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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.

 

The Listening Room

Listening Room mural sign street art Nashville

The music venue The Listening Room Cafe has had many incarnations. Founded by Chris Blair, it first appeared in Franklin in 2006. Blair moved it to Cummins Station in 2008, and again to its current location on 4th Avenue un 2012. And it is on 4th Avenue that we find on a stark white wall this sign featuring The Listening Room’s logo, created by Michael Cooper of Murals and More. On the bottom right of the photo, you can see his usual signature, which as always includes his phone number.

Located at 618 4th Avenue South. There is some limited parking at the Listening Room and some street parking on Elm Street. As the mural faces a parking lot, your best bet is to visit early in the day, well before show time. Enjoy the music and enjoy the art!

As long as the grass shall grow

Meulman mural street art Nashville

On this blog, I have been a little slow on documenting the big murals downtown, and this is one of the last I’ve gotten to. Like many of these murals, this one is part of the Nashville Walls Project. It was created in 2016 (aren’t I timely?) by the Dutch artist Niels Shoe Meulman. It’s done in a style he calls “Calligrafiti,” mixing elements of graffiti and calligraphy. In this case, it was also a messy process, as you can see from the photo series on the NWP website. The words come from the chorus of a song written by Peter LaFarge and performed by Johnny Cash, “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow.” It’s found on Cash’s 1964 album, Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, a concept album about the history and problems of Native Americans. It’s a reference to the broken promises in many of the treaties signed between the United States and Native Americans.

As long as the moon shall rise, as long as the rivers flow
As long as the sun will shine, as long as the grass shall grow

Located at 144 Fifth Avenue North, the address of the L & C Garage. It lies directly behind the Downtown Presbyterian Church. Obviously, there is parking, but as this is downtown, so none of the nearby parking is free.

The Gold Rush, R.I.P

Gold Rush Mural street art Nashville

News has just come down that The Gold Rush, a fabled bar long=resident at Elliston Place, has closed for good. It’s a bit of a stunner for anyone who knows the history of this neighborhood, but change in Nashville stops for no one. So the fate of the wagon train mural on the back of the building is uncertain. Coincidentally, I got this car-free picture just a week or so before the news broke. Because The Gold Rush’s website and social media is also shuttered, I’ve been unable to really research the origin of this unsigned mural. If anyone knows who made it, drop me a line. Someone has written across the Sun in the mural, “You are not a rock star. Shut up. Be humble.” (see below) I don’t know if that’s original or not. Also in this parking lot, there is a small mural of a marijuana plant on the east side, and on the west, some graffiti art (actually on the wall of The End), at least part of which was done by Troy Duff. There is a small image of a crying cat (?) partially obscured by the graffiti art. In the slideshow below, I’ve included a full version of that image I took some months ago, along with the other art around the parking lot.

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Located at 2205 Elliston Place. The art lies faces the alley behind the bar, on the north side. Most of the nearby parking is either in a pay lot or uses a parking meter.

Galaxy Club

Galaxy Club mural street art Nashville

At the time of this posting, Galaxy Club on Murfreesboro gives every impression of being closed, with part of its parking lot torn up and the sign out front taken down and lying against the building. But a recent Instagram post suggests that it’s still a going concern, just beset with construction issues at the moment. So what I thought would be a post about the likely imminent destruction of this piece once a developer grabbed the property is nothing of the kind. The sign/mural is signed “Nacho,” which is not a signature I’ve seen on a mural decorating a Latino business before. Certainly, it’s one of the only space-themed outdoor murals in town. The only other one I can think of is Galactic Gardens, which features mostly flowers but does have space imagery as well.

Located at 1204 Murfreesboro Road, just a little north of Briley Parkway. During the day when the club is closed, there is lots of available parking.

Get your tickets!

Tickets mural street art Nashville

Sometimes, art sneaks up on you. I’ve driven by this wall of giant ticket stubs at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium/Musician’s Hall of Fame and Museum many times and it took a while for it to register as art. If you peruse the many, many articles out there about the “20 Murals You Must See In Nashville!” you’ll be hard pressed to find it. Yet given all the concertgoers who pass by it, it has definitely been in a lot of Instagram shots. Indeed, it seems a little unnatural to post a daytime photo of it because nighttime is when people usually saddle up next to it for a photo, though Nashville Ballet was there in the daylight a couple years ago for some publicity shots. The mural seems to have gone up probably in 2016 and certainly wasn’t there in 2013. The oldest ticket shown is from an April 4, 1965 Peter Paul & Mary show, while the newest is a Lady Antebellum ticket for a February 22, 2012 show. Both are found in the collum next to the doors,  near the top. The mural is printed, not painted. There are individual giant stubs inside.

Tickets mural street art Nashville

Tickets mural street art Nashville

Located at 417 4th Avenue North. The mural actually faces James Roberston Parkway, on the auditorium’s east side. This is downtown, so parking is nearby, none of it free.

Crying Wolf, Part 1

Crying Wolf Full

I’ve been trying to get away from these multi-part posts as they are a pain, but there is just too much going on at Crying Wolf to cram into one post. I had long despaired of featuring this mural, as there are so often cars in that parking lot, but I got lucky recently. This mural went up in April 2017, as part of the “Do the Road” project – “A Traveling Artist Residency Program in an RV” – sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon. Hence all the outlines of the PBR symbol scattered on the mural. This one is the product of four artists, Kit Mizeres, Lauren Asta, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, and Denton Burrows. There’s a fence in the back that was done by Ratchi NYC that was part of the same project that I’ll feature in another post. All are from out of town, which helps to bring diversity to the outdoor art scene in Nashville.

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Located at 825 Woodland Sreet. The mural faces South 9th Street. Obviously, there’s parking at Crying Wolf, as well as some limited street parking. You may have to walk a bit. Try early in the morning if you want to take in the whole mural.

Music City Modified

Auto modifier murals street art Nashville

I have to thank whoever runs Music City Modified’s Facebook page for actually crediting the artist who made these murals. It’s not unusual for a business to post something celebrating their new mural or other art without so much as a peep as to who the artist is. And in this case, the signature of Folek Kelof was hard for me to decipher. Besides a large rendering of the Music City Modified logo, Kelof has also produced a mural obviously inspired by the art on Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” album. Here, the empty hand from the album holds a wrench, the blank t-shirt gets an MCM logo, and the belt gets MCM’s black-and-red colors, but there’s no mistaking the iconic image.

Boss mural street art Nashville

Logo mural street art Nashville

Located at 105 Rains Avenue at the corner with Zimerlee Street. The murals face Zimerlee. As you can see, there’s parking.

Playlist

Groove

And the award for the thinnest mural in Nashville goes to The Groove! This is, in fact, a great use of space, matching the available canvas to the identity of the business it’s attached to. The Groove is, as the sign says, a source for new and used records and CDs (you may find their Facebook page more helpful). Something of a Nashville institution, The Groove has been at its current location since 2010, but only acquired the mural in May. Created by Dakota Jernigan and the artist who goes by ArtBarfer, the mural features a number of album covers, including classic covers from Charlie Mingus,  The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Captain Beefheart, King Crimson, Yes, Stevie Wonder, ELO, Prince, Grace Jones, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Björk, MF Doom, Gorillaz, Christina Aguilera, and David Bowie. Jernigan has a video and slideshow of the creation of the mural on his Instagram page, as does The Groove (photos, more photosvideo).

GrooveLeftGrooveRight

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GrooveSig

Located at 1103 Calvin Avenue, near the intersection with Gallatin Road. Street parking is available. If you want to see it without cars parked in front, try early morning on the weekends.

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