nashville public art

No art left behind





This is a tale of two murals and two stores. The Hokus Pokus mural by Music City Murals on Gallatin advertises the vape store of the same name. The MCM guys must be really proud of it, as they use it as the cover art on their Facebook page. Hokus Pokus has also used the design in a billboard farther south on Gallatin. Before this mural, however, there used to be a graffiti art mural here with the “Betor” tag, he of Betor Forever. I thought I had my own photograph of it, but I can’t find it, so I’ve posted a Google street view shot below. But wait, there’s more! Sage and Serpent is a tattoo parlor in the same building, and below I include their interesting sign and an image that is posted on the back of the building. I don’t know who did either, but I would hazard a guess it’s one or both of the two artists who own Sage and Serpent.


Located at 4118 Gallatin Pike. The main mural is on the north side of the building, while the Sage and Serpent sign is on the front and the image of a hand is on the back side. There is plenty of parking in front and back of the building.


Long lost


This is a story about lost origins. The art is there, but its story is a mystery. There’s a neighborhood a little ways south of Rivergate Mall, on the west side of Gallatin Pike, that is unusual. It was clearly built as a residential neighborhood, but many of the houses have been converted into shops and offices, like parts of Berry Hill. Google Maps calls its Echo Meadows. And here we find the Goodlettsville branch of Sewing Machines Etc (there is also one in Knoxville). Besides selling and repairing sewing machines, Sewing Machines Etc has fabric and other sewing supplies and teaches sewing classes as well. What does any of this have to do with the mural of a fist grasping drawing and painting instruments? Nothing, as it predates the sewing store. Inquires inside reveal only that there was some kind of store that sold paint here in the past. Online tax records are no help either. The work is signed by Lee Long, which doesn’t lead anywhere. The sewing place opened in 2015, so the mural is older than that. It’s right across a driveway from some thick bushes, hence the angled shots. The current owners don’t seem inclined to remove it, and so it sits, testament to a forgotten store, and a hard to find artist.


Located at 808 Meadow Lark Lane. There is parking in front and back of the store. Take a class or two and enjoy the art!



This is another of those “why I have I waited so long to post about this one” posts. Certainly, anyone in the habit of driving north on Gallatin in East Nashville is familiar with the train on the side of Inglewood Hardware, more properly known as Inglewood True Value. (The first link is to local store’s Yelp page, the second to corporate.) This is obviously an Eastside Murals piece, professional home of Ian Lawrence and Sterling Goller-Brown. The mural went in last year. Why a train? Perhaps because of the train tracks that run back behind the store. It does provide good color on a very busy road, and makes the store hard to miss.

Located at 3214 Gallatin Pike. The mural is on the south side of the building. There is parking in front and on the mural side of the building. If you park in front, you’ll be backing up onto Gallatin when you leave. Load up on home improvement gear and enjoy the art!


Betor Forever


Several weeks ago, a major installation appeared on the 2600 block of Gallatin, on the Penny Recycling building. It’s one of the larger murals in town (though smaller certainly than the giant ones downtown.) I haven’t been able to get to it before because of cars parked at the Hairworld next door. Over a portrait of a young man in a hat surrounded by flowers and spray paint cans, the mural declares “Betor Forever.” Betor was the nom de plume of Ronald “Ronnie” Bobal, who died last December, a couple of weeks shy of his thirtieth birthday. Bobal was a prolific graffiti artist who worked with the UH and ICR crews. You can see some of his work and tributes to him herehere and here. The mural itself is signed by Sterbo and Tierdo.  Sterbo has also memorialized Bobal in the mural of colored spheres mentioned in Arctic colors. There are some other, smaller pieces at this site. I’ve included them in the gallery below.

Located at 2611 Gallatin Pike on the south side of the Pocket Money Recycling building, near the corner of Carolyn Avenue. Your best bet for parking is the Hairworld next door. All the images are on the south side of the building, though the camera is on the back of some construction debris so it may not be very permanent.

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Arctic colors

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This is one of those miracle shots, a mural that always has cars parked in front of it momentarily free. Around the corner, you’ll find Nomzilla and Pepperfire, two popular eateries with not nearly enough parking, so cars are a near constant at this spot. But the mural itself reflects another business in the building, Friendly Arctic Printing & Design, a company that makes custom t-shirts, hoodies and more. The mural represents a step in the printing process. Members of the Friendly Arctic team put the mural up a little over a year ago, and their Instagram page has a set of videos detailing the process.But wait, there’s more! Walk around to the back side to find a completely different but also quite colorful mural (see below). This work is signed by Sterbo, a tag used by a prolific local artist. The signature also contains the phrase “Betor Forever.” Betor is the tag of a prolific local graffiti artist who died last December. There is a very large memorial mural in his honor a few blocks north of these two murals which I will feature soon. (Again, cars tend to park in the way.)

Located at 1045 Granada Avenue, at the corner with Gallatin Avenue. The mural above faces Granada and is quite visible if you are driving north on Gallatin. Street parking is available, as well as parking in front and behind the building. Grab some grub, or maybe inquire about your newest favorite t-shirt, and enjoy the art!

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The OMG/Wallpaper & Designer hidden gallery (Part 1, west wall)


Make a point of driving behind commercial buildings from time to time, especially if they are local shops, not chains. Often you find nothing, and sometimes you find a universe. The building that contains Old Made Good and Wallpaper & Designer Home Consignments is one of those universe places. This a place no one who doesn’t need to use the loading docks at W&D is likely to find. You might also notice these works if you park around back of American Tuxedo and Bridal, but this is pretty solidly hidden art. Thousands of people drive past on Gallatin every day and never notice. I’m breaking this one up into multiple posts mostly because of bad shadows on some of my pics. I will try to hit this place in the morning sometime soon to get some better shots of the rest of it. The art is these pics is less than half of what’s on site. I’m not sure of the artists behind the work on this wall, but there are a couple of Troy Duff pieces on the other walls that I’ll feature once I get some better photos.

UPDATE: I can’t change the URL, but this is the west wall, not east as I originally wrote.

Part 2

Located at 3701 Gallatin Pike. OMG has scads and scads of parking and the area behind 3701 where the art is seems to be empty most of the time.

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Mysteries of Cloud IX


For some months now, there’s been a “coming soon” sign on the building at 3807 Gallatin advertising the upcoming arrival of Cloud IX Hookah Bar and Lounge. A sign appeared out front, and a couple months ago, a series of pop art portraits decorating the building. I do not know the artist, though I did see him working on them and kick myself for not getting his name. There is no signature, so it’s not one of the mural companies whose work I’ve featured before. Cloud IX is a project of iBustle (also known as Bustle per their logo), and as yet they have very little info out. When the bar is up and running, maybe I can track down the artist. The mural wraps around to the front side, featured below.

UPDATE: I’ve been contacted by one Doot.Doot of Nashville claiming to be the artist. Doot.Doot tells me there’s no website to link to or such – bit of a hermit it seems.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Apparently it is open now and has been for a while. Unfortunately, I know this because of news of a shooting there.

UPDATE 3.0: This business has closed, and the murals have been vandalized.

UPDATE 4.0: This art has now been painted over. The panels are all plain white now.

Located at 3807 Gallatin Pike, next to Roma Pizza and Title Max at the corner of Gillock Street. Plenty of parking, particularly given that the bar has not opened yet. There’s a building permit on the front door, so you might have to compete with construction.


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The Gallatin and Straightway Gallery (Part 2)


The Hookah Kings front wall is part of the dense graffiti art found at the corner of Gallatin and Straightway. At least some of the art on this wall predates Hookah Kings, which only opened about a month ago, while some of this art is at least a couple years old. The “my name is” tag belongs to Mobe Oner, who notes in a post on his Facebook page that a portrait he did is now covered over by the Kid Oak image seen below (on the north wall of Jerry’s Market), though apparently the lost image was painted over by something else before the Kid Oak image went up. Such are the perils of outdoor art. Scoot over to Oner’s page to see the lost work. Kid Oak, on the other hand, is a fairly common sight in Nashville, with an Instagram page for various appearances.

Part 1

Located at 1401 Gallatin Avenue, at the corner with Straightway Avenue. This works here faces Gallatin, on the east side of the road. Some parking at Jerry’s, as well as some street parking on Straightway. See Part 1 on the map for the pin.img_5080-2

A saint among us

Religion has, of course, always been a major force driving humans to create art, and the Catholic Church has long been one of the world’s great art patrons. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and School is hardly the only church in Nashville that has invested in public art, just the first featured on this blog. There will be more!

Joseph, carrying his traditional carpenter’s tools, can be found at 1225 Gallitan Pike South, just north of the cemeteries that are themselves just north of Briley Parkway.

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