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An Elite Eagle

This is not a March 3 tornado anniversary blog post. Well, mostly not. Two days after the tornado, I posted a piece called “What We Lost in the Storm,” about the outdoor art in East Nashville damaged or destroyed by the tornado. A couple days later I also wrote about that happened in North Nashville and Germantown. For the East Nashville article, the featured photo at the top of the blog post, the one you saw if someone shared the article, was of Kim Radford’s eagle mural at Bill’s Elite Bail Bonding Company on Main Street. I noted at the time I had never actually done a proper blog spot about this mural. I am now finally correcting this.

Radford did the Elite Bonding eagle mural in August 2019. I had a chance to talk to her about it then, and my memory is that she told me that the owner wanted something patriotic, hence the eagle. This was one of Radford’s first outdoor murals in Nashville, and she has since gone on to be one of the more prolific muralists in town. For example, most of the murals at Grimey’s are her work.

Because of its themes, I had intended to save the Elite Bonding mural for a patriotic day, like July 4 or Veteran’s Day, and had there been no tornado, that’s exactly what I would have done. That this mural survived with only minor damage is miraculous, and a testament to both the arbitrary nature of tornado damage and the willingness of the business owner, Bill Tomlinson, to repair and restore his building instead of raze it and start over. When Radford originally did this mural, she continued the geometric flag pattern on the opposite, west-facing side of the building. That half of the building collapsed, and the roof was ripped off, but the wall with the eagle survived.

Eagle Mural street art Nashville tornado
The Elite Bonding Eagle by Kim Radford as it appeared on March 5, 2020.

The damage to it is modest. Mostly what looks like damage is actually places that weren’t painted in the first place because something was covering that part of the wall before the storm. There is a stripe that looks like a repaired crack on the right of the mural. In fact, there used to be a gutter there. That stripe was never painted in the first place. The only real damage is a few dings and scratches. A few quite reminders of the storm, if you know what to look for.

I didn’t get any pictures of the completed mural before the storm. For that, you’ll need to check Radford’s Instagram page – here it complete, and there also several shots of the mural in progress. I do have my own nighttime shot of the eagle in progress.

Elite Eagle Mural Nashville street art

Located at 940 Main Street. The mural is on the east side of the building, facing away from downtown. There is plenty of parking here and at nearby businesses.

A Colorful Abode

As more and more business owners in Nashville come to see art as an essential part of their operation, the trend will spread to more kinds of businesses. For some time, it was almost entirely local retail that sought to decorate their outer walls with murals and graffiti art, and really only in certain neighborhoods. Bars, restaurants, and auto repair places were among the early adopters, as well as a number of immigrant-owned businesses. But now the movement has spread to all kinds of businesses, both local and national, including apartment buildings.

Gallatin House Mural Nashville street art

The current (March 1, 2021) Google Street View of the apartment building at 3811 Gallatin Pike shows it as a drab, grey building (the photo is from June 2019). Out front are two signs – one advertising rentals, the other stating that a “handyman painter” was wanted. I don’t know if the artist who goes by Sterbo answered that particular ad, but he’s the one who turned the drab building into something much more colorful. As you can see from the pictures above and below, the mural actually wraps around the building a bit.

Gallatin House Mural Nashville street art

There was a time when the building next door, at 3807, was also quite colorful, with a number of pop-art portraits on it. But that was when it was the hookah bar called Cloud IX, which got shut down a few years ago. Now it’s a bar called Henry James, which has a small, more debonair mural in keeping with its namesake, which I’ll feature later.

Located at 3811 Gallatin Pike. While there is parking, it might be best to park at one of the businesses near by. This building is home to a number of people, so be respectful if you visit.

Lockeland Design Mural

This mural is hard for me to miss, as I only live a block away – though it’s not the closest mural to my house! This is unmistakably the work of Andee Rudloff, along with students of Lockeland Design Center, an elementary school in in Lockeland Springs where the mural is found. You might know Lockeland Design for its strong reputation, or you might know it because it was featured in a Kleenex ad that honored a long-time janitor.

Rudloff is know for her community murals, and she has done several at schools, including two murals not far away at Warner Arts Magnet Elementary.

The Lockeland Design mural sits on the back of a “portable” classroom (it’s been in place for several years) behind the main school building. It’s filled with a number of school-related themes, and from this mural I have finally learned that the school mascot is the Lions. I like how the design makes creative use of the HVAC vents.

The mural also honors the class of 2020. I wondered about that, but because Lockeland Design has recently acquired an Instagram account, I was able to learn that the mural is a legacy product of the 4th grade class of 2020 (LDC is a K-4 school). The design of the mural includes drawings from the Class of 2020, and it went up last November.

Lockeland Design Mural Nashville street art

I managed to get a picture of the mural just after Rudloff had drawn the outline of the design. This is how she does community murals – she draws the outline, and then invites participants to help her fill it with color. Over on Lockeland Design’s Instagram page, you can find a video of Rudloff drawing the design, as well as photos of students helping to complete the project.

Located at 105 South 17th Street. That’s the address of the school. The mural is found on the back side of the school, and can be seen from the 1700 block of Woodland Street. Remember that this is a school. While the backyard is usually open, limit your visits there to when school is not in session. Street parking is available.

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 7

Of the many fences surrounding Columbine Park in Berry Hill with murals that depict famous musicians, only one is not immediately visible from the street, as it is in the parking lot of what used to be the main House of Blues building. (The whole complex of House of Blues properties in Berry Hill was bought in January, 2019 by Universal Music Group.) The mural can be seen from East Iris Drive, but a water tower partially obscures the view. Like the whole set, this fence was created by Scott Guion for the now closed Nashville branch of the House of Blues.

Faces Mural Nashville Street art
T Bone Burnett

This particular fence is just as eclectic as the others, with a range of artists representing everything from classic country to modern hip-hop. Like the other fences, the people depicted are shown at a range of ages, and this is also one of the only fences where the majority of people shown are alive. Prominently displayed with a halo of rays that make his image look almost three-dimensional is T Bone Burnett, a guitarist and song-writer best known for his work as an influential and prolific producer.

Faces mural Nashville street art
Patsy Cline and Stevie Ray Vaughan

In the middle are two stars who perished young in aviation accidents, the legendary Patsy Cline and the wildly talented guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. They were only 30 and 35, respectively, when they died.

Faces Mural Nashville Street art
Joe Walsh and Snoop Dogg

Next to Vaughn is a portrait of another guitarist, Joe Walsh, who fist gained fame with the James Gang and then became a superstar with the Eagles. And at the far left is Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Lion, aka Snoop Doggy Dogg, aka Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. He’s labeled here as Snoop Lion, a name he used for a time in 2013 in promotion of reggae record, and is depicted engaging in one of his favorite activities.

See Part 1 of this series for why I’m just now writing about these murals. Spoiler alert: You can finally park in Berry Hill.

Located at 517 East Iris Drive. The mural faces north across the parking lot towards West Iris. The parking lot is most likely to be empty on Sunday. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

Incline

Along the East Bank Greenway, which lies between the river and Nissan Stadium, there’s a stand of trees a little north of the Ghost Ballet sculpture (the red twisty thing in the picture above). At the north end of the trees is a giant gear ring embedded in the greenway, which not many people know is called “Threshold.” At the south end of the stand of trees, just off the greenway in the direction of the river is a less well-known piece appropriately called “Incline.”

Incline Sculpture Nashville street art

It’s a long metal beam with a gear wheel welded to it, that has rusted in the weather. There’s no fanfare to it, it’s just this thing sticking out of the ground, daring you to make sense of it. Like “Threshold,” it’s by Joe Sorci. It’s art based on found materials. Like Ghost Ballet and Threshold, it’s made from objects left behind by the barge companies like Ingram Industries that used to operate on the east bank.

Incline Sculpture Nashville street art

It was installed in 1999, and it’s the product of a grant from the Metro Development and Housing Authority (which may explain the lack of a plaque – Metro Arts is very good about signage). The only reason I know its name is it is recorded in the Metro-Owned Condition Assessment Report, published in 2017. Its condition was listed as good, noting that it’s structurally sound and has insect nests, notably in the gear wheel. (Be careful!)

Incline Gear Nashville street art

There are two other small pieces by Sorci along the stand of trees. Near Threshold, there’s pieces of metal embedded in a concrete viewing ramp. Metro refers to them as an “Industrial Salvage Mosaic,” which apparently is not its formal name. It might not have one.

Industrial Mosaic Nasville street art

The other piece is large metal ring that serves as a bench. I don’t have a picture but will add one later.

Located on the East Bank Greenway, which parallels Titan’s Way. If you are on the river side of the stadium, Incline is almost directly lined up with the corner of Titan’s Way and Victory Avenue, which runs along the south end of the stadium. There’s some free parking for the park on the other side of the pedestrian bridge that lies south of Incline.

Riverside Revival

It is something of a small trend in East Nashville that some church buildings have been repurposed in recent years. The rapidly shifting demographics of the region and the even more rapid rise in real estate values is undoubtedly behind this. The members of Family Affairs Ministries decided its home at the corner of Riverside and Porter was too large and too expensive to maintain, so they sold it to The Boedecker Foundation in 2017. (They put the money to good use – their new digs ain’t bad.)

The Boedecker Foundation is the project of George Boedecker Jr., co-founder and former CEO of Crocs. His foundation renovated and expanded the church complex, reopening it recently as Riverside Revival, an event space as well as a nonprofit hub to be called the East Nashville Community Collaborative.

And of course it has a mural, because more and more, that’s what businesses and enterprises in Nashville do. It’s the work of Danielle Duer, with assistance from Andee Rudloff. While Rudloff has done a number of murals around town, I believe this is Duer’s first outdoor mural in Nashville. It went in last November, and its riot of leaves and flowers is in keeping with much of Duer’s work. While currently sold out, Duer even has a handbag called “Garden Grow” in her online shop with a very similar design.

If you look closely at the picture at top, you’ll see three small, young trees that are currently leafless in the landscaped area in front of the mural. In time, not only will they leaf out, but they will grow. The leaves of the trees will blend with the leaves of the mural behind them. This mural is destined to become part of a three-dimensional installation. It is even four-dimensional, for the trees will change with the years and the seasons. Often, something blocking your mural is detrimental, but in this case I think it will lend vibrancy and long-term energy to this piece.

Riverside Revival Mural Nashville Street art
Riverside Revival Mural Nashville street art

Located at 1600 Riverside Drive. The mural is on the Porter Road side of the complex, and faces towards Riverside. There is a small parking lot on the other side of the annex that the mural is on, and a much larger one on the other side of the church building. Not much street parking is nearby.

Baked on Eighth

If you live in Nashville and pay any attention to murals, you’ve seen this. It’s on a major thoroughfare, it adorns a beloved sweet shop, so of course people put this on their Instagram. It’s a bachelorette favorite. Posting this now is not journalism!

This mural for Baked on Eighth appeared back in February, 2018. It is appropriately emblazoned with the slogan “Life Can be Sweet,” and is festooned with cookies and pies and cakes, exactly what Baked on 8th is known for. They change their menu regularly, but they focus on the sweet stuff.

The mural is the creation of Susanna Chapman. Chapman is a local illustrator and muralist who specializes in watercolors and book design, mostly children’s books. To my knowledge, this is her only outdoor mural in Nashville, but her illustration work is playful and energetic and would definitely lend itself to some fun murals. Hopefully we’ll see more from her.

This mural is hard to photograph. I like to photograph on cloudy days to avoid shadows, but the pastels look a little dark in anything besides bright sunlight. So imagine this on a sunnier day. Or better, make an order on a sunny day at Baked on Eighth, and go see it for yourself.

Located at 1512 8th Avenue South. The mural is on the south side of the building, looking down 8th Avenue away from downtown. There’s parking in back of Baked on Eight and there’s street parking just to the north on Lynwood Avenue, where you will find the mural featured in Hanging Around.

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