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

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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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