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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)

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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!

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!

Carter Vintage Guitars (Part 1)

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This is Nashville, and there are some big guitars is town. One of the most notable lies on the south side of Carter Vintage Guitars, on 8th Avenue South. The mural is a product of a mural company I’ve not featured on this blog before, Vermillion Murals, professional home of Jenna Boyko Colt and Brian Law. The mural is titled “Les Paul Gibson,” and of course features one of the iconic guitars from that series. Vermillion is also responsible for the mural on the north side of Carter Vintage – I’ll feature that mural in another upcoming post.

Part 2

Located at 625 8th Avenue South. The mural is on the south side of the building, across the street from Jackalope Brewing Company. There is free street parking, if you are lucky, a block away on Ninth. Carter Vintage has customer parking, and there is paid parking between Eighth and Ninth. Check out the vintage guitars and enjoy the art!

You sure that was just a sugar pill?

FullMikeShinemural

Down on Roy Acuff Place, across the street from historic RCA Studio B, a surreal scene may make you doubt your sanity. Two singing cowboys, one atop a crawfish, the other astride a snapping turtle, adorn the south wall of the building that holds Carnival Music and Little Extra Music. The surreal scene is brought to us by artist Mike Shine, who’s work often reflects a world just a little off-kilter, and often a whole lot. The mural itself is part of the Nashville Walls Project, which I described in Guitars and automobiles. You can see a slideshow of Shine working on the mural on the NWP website. Just lay off the peyote, ok?

The address of the building is 24 Music Square West, but the mural itself faces the 1600 block of Roy Acuff Place. This is a tough neighborhood to park in, though easier on the weekend. You might have to walk a bit, or catch it on a guided tour of Music Row!

SnappingTurtleandCowboyCrawdadandCowboy

This is Nashville, so guitars

Guitar statue public art NashvilleSometimes you find public art where you least expect it. Strip malls, particularly the nicer ones, tend to have pretty slim pickings. But the Nashville West shopping center is a little different, in that embedded in the parking lot is a quiet little park, the H.G. Hill park. And on the northwest side of the park are two guitars, because of course there are. The one below is dedicated to Les Paul, the Wizard of Waukesha. As yet, I have no information on who made these.

Located at 6710 Charlotte Pike, in the Nashville West shopping center, more or less across the parking lot from Old Navy. Scads and scads of free parking, probably less so during Christmas shopping season. Take a break from consumerism and enjoy the park and the art!

Les Paul guitar statue public art Nashville

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