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PennigtonBendStormTroopers (2)

Big murals are going in down in the Gulch and on Charlotte, while new murals have appeared recently on Gallatin and elsewhere. The Dragon of Dragon Park continues its restoration. Metro Arts is about to unveil its civil rights installation next to City Hall (Friday, APril 21, 2:00 p.m.). But sometimes on NPArt, we go small. Particularly when art is likely to be short-lived. The Pennington Bend/River Trace neighborhood is a somewhat upscale rural community north of Opry Mills. The Briley Parkway bridge that crosses the river at the northwest corner of the bend has clearly gotten its share of graffiti tags, that have all been quickly painted over, from the looks of it. So our three Stormtroopers here probably won’t last too long, But then they are Stormtroopers – they are used to a quick demise.

Located on Pennigton Bridge Road, as it goes under Briley Parkway, near the intersection with Music Valley Drive. The Stormtroopers are on a wall on the east of the road, the side opposite of the river. There is a small area across the street in front of a gate you can park.

PennigtonStormTroopersFull

Down at the corner

SamsWestSide

The east side has Five Points, where Woodland, Clearview, and North 11th come together. But what do you call a place where four streets and a cemetery entrance come together? Busy – you call it busy. On the north side of the confluence of Clarksville Pike, 13th Avenue North, Clay Street and Dr. D.B. Todd Blvd, and across the street from the entrance to the Temple Cemetary, lies a humble building nearly as busy as the intersection it presides over. At 2012 Clarksville Pike, The Belly Restaurant, Sam’s Market, and Joyce’s Barber and Beauty Salon ensure a steady clientele. And on the west and east sides of the building, we find art. On the west side, a self-referential mural that includes the 2012 Clarksville building, though showing a mural that looks more like the one on the east side (see below). The businesses named are no longer here. Portraits of students fill out the mural. On the east side, a simpler mural, with an intriguing incomplete portrait. And on a low wall to the west of the building, a fading tribute to the Family Affair Diner, which is lost to history, or at least to Google.

Located at 2012 Clarksville Pike, right where it makes a strong turn to the south and becomes D.B. Todd Blvd. Parking available, though if you park in front of the building, you’ll be backing out onto a busy road when you leave.

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Betor Forever

BetorForeverFull

Several weeks ago, a major installation appeared on the 2600 block of Gallatin, on the Penny Recycling building. It’s one of the larger murals in town (though smaller certainly than the giant ones downtown.) I haven’t been able to get to it before because of cars parked at the Hairworld next door. Over a portrait of a young man in a hat surrounded by flowers and spray paint cans, the mural declares “Betor Forever.” Betor was the nom de plume of Ronald “Ronnie” Bobal, who died last December, a couple of weeks shy of his thirtieth birthday. Bobal was a prolific graffiti artist who worked with the UH and ICR crews. You can see some of his work and tributes to him herehere and here. The mural itself is signed by Sterbo and Tierdo.  Sterbo has also memorialized Bobal in the mural of colored spheres mentioned in Arctic colors. There are some other, smaller pieces at this site. I’ve included them in the gallery below.

Located at 2611 Gallatin Pike on the south side of the Pocket Money Recycling building, near the corner of Carolyn Avenue. Your best bet for parking is the Hairworld next door. All the images are on the south side of the building, though the camera is on the back of some construction debris so it may not be very permanent.

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Maybe you’d like some art?

MaiBee

At the site of the former Chief’s Family Diner on Buchanan Street, a new restaurant has opened, Mai-Bee’s Southern Cuisine. But this is not a food blog, (most of the time!) so what gets it noticed here is the mural, courtesy of Murals and More, the business home of artist Michael Cooper. Mai-Bee’s is a family owned, family run operation, and the mural and the restaurant honor the memory of the family matriarch. It’s new, and little bare bones, but definitely worth a try. And you get more art bang for your buck, because And her hair was an unfolded flower is right next door! The Buchanan Street corridor is beginning to see a number of new business. How it handles possibilities of gentrification remains to be seen.

Located at 1200 Buchanan Street. The mural faces 12th Avenue North. There is some parking at Mai-Bee’s and street parking is available. Grab some grub and enjoy the art!

What’s in a face?

Baxterface

Corporate America is not big on public art. Oh sure, major corporations routinely fund art projects, often to beautify their own facilities or to gain some good publicity, but when it comes to the brand, the brand must be pure. And if the company is building chain stores across the country, be they restaurants or retail, little deviation is allowed. Chain stores and restaurants seem to exude some kind of cloud that kills public art. The worst place to look for public art of any kind are those four-lane thoroughfares that have miles of national chains up and down them. Which is why I’m 99.99% certain this face on the property of the Family Dollar at the corner of Home and Gallatin was not authorized, and will probably be painted over soon enough. This is found on a concrete enclosure protecting the store’s garbage dumpster. Less interesting graffiti is found on the other two sides of the enclosure. A note to business owners tired of cleaning up graffiti – you should put in murals. Taggers are mostly respectful of mural art. You could save yourself the trouble of cleaning up graffiti and make the neighborhood more interesting in one go!

Located at 3407 Gallatin Pike. The face is found on a concrete “box” behind the store, at the corner of Home and Baxter, facing Baxter. Load up on unnecessary plastic objects and enjoy the art!

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