry Hill.

Fence Faces mural Nashville Street art
Joni Mitchell and Jim Lauderdale

Lauderdale by a decade is the baby of this group, born in 1957. Harris and Allman are next, both born in 1947.

Fence faces mural Nashville street art
Emmylou Harris, Nina Simone, and Jerry Garcia

Garcia seems to have a halo here, which is an interesting choice.

Fence faces mural Nashville Street art
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

Located at 524 East Iris Drive, which is the address of the building behind the fence, Premier Protective Services. The mural faces south towards the park. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1

Electric Thunder

I would not ordinarily do two posts about the same neighborhood in a row, and I try to avoid posting when I don’t know the artist. But this mural is likely to be gone soon, so I decided it was time to post about it.

Electric Thunder Studios is in Berry Hill, about a block away from the well known fences with portraits of music icons. Like those, I had also been reluctant to write about this mural because of the unfriendly sense of a neighborhood with no parking and no sidewalks. The parking at least is somewhat solved. So why do I say this mural is going away? Because the building is for sale. Indeed, as of this post, it is listed as being under contract. The listing also indicated the studio equipment is not part of the sale, so either Electric Thunder is moving or closing. Either way, it’s doubtful the future owners will want to keep what amounts to a large sign for the previous occupants.

The mural above is on the side of the building. There also used to be a second mural, presumably by the same artist, on the front of the building, but that has been painted over. Below is a picture of it, and you can see its relationship to the remaining mural. File these murals under both “lost art” and “endangered art.”

Electric Thunder mural Nashville Street art
Electric Thunder mural Nashville Street art

Located at 2824 Dogwood Place. The mural is on the south side of the building, facing a driveway. The nearest parking is on the next block over, around Columbine Park.

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 1

Back in 2016, a series of portraits of iconic musicians began to appear on several fences surrounding Columbine Park. They were sponsored by the Nashville branch of the House of Blues, and are the product of Nashville artist Scott Guion. The House of Blues calls them the “Wall of Fame,” but for obvious reasons, I went with “fences.” While often featured in lists of Nashville’s best murals, or used in various media about music in Nashville, they don’t show up on social media quite as much as some of the other well-known murals in Nashville. I  say Nashville – to be exact, this is Berry Hill, which is separate from Nashville, with its own municipal government, though it is part of Metro. And this has something to do with why these murals have not been gotten quite the attention you might think. There are no sidewalks in Berry Hill, and until recently, there was absolutely no parking in Berry Hill, unless you were visiting one the businesses there. Four spaces at Columbine Park had a sign that made it clear they were for users of the park only. It wasn’t an inviting place.

Berry Hill faces mural Nashville street art
George Jones and Bill Monroe

But things have changed. The loop around the park has been made one-way only, and the inner lane on both sides has been turned into parking places. As a park, Columbine Park has been dismantled, and the Berry Hill police don’t seem to mind if you park on the grass, or in the park parking spaces – that sign is gone. So I feel a lot better about telling people to go and visit.

BH Faces Elvis
Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting the fences and some of the surrounding art, starting from the entrance off Bransford Avenue on East Iris Drive, looping around the park clockwise. That means I have to start with the hardest fence to photograph, because of the heavy vegetation around it. But it is chock full of icons, mostly from mid-century rock and country. One feature of Guion’s portraits is that he has chosen to show many of these musicians when they were young. I have to say, I didn’t recognize George Jones.

Berry Hill faces mural Nashville street art
Dolly Parton and Willy Nelson

Right to left, this fence features, Bill Monroe, Jones, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams. Quite a lineup – did I really need to link those?

Berry Hill faces mural Nashville street art
Hank Willams and Bob Dylan

I think it’s somehow right that Dylan has a vine growing out of his face. Why not?

Berry Hill faces mural Nashville street art

Located on the 500 block of East Iris Drive, right off Bransford Avenue. The mural is on the south side of the road. Parking is available a bit to the east, surrounding the nearby park.

One Way

Apparently, the Berry Hill Square shopping center has been having some trouble in its parking lot. The entrance off Thompson Lane is a little oddly designed, so it wouldn’t be surprising if traffic flow weren’t some kind of issue. So what’s the answer? Build a fence right at the entrance, and get a muralist to paint it. Or how about two, or even three? This mural is signed by Tarabella Aversa, and it features large images of lush flowers found in some of her other work, such as the murals featured in Flowers of Walden. But she must have gotten help from WHAT.Creative Group (Jake and Hana Elliot), as their signature is on the bottom as well. This went in back in February, and if you compare an image from back then to the mural now, it’s obvious it’s taken a little damage. One of the hazards of being in the middle of a parking lot, no doubt. Somebody probably backed into it.

Located at 718 Thompson Lane, right in front of the Applebee’s, and across the street from Guitar Center. It’s in a parking lot, so of course parking nearby is available.

Melrose Forever

Sitting near the busy intersection of Kirkwood Avenue and Franklin Pike on the backside of Melrose Mini Mart sits this tribute to three Tennesse R&B greats: Clifford Curry, Dobie Gray, and Bobby Hebb. Curry lived in Knoxville, and he recorded in Nashville, while Ray was born in Texas and lived in Nashville as an adult, and Hebb was a life-long Nashvillian. Curry was a master of Carolina Beach Music and was inducted into the Beach Music Hall of Fame, and is perhaps best known for “I Can’t Get Hold of Myself.” Gray and Hebb had bigger, iconic hits you all know but may not know who was behind them. While Gray had other hits, it’s “Drift Away” he’s best known for, though younger audiences may know the 2002 duet/remake with Uncle Kracker better than the original 1973 edition. Hebb is the guy behind “Sunny.” That link, by the way, is to a stripped-down live version, since y’all already know what the studio version sounds like. You can hear it in your head right now, yes? All three men have passed in recent years; Hebb in 2010, Gray in 2011, and Curry in 2016. The mural is by Steve Ford, a Nashville artist who sells his work at Lazy Lane Graphics, and specializes in “Southeastern Sports Art,” i.e., art about your favorite college football teams from the South. As far as I know, this is his first mural in town.

Located at 2609 Eighth Avenue South (Franklin Pike). The mural is on the north side of the building, facing towards downtown and the Dollar General at 2605. You can usually park in the parking lot between the two stores, but any day but Sunday, cars from the auto repair place attached to Melrose Mini Mart are likely to be parked in front of the mural.

Irises for The Iris

There’s long been a hotel on Iris Drive just off Thompson Lane. But recent renovations have produced a very modern version of a boutique hotel. The Iris Motel is a hotel you could visit and easily never see any staff. As they say on their website, “communication is mostly virtual.” There is no front desk, and the lobby is really just a common area for guests. To add a little life to this hyper-digital form of lodging, a giant mural of irises, naturally, has been provided by Folek Kelof, who signs his work with just “Folek.” Perhaps in keeping with the digital nature of the hotel, Folek’s irises are angular and blocky. They look to me something like English irises, but there are so many varieties of irises, there are many potential candidates. The mural is a little hard to photograph, as it faces a driveway that is bordered by another building on the other side. You can’t quite get the whole thing with a front-facing view, which you can see below.

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Located at 656 W Iris Dr. There is free public parking across the street. 

Baja Burrito

I’ve known about this mural behind Baja Burrito for some time, but have not posted about it before because I wanted a “clean” picture, without various items stacked in front. But that was a fool’s errand for two reasons. One, this is the back door to a busy restaurant. It is a natural thing for all kinds of crates, trays and garbage cans to be stacked by the door. This is the mural’s natural habitat, and the only way to see it. It’s a worker’s mural. Second, when I finally got the nerve to move at least a couple of large, easily rolled pieces out of the way, the staff that inevitably came out while I was doing it didn’t even seem to notice I was there. Maybe people do this all the time. The big trash can that I left for this photo was really heavy and might have been a grease depository. What it’s hiding is a dog, who is in the slide show below. The piece is signed “Luis Marin Creative.” That website is all about Marin’s photography and videography, with no mention of murals, but the profile shot on his Instagram page is a selfie in front of this mural, so I know I have the right artist. The mural itself doesn’t have much to do with the actual goings-on at Baja Burrito, but it does evoke the relaxed vibe that Baja is known for. There are also two cactus murals separate from this mural – one on a separate building that you would see directly to your left if you were standing where the featured photo above was shot. The other is around front, on the right (east) side of the building. Both are found below.

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Located at 722 Thompson Lane. The main mural is on the backside, facing in the direction of Heather Place, but you can’t see it from the road. Parking in Berry Hill is always a nightmare, as there seems to be no public parking. If you’re just here to see the mural, I recommend the Baja Burrito’s offsite parking on Columbine Place, just off of Heather, straight back (north) from Baja Burrito. But hey, there’s a good meal to be had here, so grab some grub and enjoy the art!

Violin dreams

DreamstreetRight

Looking like Don Quixote with a fiddle, this metal gentlemen with eyes searching the skies certainly seems to have weathered a lot of abuse at the hands of the elements – or maybe he was made that way. He sits by the side of the road outside of Dreamstreet Studios in Berry Hill, a business I’ve been able to find very little information on. This Buzzfile page suggests it is also called Dreamstreet Morganville Industries and is owned by Dennis Morgan. A little internet sleuthing turns up a book called “Pumpkin Head Harvey” by the Dennis Morgan who is in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and which was published by Dreamstreet Studios. So that mystery is solved, but not the question of who made this. There are two palm prints and what looks like “20 011 04” written in the concrete base but might instead be “2001 1 04” – or something else. Don Quixote might know, but he’s not telling.

Located at 2830 Dogwood Place. Unfortunately, it’s practically illegal to park in this part of Berry Hill. While there is a great deal of outdoor art, there is almost no street parking anywhere nearby and no sidewalks. Most of the local businesses have prominent “no parking signs.” I’ve been yelled at for parking at a closed business on the weekend. There is a small park on Columbine Place with a few spaces, but it has a sign reminding you it’s a misdemeanor to park at the park if you are not using the park.  This is not a neighborhood friendly to outsiders. There are just a few street spaces on Heather Place in front of Vui’s Kitchen and behind Baja Burrito. You might try Baja’s satellite parking lot on Columbine if it’s off hours, or the strip mall on the 700 block of Thompson Lane.

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