Search

nashville public art

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

Tag

#Germantown

Southern Pride, Queer Pride (and Skittles)

June is Pride Month, a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. It falls in June because the Stonewall Uprising, a pivotal moment in the gay liberation movement, began on June 28, 1969. There was a time when major corporations would have wanted nothing to do with such a celebration, but times have changed. Skittles (a subsidiary of Mars) has perhaps an obvious tie-in with Pride as rainbows are central to their marketing and of course the Rainbow Flag is a key symbol of Pride. (The original, designed by Gilbert Baker, had been lost for 40 years but was recently found and is on display in San Francisco.)

For this year’s Pride celebration, Skittles has sponsored a series of murals by Queer artists. The project is called the Skittles QueeR Codes, and one of them is here in Nashville, on the side of the Germantown branch of Jack Brown’s. (The name of the series references the QR codes found on each mural.) The Nashville version is by local artist Sara Moroni, whose business name is Sara Moroni Pizza – “serving hot and fresh slices of art.” Why pizza? It’s a reference to the different kinds of art she makes. There are many kinds of pizza and many kinds of art.

Her contribution specifically addresses the issue of being LBTGQ+ in the South. “Proud to be Southern & Queer,” the mural declares. It shows some of the diversity of the Queer community in the South. Moroni wrote on her Instagram page:

I understood how important it was to take full advantage and represent as many Queers in the South as I could. So, I designed this mural to highlight the diversity of Queer voices here in the South—to be as inclusive and intersectional as possible.

To my knowledge this is Moroni’s first mural in Nashville. I hope we get to see more from her.

By the way, this is not the first corporate-sponsored Pride mural in Nashville. Instagram sponsored one back in 2017 that as of this writing is still up.

There are three other murals in the series. Jae Lin created one in Austin, TX; there’s another by ARRRTADDICT in Atlanta; and Marlon Davila (aka 7ovechild) painted one in Newark, NJ. It’s interesting how each one of these artists chose to explore the theme of Pride in their murals in distinct ways.

Before Moroni’s mural went up, there was a sign on the side of this building for Local 456 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. I never got around to blogging about it (I was hoping to shoot it without vines), but here is what it looked like. The “J.A.T.C” refers to their training programs, called the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee. Local 456 has since moved out to Rundle Avenue (not far from Fesslers Lane and Elm Hill Pike).

Located at 1123 Third Avenue North, at the corner with Madison Street. The mural is on the south wall of the building, facing towards downtown and Jefferson Street. This is Germantown – there is some free street parking, but most available nearby parking is paid.

Pandora at Saint Stephen

This is Nashville, and mural and sculptures inspired by music are part of our community identity. So it is no surprise that Nashville was chosen by the music streaming service Pandora as one of the eight American cities to participate in its “Sound Walls” project. Artists were commissioned to produce both a mural and a playlist of the music that inspired their mural. In Nashville, the artist Pandora selected was Alexandria Hall. As she says in this video, “This mural kind of represents the connective power that music has on all kinds of people.” On her Instagram page, there are a series of posts depicting the making of the mural. You can listen to the playlist of the music that inspired her if you have a Pandora account. Passers-by can get it from a QR code (look for the word “Pandora”). The playlist includes artists such as Kevin Ayers, Bonny Doon, and Weyes Blood.

Pandora mural Nashville street art

Fortunately, Nashville-based Mundane put together a showcase of all the murals in the series, along with links to their playlists. I couldn’t seem to find one from Pandora. The mural, of course, sits on the outer wall of Saint Stephen, which sports another mural in their semi-public patio. Oh, and this is not a pandemic post. Parking is illegal in front of this mural!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Located at 1300 Third Avenue North. The mural faces Monroe Street. There is limited street parking on Third, and a pay lot a little past Sant Stephens, north on Third.

 

Blek, Barista, and Beethoven

It’s not often that a graffiti artist gets written up in the local news, his arrival in town excitedly heralded by local arts groups. But Blek Le Rat is not just any graffiti artist. He’s an internationally known French street artist, known to some as the “godfather of stencil,” that is, the use of stencils to make images on walls. He toured the U.S. south in late 2018, creating works in the Texas cities of Waco, Houston, and Austin, and also here in Nashville. He left stencils at Montgomery Bell Academy and the one above at the Germantown branch of Barista Parlor. In this video interview with WPLN, he explains that he came to Nashville because it is the capital of music and because he thinks his work would be ignored and unappreciated in a more outdoor art-dense city like New York. The subject is a young Beethoven, who Blek presents in more modern dress, imagining how the old master might present himself to the Nashville of today and its music. He also thinks “the real America is in Nashville, a city like Nashville.” The video is worth watching because it captures a lot of his process as he produced the Beethoven portrait. It’s not as simple as spraying a stencil! The picture below gives you a sense of context.

Bleck Beethoven mural

Further down the wall is the work of another stencil artist, For Becks, who is local. I’ve featured his Lego Men before. Here we see one of his “Like” stencils, which are popular on Instagram, including this one.

Barista Like mural street art Nashville

Located at 1230 4th Avenue North. Both murals actually face the 300 block of Monroe Street. The Blek piece is obviously at the corner with 4th, while the For Becks piece is almost all the way down at the other end of the wall, near the back of the building. Street parking is available on 4th.

The drops of Saint Stephen

Saint Stephen mural street art Nashville

This work is by the youngest artist I’ve ever featured on this blog, save those murals that were collaborations between adults and children, such as my most recent post. Drew T. Morrison’s website doesn’t give his exact age, but a friend who knows the family tells me that Morrison is eleven or twelve years old. On his website and his Instagram account, you can see he’s already quite accomplished, and also that this piece is much calmer than most of his other work. It’s found in the outdoor seating area of Saint Stephen, the new Germantown restaurant owned by James Beard Award-winning chef RJ Cooper. Before Cooper took over the site, it was home to a restaurant called Mop/Broom. Mop/Broom also had a mural on this wall, by Nathan Brown. I never managed to get it on the blog or even photograph it, but it is preserved on Brown’s Instagram account (that’s a multi-photo post, so be sure to scroll through). A new owner often means new art, that’s not unusual.

Located at 1300 Third Avene North. The mural is in the patio on the back (north) side of the building. Street parking is available, but you might have to walk a block or two.

Bearded Iris Brewing, Makeover Edition

In January 2017, just a few months after starting this blog, I wrote about an interesting wall of graffiti on the rear side of Bearded Iris Brewing. I even called it “Part 1,” because I intended to come back and write about the less interesting graffiti on the building that faced that back wall of Bearded Iris, on the other side of the Cumberland River Greenway. Well, that building got torn down to make way for a parking lot, and the graffiti was replaced by this giant sign for Bearded Iris done by Eastside Murals. (The graffiti off to the left is still there, and might get a blog post someday.) This mural is reminiscent of another recent work by Eastside Murals covering the entirety of the Molly Green building at McFerrin Ave and Main Street. While the color scheme is quite different, that work also features thick flowing lines and large circles. I recently got good photos of it, so look for it on the blog soon. The featured photo above is angled because, as you can see below, trying to take a photo straight on mostly just gets you a picture of trees! The Bearded Iris Brewing logo, which you can see in the upper right of the mural and on the tanks located on the front of the building, doesn’t look much like a bearded iris flower to me but more like a stylized fleur-de-lis. Your mileage may vary.

Bearded Iris Mural street art Nashville

Bearded Iris Tanks street art Nashville

Located at 101 Van Buren Street. The mural faces east, along the Cumberland River Greenway. There is a paid parking lot directly in front of it, but you can probably park for free for a little while in Bearded Iris’s parking lot (look for the tanks), longer if you stop in for a brew!

Follow the yellow brick road

Is Nashville really Oz? It’s certainly an Emerald City in Anthony’s Billups’s mural for The Griff Apartments. The skyline is roughly what you would see looking south from The Griff’s roof, minus the yellow brick road and the poppies and trees. That’s Topgolf off to the left, and of course the Batman Building in the middle. Like the Eiffel Tower for Paris, all images of Nashville’s skyline must have the Batman Building. The brown building on the right is presumably the old meatpacking plant across the street from The Griff, which is in the habit of catching on fire. The mural decorates a utility box that would otherwise just be a concrete slab and is further evidence that more and more, Nashville businesses know they need art. Billups, who is part of Music City Murals, also did some signage in The Griff’s garage that is in a very different style (see slideshow below) from this mural. I could not discern a signature on the mural, but the staff, who informed me who the artist was, said that it is hidden in there somewhere. Maybe if you follow the yellow brick road you’ll find it and the wizard. I’m guessing the wizard lives at the top of the Batman Building.

Yellow Brick mural street art Nashville

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Located at 1390 Adams Street. The mural is actually on Taylor Street, on the south side of the building, facing Adams Street. The entrance to the garage is on the north side of the building, and the signs on the first floor. There is some street parking on Adams, and guest parking in The Griff’s parking garage.

Tattoos of Shed

Some people like their photo taken with wings, but there are undoubtedly some folks who would prefer a couple of heavily muscled tattooed arms in their picture. This three-month-old mural by Tara Marie Aversa (also known as Tarabella Aversa) has those people covered. It’s an appropriate mural for a fitness center. Shed Group Fitness is actually a chain, though four of its seven locations are in Nashville, including the one in Germantown, where this mural is found.  While spare compared to some of Aversa’s other murals, these tattooed arms contain a few of the flowers characteristic of much of her work. There are also some traditional tattoo subjects, like birds, knives and mottos – “Keep Goin” and “Stronger Harder Every Day.” But how many people have tattoos of a cassette tape? No doubt someone does. This isn’t the only mural of flexing arms in town. Put up your dukes! by  Rachel Deeb is found on the side of the Church Street branch of Title Boxing Club near Elliston Place. Those are also tattooed, but not surprisingly, also have boxing gloves on.

Located at 85 Van Buren St, at the corner with Adams Street in a building Shed shares with O-Ku Suhi Nashville. The mural is on the west side of the building, facing a large parking lot. The Cumberland River Greenway is on the other side of the lot. The lot is a pay lot – there is some street parking on Van Buren and Adams. Get your sweat on and enjoy the art!

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑