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Hanging Around

Ready for a pun? Hanging Around is a custom frame shop. And if you look at the mural, you can probably guess it’s found at the corner of 8th Ave S. and Lynwood. Back in May, the store acquired a new work by Kristy Oakley, of Where the Art Is. Oakley has produced community murals before, and while this is more focused on the store, it has some of the same elements of familiar local sights she has used in those murals. The skyline is roughly what you would see a block or so north of Hanging Around as you crest the hill on Eighth heading downtown, including the State Capitol and the Sheraton building, though large trees block out the view of the Batman Building at that spot. Look closely at the mural and you’ll see Oakley has put in a couple extra plugs for herself. Besides the main signature, there’s a “Where the Art Is” bumper sticker on the van and the luggage tag says “Kristy Oakley.” There’s hot chicken in the van and references to our local sports teams, and of course a guitar. The frame is reminiscent of a similar though less crowded one in one of her Donelson community murals.  (This is the other one.)

Hanging Around Mural street art Nashville

Located at 1508 Eighth Avenue South. The mural is on the north side of the building, facing Lynwood Avenue. There is street parking on Lynwood.

Skyline Guitar

Situated just out of view a very busy lower Dickerson Road is this relatively new guitar mural. It’s found on the north side of 1006 Whites Creek Pike, just steps away from the intersection with Dickerson. While the building seems to have four entrances, the only business I can find with that address is Skyline Lofts, an Airbnb location. Or two of them, to be precise, Loft B and Loft C. Whether the lofts take up the whole building is unclear. The mural is a bit more obvious, though unless you are in the habit of taking Whites Creek as a quick shortcut to Dickerson from Fern Avenue and on to downtown, you’d be unlikely to ever see it. It’s reminiscent of some of the other guitar murals in town. It evokes, very quietly, the idea of a simple skyline in the body of the guitar, though if you look closely, the last building to the right, just above the signature, might be the Batman Building. The signature gives two internet links (and a phone number), one of which is dead, JohnCole45.com. The Instagram page, however, does work, @keepitrail, under the name “C.45,” presumably John Cole. This mural doesn’t look a lot like his other work, but you have to give the client what they want! A small piece of the mural actually wraps around to the front of the building, which you can see in the angled shot below.

Guitar Mural street art Nashville

Located at 1006 Whites Creek Pike, on the north side of the building, facing away from downtown. There’s a wide shoulder on the opposite side of Whites Creek where you can park. Be careful, this is a shortcut street with fairly fast traffic.

La Hacienda Taqueria

Facing the front parking lot of La Hacienda Taqueria, one of the original Mexican restaurants on Nolensville Road, is a mural that has been seen by tens if not hundreds of thousands of people by now. But it’s unsigned, and most people would have no idea who might have made it. Even the staff just points to the signature on the main mural inside, which was clearly done by the same artist. It reads “M. Torok ’99.” Well, there is a painter and muralist named “M. Torok” with a deep connection to Nashville, Mitchell Torok. Torok, who now resides in Texas, had a long career in country music as a performer and, in partnership with his late wife, Gail “Ramona” Redd, a songwriter. He is best known for the songs “Mexican Joe,” (which was an even bigger hit for Jim Reeves) and “Caribbean,” and he and Redd wrote successful songs for a number of other artists. But before he became a recording star, he got a dual degree in Art and Journalism from Stephen F. Austin University. He must have had a reputation as a visual artist in Nashville because he  “was commissioned to paint a 110-foot, five-panel mural titled “The History of the Grand Ol’ Opry”, which was on display in the Ryman Auditorium until it was remodeled for live performances.” (Wikipedia) (That remodeling happened in 1994.) He also painted an 85-foot long mural called “Elvis-A-Rama” detailing the life of Elvis Presley, which was last seen in a museum owned by Jimmy Velvet that closed in 2006. It’s unclear what happened to that mural. The La Hacienda murals, including the ones inside, are a little worse for wear, but still going strong. The outdoor one featured here has been broken up by the construction of an outdoor seating area, but you can see that hidden part below in the slideshow. And being from 1999, it is definitely one of the oldest outdoor murals in town. That I know of only the Chromatics mural (1993) and the renovated painter mural at the Hard Rock Cafe are older (date unknown, but it was hidden for decades by an adjoining building that was torn down in or just before 1994, when Hard Rock opened). The Angels Will Rise/Seventh Letter mural came just after La Hacienda, in 2001. As of this writing, Torok at 90 years old is apparently still alive and painting and writing in Texas, making him perhaps the oldest and certainly one of the oldest artists I’ve featured on this blog.

Hacienda Mural street art Nashville

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Located at 2615 Nolensville Pike. The mural actually sits on the north wall (facing downtown) of La Hacienda Supermercado next door at 2617. There is parking in front and in the rear of the restaurant (the rear parking is reached from Grandview Avenue). If you want any chance to see it without cars parked in front, arrive before 10:00 a.m., which is when the restaurant opens each day.

Set Free

Madison is not awash in outdoor art, so this particularly bright and bold recent addition to Madison’s visual fabric really stands out. It’s on the side of  Set Free Church on Gallatin. Set Free, housed in an historic storefront, is a church that emphasizes charity, particularly towards the homeless. That’s appropriate, as it’s set in one of the less prosperous parts of Davidson County. The artist is Max Gramajo, who goes by Maxx242. He’s based out of Southern California in the Los Angeles area, and as far as I know, this is his first work in the Nashville area. The pastor at Set Free, Roosevelt Sargent, who goes by “Pastor Flo,” also has connections to the Los Angeles area, so it’s not so surprising this Los Angeles artist wound up doing work in Nashville. (Sargent has a picture on his Instagram feed that shows the mural in progress.) I like how even a Californian knows to put the Batman Building in a Nashville mural! Also credited in the signature box (see below) are Jason Galaz and Milton Chavez (and on his Instagram post about the mural the artist also credits “Super Dave.”)

Set Free Mural street art Nshville

Signatures

Located at 505 Gallatin Pike South.  The mural is no the north side of the building facing Harris Street.

The Delgado calacas

In a small shop in the collection of galleries and other businesses at 919 Gallatin Ave is a business with a long history. Delgado Guitars had its start as a family business in 1923 in the city of Torreón, Coahuila, in north-central Mexico. Over the last century, the family and the business moved many places, eventually winding up in Nashville. And over those years Delgado Guitars has maintained both instrument making traditions and Mexican cultural traditions. Thus the very Mexican subject of calacas and calaveras found in the mural on their front door. Calacas are the skeletons, often in fancy dress, that are so important in Mexican art, particularly in representations of the Day of the Dead, while the calaveras are brightly painted skulls also common in Mexican art. They have a long history, as political satire, but also as a reflection of Mexico’s roots in Mayan, Aztec, and other Amerindian cultures. The artist who produced this work comes from another part of the world. Olasubomi Aka-Bashorun was born in Lagos, Nigeria and grew up in Oklahoma. He now has a gallery in The Arcade, the DBO Gallery. While the Delgado mural is a different theme from much of his work, its bright, strong colors are very much like his other paintings. This mural verges on hidden art. Not only is it impossible to see from the road, but also, since it’s on a door, you won’t see it when Delgado Guitars is open! So you’ll need to come twice, right? Certainly you will if you want to see both the guitars and the mural.

Calacas mural street art Nashville

Calavera mural street art Nashville

Located at 919 Gallatin Avenue. There is a fair amount of parking available at the venue.

 

Carter Vintage Guitars (Part 2)

CarterFull

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!

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.

Nashville Diverse

CilantroGuitar

Cilantro Mexican Grill has made it to this blog before. In their parking lot is a huge mural celebrating the Predators, which I featured in Smashville, Mexican style. Here we walk around to the other side if the building to find a gigantic guitar. Although it looks somewhat similar to the one featured in Carter Vintage Guitars (Part 1) (and yes, I still need to do part 2), it’s a different artist. The Carter murals are done by Vermillion Murals, while this mural is the product of Marco Vazquez. The signature, which is hard to see in the picture (below the bottom end of the guitar) also gives the name of the mural  — “Nashville Diverse” (hence the title of this blog post). Like a lot of artists who work with Hispanic businesses, there’s a phone number if you want to commision him (I haven’t found any website or social media for him). There are also a couple of traditional images more common to Hispanic restaurants and grocery stores (see below), a plate of fajitas and a molcajete mixto – two things I have never ordered in a Mexican restaurant!

Located at 2330 8th Avenue South. The guitar mural faces Melpark Drive, on the north side of the building. The food murals are found on the south side of the building, near the entrance. There is some free parking on Melpark, and Cilantro has a fair amount of parking. Chow down and enjoy the art!

Acoustic skyline

AcousticSky

Sometimes I have to really dig to get the skinny on some piece of outdoor art. Sometimes I come up with nothing. And sometimes the Tennessean does my work for me. This Division Street mural, found on the side of A+ Storage, is the work of Harpeth Middle School teacher Allison Johnson. It went up back in November 2016 (so this is not exactly breaking news). The A+ owner saw her work hanging in 3rd and Lindsley, where Johnson works part-time, and commisioned the work. The hashtag #4theloveof music615 leads ultimately to her Instagram page, while 4TheLoveofMusic is the name of her Etsy page. If you look very closely below the word “gulch,” there is a tiny signature for Drew Johnson, Allison’s brother, who helped her do the mural.

Located at 911 Division Street. The mural is on the west side of the building. It faces a large paid parking lot, which, like many of the paid lots around the Gulch, advertises one-hour free parking. Make it part of your Gulch visit and enjoy the art!

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