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Downtown

Beautiful Decay

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This mural manages to be both very large and yet somewhat hidden as well, located as it in an alleyway behind the Downtown Presbyterian Church. Part of the Nashville Walls Project, this mural, called “Beautiful Decay,” is by the Berlin-based American artist Tavar Zawacki. Zawacki started his career as an anonymous graffiti artist using the handle “ABOVE.” In time, he made use of an “above arrow” as his signature. Now that he has come out of the shadows, arrows are still a motif in his work. You can read his description of this mural on his website, and the Nashville Walls Project has a nice photo spread showing the creation of the mural. The trompe l’oeil lends itself to some obvious picture ideas.

Located at 144 5th Avenue North. That’s the address of the parking garage it’s painted on. The church it’s behind is at 154 5th Avenue North, at the corner with Church Street. This is downtown – plenty of parking, almost none of it free.

Vinyl Bunker

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This blog is devoted to outdoor art, and the mural above mostly qualifies, as it is just inside the 5th Avenue entrance to the L&C Parking Garage and if the wind blows from any westerly or northern direction, the rain would definitely hit it. And why does a portrait of Pat Reedy grace a parking garage wall? Because in the basement of the same garage is The Vinyl Bunker, a record store owned by Jason Galaz (the artist who made the mural) and is also headquarters for Muddy Roots, the music festival and record label. And no surprise, Reedy records for that label. So, synergy?

Located at 144 5th Avenue North. The entrance to the garage opens on to the alley behind Downtown Presbyterian Church. Look for the giant mural of words (which I have not yet featured on the blog) – this mural is just below that one.

 

Rivive

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No, I didn’t misspell “revive.” This Nashville Walls Project mural is by Beau Stanton and was done in collaboration with Rivive, a non-profit that looks to raise awareness about and improve river resources in the Nashville area. So talk to them about my spell checker going nuts! The water theme is clear, with a Greco-Roman woman pouring out water, along with fish and other water life. Blanton has some nice photos on his website (including a timelapse video) as does Nashville Walls Project (including photos of the production on the mural). It’s a hard mural to shoot, given its enormous size and the fact there is a building across the street. Certainly, it makes the downtown version of Blush easy to find!  (The writing on the far corner of the building is part of another mural I haven’t blogged about yet.)

Located at 144 5th Avenue North. This is downtown, so there is plenty of parking, none of it free.

The Johnny Cash Mural

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Sure, there’s more than one mural featuring Johnny Cash in this town. But this was one of the first, if not the very first. Or at least, the original one on this spot was. Bryan Deese, Audie Adams and Ryan Shrader of Thoughts Manifested produced a Cash mural on this spot not long after Cash’s death in 2003. However, by late 2012 it was in very bad shape, so the same three artists painted a new Cash mural to replace the original (and I do not know how close the second version is to the first). There is a video of them making the second mural. Now six years on, the second mural is somewhat worse for wear, and it faces more threats than just the weather and traffic smog. The little building it’s on is surrounded by some very expensive real estate, and it’s hard to imagine no developer has any interest in it. If you want your picture taken in front of it, you might want to do so soon.

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Located at 300 4th Avenue South at the corner of 4th and Molloy Street. The mural faces Molloy. This is downtown, so lots of parking, almost none of it free.

Recycling

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Art comes and goes depending on the needs of the sponsors. When I wrote about the art on the old Turnip Green/Plateone building, I wondered what would happen to the Seth Prestwood (@moldymonk) pieces on the north and south sides of the building since both businesses had left. So far, the one on the north side is unchanged. Recently, however, Jason Galaz incorporated the piece on the south side into new work featuring the artists Pat Reedy, Alicia Bognanno of Bully and Joshua Hedley. I suppose that’s a fancy way of saying Galaz painted over Prestwood’s mural, but the remaining visible parts of the older mural make a nice framing device for the new one. Galaz signs the mural with his name and #MuddyRoots. Galaz has done Muddy Roots Records murals before, such as the one found in BBQ music. Reedy is a Muddy Roots recording artist, though I’m not sure what relationship the other two artists have to the label/music festival. Certainly, musicians make sense on this wall, as the building now houses a branch of Fond Object.  Muddy Roots has sponsored temporary murals before, like the one in Wanda, so it remains to be seen how long this one will remain in place. (The Wanda mural was on the side of the other branch of Fond Object, so there’s another link.)

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Located at 535 Fourth Avenue South. This is downtown, so not much in the way of free parking. There are paid lost nearby.

Building who’s Nashville?

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Ordinarily, I like to keep people out of the pictures I use on this blog. But for this particular mural, done by Michael Cooper of Murals and Moore, that’s not easy. Church Street Park, known also as Library Park, has become a gathering ground for homeless Nashvillians. Some of this is because it lies across from the downtown Main Library, which has made efforts to reach out to the homeless. Not surprisingly, the presence of homeless people in such a prominent spot has raised controversy. That controversy is probably behind the willingness of Mayor David Briley to back a controversial proposal to allow developer Tony Giarratana to build a commercial high rise tower on the property in exchange for also building an apartment complex for the homeless on James Robertson Parkway. Ten years ago, the city bulldozed and rebuilt the park to rid the park of pesky starlings. Now they might just demolish it so they can rid it of the homeless. Whether the deal with Giarratana goes through remains to be seen. If it does, Cooper’s mural suggesting an unfinished but growing Nashville will almost certainly disappear. Call it endangered art.

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Located at 600 Church Street, across from the downtown library. This is downtown, so plenty of parking, almost none of it free. The library parking garage has reasonable rates, including ninety free minutes with validation. Peruse the stacks and enjoy the art!

Carter Vintage Guitars (Part 2)

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On the south side of Carter Vintage Guitars is a mural of a giant guitar (see Part 1, below), while on the north side we find this quiet tribute to Maybelle Carter. It’s a Vermillion Murals production (professional home of Jenna Boyko Colt and Brian Law) like the mural on the south side of the building. The image of Maybelle is taken from a well-known photo of her with A.P. and Sara Carter. While the south side features a full Gibson guitar, here we see just the head. Walter Carter, who along with his wife Christie Carter founded Carter Vintage, has in fact written a book about Gibson guitars. (No apparent relation between them and the Carter Family.)

Part 1

Located at 625 8th Avenue South. Most of the parking lot you see here is a paid lot, unless you are a customer of Carter Vintage or Arnold’s Country Kitchen. There is a small amount of free street parking on 9th Ave and the street between Carter Vintage and Jackalope Brewery that seems to also be called Division Street (unlike the Division Street one block farther south), and there are other paid lots in the area. Grab some grub, browse the vintage guitars, and enjoy the art!

History in color

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When I first saw this Thoughts Manifested mural on the west wall of Plaza Art, (or PLA-ZA, as it says on the sign in front) I knew it had some cultural references I didn’t quite recognize. Sure, I knew about the artist who goes by “Kid Oak” and who puts up the acorn-hatted boy all over town. And I figured the hockey player was from one of our many pre-Predators teams. But although the images looked familiar, I was fuzzy on some of the references. Bryan Deese’s Instagram page helped set me straight. I should have known the boy with the donut was from the Donut Den, as I love their donuts. And though Twitty City became Trinity Music City some time ago, I had been to Conway Twitty‘s legendary Christmas light show years ago when I was a Vandy grad student, and I should have recognized the Twitty bird. The hockey player represents the Nashville South Stars, who played here 1981-1983. Too early for me, though I did catch a couple Nashville Knights games in the early ’90s (the hockey team, not the Lingerie/Legends Football League team). The dancing peanut is from The Peanut Shop in the Arcade, which got its start as a Planters Peanut store in 1927 but became independent in 1960. And there is, of course, the Prince from Prince’s Hot Chicken. There are catfish in the Cumberland River, and then there are those other Nashville catfish. The birds are symbols Thoughts Manifested uses in many of their murals, while Montana is the name of a spray paint company (whose cans you can buy at Plaza). L&N is the old Louisville and Nashville railroad, which was one of the major lines coming through Union Station, while CSX is the railroad company that ultimately absorbed L&N and has a regional headquarters here. Plaza Arts lies close to the still functioning CSX tracks. Wow, that’s a lot of links!

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Located at 633 Middleton Sreet in Pie Town. The mural is on the west side of the building, facing Seventh Avenue South. There is parking at Plaza and street parking on 7th. Load up on art supplies and enjoy the art!

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Chet Atkins, C.G.P.

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Though a little off center from the main downtown tourist center, this work draws in the tourists who want their picture taken with the great Chet Atkins, if only in bronze. This lost wax sculpture titled “Chet Atkins, c.g.p.” is the work of Nashville artist Russell Faxon, and went in in January 2000, a year and a half before Atkins’ death. Various music luminaries paid tribute at the unveiling, including Eddy Arnold, who said, “I’m delighted to be here because I met Chet back in 1896.” Atkins himself promised everyone that, “I’ll come to your outing if you have one.” The statue was paid for by Bank of America, the major tenant in the building that looms over the Atkins tribute. So what’s that “C.G.P” about? Certified Guitar Player, a designation Atkins gave out to those players he thought “excelled far beyond the normal line of playing.” Only five men, plus Atkins himself, got the title. There is of course that empty stool, placed there so you could have your picture taken with the man. Many tourists do, and local folks who just need a place to sit can also be found on the stool. I’m sure Atkins would be happy to play for any of them.

Side note: I was so astonished to find the statue devoid of humans, I parked in a hurry and raced to take pictures. You can see my little red car in the header above, and there’s a better shot below in the photo of the back side of the sculpture.

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Located at 414 Union Street. The sculpture sits in a small triangular plaza at 5th and Union, in front of the Bank of America Building. This is downtown, so plenty of parking, virtually none of it free.

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