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nashville public art

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

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Graffiti

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.

An icon under the bridge, a revision

I have featured the wall under the Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Boulevard overpass on Herman Street twice before. Originally, it was when the first image on the wall appeared, a portrait of Jimi Hendrix that I featured in a very early post to this blog, An icon under the bridge. That piece was done by Dough Joe of Norf Studios. Later, Norf Studios added two more portraits of Nikki Giovanni and Miles Davis, which I featured in An icon under the bridge, revisited. Now a fourth portrait has appeared, of Tupac Shakur. This is not a Norf Studios piece, but one by JamersonSGC, who frequently signs his work “Low Key Art.” You can see all the portraits together below, and the tag “Mr. Woo,” which I’ve seen in a couple places not far from this wall. If there is any further activity on this wall, I will be sure to keep everyone posted.

Icons mural street art Nashville

Located below the Dr. D. B. Todd Jr. Boulevard overpass on Herman Street, between 18th and 19th Avenues. There is street parking on these streets. Your best bet is probably 18th. Just south of this bridge you’ll find a lot of mural and graffiti art.

With a Capitol View

Graffiti Capitol street art mural Nashville

It’s been a while since I’ve put any “wild” graffiti on the blog, but this one caught my eye recently and I really like it. That skull in the middle of the tag is common in Nashville graffiti. A good example is the one featured in Staying power. This tag was surprisingly difficult to research because it lies in the midst of a massive development project, Capitol View. Capitol View lies on the north side of the part of Charlotte Avenue that was recently renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, centered on 11th Avenue. When fully finished, it will take up six entire blocks running between MLK Blvd and Clinton Street three blocks north, while bordered by George L. Davis Blvd to the west and the railroad that roughly parallels 10th Avenue to the east. And about 10th Avenue – many of us have come to rely on Google Maps to stay up to date, but as of this writing it very much isn’t, (but it might be by the time you click that) and I could not make what I remember seeing jibe with the map. At one time, Gay Street crossed 10th Avenue and went under a railroad bridge to connect to a large, decrepit parking lot. That lot is now “Building E” of Capitol View and has a big sign on it that says “500,” as it’s official address is 500 11th Avenue. And the stretch of 10th that used to run between Nelson Merry Street and Lifeway Plaza? It’s been turned into an almost-finished park, that according to Capitol View’s Master Plan, will apparently be open to the public and linked to the greenway system. To get it, you have to go under the bridge, right where this graffiti is. Which means this graffiti probably counts as endangered art. Check it out soon.

UPDATED: This has been painted over.

Located just east of 500 11th Avenue. There is a driveway that runs between Lifeway Plaza and Nelson Merry and parallels the railroad, and the underpass where this is found is right in the middle of that stretch. There is an entrance to a parking garage right in front of it where you should able to park as a visitor for short periods of time.

City under the bridge

Usually, I try to use a shot of the entire work as the featured image, but that’s impossible here, as this particular work is spread out over both sides of the underneath of a railroad bridge on Wedgewood Avenue. The wider shots are informative, but I think this detail above best captures the essence of the spread out work. It’s not clear how long these abstract skylines have been under the bridge next to Warren Paint and Color Co. It appears that mold and mildew have grown over some of the work, and some has been tagged with graffiti. That and some general deterioration, including chips out of the concrete that the work is painted on, suggests its been here for several years. I first saw it about a year ago, but I’m sure it’s much older. The abstract buildings may be inspired by the main Warren building (see below). There is also a rainbow-colored “RESIST sign on the bridge itself. That, I’m sure is fairly recent. In the slideshows below the factory, the first focuses on the north part of the underpass, working from east to west, while the second showcases the southside, working from west to east.

brick factory building Nashville

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Located on Wedgewood Avenue, between 700 and 654. Parking is tricky here. It is possible to park on a gravel area in front of 654, on the northeast side of the bridge, but I have only done this after hours and on the weekend.

Elliston Parking Garage – Part 3, Folek

Folek mural street art Nashville

This mural is a slight departure for this blog, as it in some sense inside. But from the lighting, you might notice it’s exposed to sunlight on one side. This piece by Folek Kelof, who signs his work with just “Folek,” is part of the Elliston Parking garage project organized by the Nashville Walls Project. The first two (see below) and the ones on the top floor are fully “outside,” while the rest are “inside” the parking garage, but ae very much exposed to the elements, and you don’t need a key or even to open a door to see them, so I think they fit. The mural seems to be flowers done in a style that implies graffiti. I don’t know any mural in town that looks quite like it.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 4

Located at 207 Louise Avenue, just off Elliston Place. This piece is on the bottom floor on the south side of the building. Most of the parking in this area is pay parking. The garage is permit parking, at least on workdays.

A few words and then who knows

This is an old graffiti mural on Main Street in East Nashville I have passed many times thinking, “I should put that on the blog,” but I never got around to. It was an old reliable I could always do some other day. Well, not anymore. RECORD SCRATCH! Stop! I got this building confused with the one next door, that hosts Holleman Transmission. THAT building is soon to be replaced with a new boutique hotel. But not apparently this one. So the blog post I wrote and have now rewritten about this mural about to be gone, along with the others on the building, was wrong. For the moment. Those murals, by the way, are one by Eastside Murals featured in The cats are loose that is on the back of the building, and an Andee Rudloff piece featured in Or could just watch the video on the opposite side from this graffiti mural. I wrote originally that all would be lost, but not so fast. That said, I wouldn’t count on this property staying quiet for too long in go-go Nashville. This piece has tags for the UH crew, and there are others, such as ICR, Tier, Rasmo, Saeph, and Left, but as usual, some of the tags are a mystery to me. So I’d go ahead and get your photos because you never know.

Graffiti mural street art Nashville

graffiti mural street art Nashville

Rasmo graffiti mural street art Nashville

Pink Graffiti mural street art Nashville

UPDATE: When Holloman Transmission was torn down, this mural became much more visible. Presumably, it will soon be hidden by new construction.

Graffiti tags mural street art Nashville

Located at 914 Main Street. The mural is on the east side of the building, facing an alley. For now, you can park for free in front of the building. Once construction starts next door, that might be complicated.

Nations Wall – Part 7

This is the seventh in the series on The Nations Wall, a massive set of murals on the west-facing wall of Music City Tents and Events, organized by the Nashville Walls Project. It’s the seventh piece going from left to right (roughly north to south). The Nashville Walls project credits Eshor for this mural. While there seems to be no website or social media associated with that name, the hashtag #eshor on Instagram has a number of images you can explore. The lower tag is “Venser.” (I chose this partially blocked view of that tag for the featured photo because of the way Facebook crops shared links. See a full, angled view below.) This doesn’t seem to correspond to any of the artists that the Nashville Walls Project credited. Searching #venser on Instagram produces some similar tags and at least one other example of the two tags together (see the fourth photo in that set), but rare enough that I assume they are by two different people.

Graffiti mural street art Nashville

Images of the entire wall with all the murals together can be found in Part 1.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

Located at 5901 California Ave, Nashville, TN 37209. The murals actually face the 1300 and 1400 block of 60th Avenue North, across from the intersection with Pennsylvania Avenue. Street parking is possible nearby.

The Nations Wall – Part 5

Graffiti mural street art Nashville

This is the fifth in the series on The Nations Wall, a massive set of murals on the west-facing wall of Music City Tents and Events, organized by the Nashville Walls Project. It’s the fifth piece going from left to right (roughly north to south), and it’s by the artist Troy Duff. Duff is a prolific local artist working mostly in a graffiti-heavy style. I believe the word here is “KREST.” (#krestonegraffiti is a tag Duff uses a lot on Instagram.) He’s been featured several times on this blog, including in Eastland graffiti and A window on Nashville.

Images of the entire wall with all the murals together can be found in Part 1.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

Located at 5901 California Ave, Nashville, TN 37209. The murals actually face the 1300 and 1400 block of 60th Avenue North, across from the intersection with Pennsylvania Avenue. Street parking is possible nearby.

Bugs Bunny and Company

Along the same wall that once housed the mural featured in Hidden skyline, one can now find a set of elaborate graffiti tags, as well as Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny, and of course a camel. Because camels. This art went in in early March, and may soon not be visible. One of those temporary electrical hookups you see at constructions sites has appeared in the yard in front of the mural. Even if the new building doesn’t complete;y hide it, the construction to come will certainly make it hard to take in the whole things. The only tag recognize belongs to Mobe Oner. On his Instagram page, he also credits The Rebel at Large, G. Lowks, bigskan2, and sticker_butthead (the last two are both private Instagram accounts). In any event, this is likely to be blocked from view soon, so check it out now!

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Located at the corner of Herman Street and 19th Avenue North, on the east side. Street parking is available. There is a lot of art on this group of buildings.

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