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The Colors of Capital City Computers

Right at the end of last year, a new mural appeared on the Capital City Computers building on Gallatin. For some time, this wall had held a mural promoting Muddy Roots, the music festival and record label, though I never wrote about it. You can see it here.

This new mural is by the artist who goes by Sterbo. Its use of lines and colors reminds me to some extent of another one of his works, which I featured in the post Line It Up. But while that piece is frenetic and energetic, this is a calmer and more soothing work, and is also even more abstract. While the Line It Up piece played around with three-dimensionality, this piece is more about the uses of color. It creates a set of optical illusions, such that some of the stripes you see on this mural look as if they were shadows cast on the wall by some weird, alien trees.

For such a small place, the Capital City Computer building is pretty festooned with murals. While the Sterbo mural is on the north side, the south has long hosted what I call the Young Warlords mural, a portrait of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as they looked back in the 1980s that was done by Bryan Deese. Capital City uses it on their webpage. And there’s another mural by Jack Coyle on the back I haven’t written about yet that looks to have gone in the same time the Sterbo piece did. Hey, get your computer fixed and take in a gallery of murals in one go!

Located at 1106 Gallatin Ave. The mural faces north towards an alley halfway between Sharpe Avenue and W Greenwood Avenue. Publix is across the street. There is parking at Capital City, particularly in back.

Star Struck Vintage

When you are tucked away in a somewhat hidden spot, it helps to be bold. The spot where Star Struck Vintage is located is indeed a little out of sight, and its mural is definitely bold and hard to miss.

Star Struck Vintage is a vintage clothing store that is an offshoot of a long-standing and now-closed New York vintage store that first opened in Edgehill in 2013. Early last year they moved to the complex of shops and offices at 604 Gallatin Ave, right at the corner with Eastland Avenue. The unit they are in is on the backside of the complex and tucked under an awning, so some bright, pop-art colors are useful for catching the eye of passers-by. Of course, it’s also right in front of that giant hot-air balloon mural by Kelsey Montague, so that’s a clue if you need to know where to find them.

Vintage mural Nashville street art

Their mural is the work of Anthony Billups of Music City Murals, who continues to show great versatility in his work. Star Struck Vintage sells vintage clothing from the ’30s to the ’80s, which probably explains the Rubik’s cube. While the cowboy boots and hat are standard Nashville icons, a look at Star Stuck’s Instagram page suggests they’ve been getting a lot of material from the local music scene.

Vintage mural Nashville streert art

Because of the location with its columns and the fact that it wraps around the building, it’s pretty much impossible to take a clear picture of the whole thing, which is why I’m posting several pictures of it. I suspect the detail area above is what most people will want their picture taken in front of.

Vintage mural Nashville street art

This view is more what you would see from Eastland as you walk by. Billups put up a video of himself working on the mural, and Star Struck put up a different one. The woman you see working with Billups is his wife, Katje Billups.

Vintage Mural Nashville street art

Located at 604 Gallatin Avenue, at the corner with Eastland Avenue. That’s the address of the building. The mural faces an alley on the backside of 604 Gallatin and is visible from Eastland. If you can see the big balloon mural, you’ve found it. Parking can be tricky here. Your best bet is the free parking garage right across Eastland from the mural and Star Struck Vintage. (Lower level – the upper level belongs to the pharmacy.)

The Gulch Dog Park, Part 1 – Cassidy Bidwell

Having just ended one series, I start a new one. But this one will be shorter than the “Fences of Fame” series, as The Gulch Dog Park only has six murals and a couple of interesting signs. In the summer of 2019, MarketStreet Enterprises, the city-appointed master developer of The Gulch, opened a contest for new murals for a dog park that was then still under development. The new dog park lies at the top of a hill on the west side of the The Gulch, overlooking I-40, just uphill from the Turnip Truck. The artists who won the contest are largely new names in the mural world of Nashville, expanding the roster of our local muralists.

Working from the north to south (north is towards Broadway, south is away from Broadway), the first mural we come to is by Cassidy Bidwell. Bidwell is a local graphic artist and illustrator. Her illustration work, like that seen in this mural, tends to be brightly colored and has a strong pop-art vibe. Though I don’t know when she first created it, the central design of this mural, the record on a record player with the slogan “Lookin Pretty Music City,” first appeared on her Instagram account last May. In that post she lamented how quiet Nashville had become in the early days of the lockdown, and looked forward to it becoming normal. While it certainly hasn’t gotten back to normal, Nashville is definitely nosier right now.

Based on pictures from the announcement of the contest, I think the rock was already in place before the mural went in. This is a smaller part of the park, which is divided into two sections, one for small dogs (where Boswell’s mural is), and one for larger dogs at the south end of the park.

Located at 1216 Pine Street, at the top of the hill. That’s the address of the dog park. This mural is actually close to an alley that lies between Pine and Laurel Street, at the north end of the dog park. It faces east towards 12th Avenue South. This is The Gulch, so plenty of parking, none of it free. However, most Gulch parking is free for the first hour or even longer. Check the signage at each lot and garage.

Berry Hill Fences of Fame, Part 10

I’m finishing this series with the smallest of the fences around Columbine Park in Berry Hill that are adorned with portraits of iconic musicians. It so happens that in going clockwise around the park, this is where I landed. Like all the others, it was done by Scott Guion, and all were sponsored by the Nashville branch of the House of Blues, which has since been sold to the Universal Music Group. (That story has a picture of Guion working on the first fence I featured in this series.)  

It has on it three artists who have something of an unusual connection. John Fogerty of course gained fame with Creedence Clearwater Revival, but he fell out with them so strongly that he wouldn’t even play CCR material for decades, given the legal battles that ensued from that fallout. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs first gained fame collaborating as Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. After years as a defining act in bluegrass, they parted ways over the future of their music. Scruggs was open to experimentation, while Flatt valued a traditionalist approach.

Fun fact: CCR holds an unusual record on the Billboard charts. They have the largest number of number 2 hits without ever reaching number 1 – five. (I highly recommend the podcast that link is from, Hit Parade by Chris Molanphy. Lots of great, nerdy fun about the music charts.)

This particular fence is also part of the reason it took me so long to write about this series. When I first shot these murals in 2017, there was no parking around Columbine Park or anywhere nearby. On a Sunday afternoon, I briefly parked in the empty parking lot of the business where the mural is found to grab this shot. A passerby in an enormous truck proceeded to berate me for being disrespectful to that business and just being a bad person in general. I didn’t really feel comfortable recommending people go see the murals and be subjected to the same thing, or be forced to walk from a long way away. Berry Hill also doesn’t have sidewalks. But there is in fact now parking all around the park and its has become a more welcoming environment.

Located at 2801 Columbine Place at the corner of Columbine Place (west) and East Iris Drive. The mural faces the park. It is set back a ways from the road, so it might be best to admire it from a distance. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9

Smashville (The Stage on Broadway)

Sometimes it’s good to walk down an alley – you might find art! This particular alley is not super-secret. It lies between Ryman Auditorium on one side and a bunch of Broadway honkytonks on the other. And it contains one of the Smashville murals that the Predators commissioned Audie Adams to do around the downtown area. (Adams also goes by Audroc.)

This particular mural is on the back side of The Stage on Broadway, hence the logo next to snarling saber-toothed Predator. While usually I would crop a mural shaped like this vertically, I think the placement of this example, framed by the gutters and the gas meter, calls for a wider shot to give the full context.

The Predators have had a mixed season this year (2021), but as of this posting are still in contention. So why are they the Predators? What does that have to do with Nashville? When what is now the UBS Tower was being built in 1970, workers found the partial remains of a sabre-tooth cat, including some impressive fangs. Those bones are now found at Bridgestone Arena, home of the Predators. Hey, the Nashville soccer team chose a coyote as its mascot, after the coyote that managed to get in to a bathroom at the Music City Center. (His name is Tempo.)

This is part of a series of similar murals. I know of at least three others: one in SoBro, one at the downtown Jackalope, and another on the south side of Bridgestone Arena, which I haven’t written about yet. Given its proximity to the Ryman and Lower Broad, this one may be the most accessible to tourists, at least the kind of tourists who are here for the Ryman and Lower Broad.

Located at 412 Broadway. That’s the address of The Stage on Broadway. The alley lies between and runs parallel to Broadway and Commerce Street. It’s closer to Broadway than Commerce, and it runs along the south side of the Ryman. If you can find the alley, just look for The Stage’s neon sign sticking out into the alley. The mural is right next to it. This is downtown – lots of parking, almost none of it free.

I Believe in Marathon Village

Sometimes I find myself, a little sheepishly, finally putting a piece of art on the blog that everyone knows about, everyone has seen, thousands and thousands of people have photographed, and which went up years ago. Here’s a little secret – the original I Believe in Nashville mural, the one in 12 South, is not yet on the blog. Maybe I’ll rectify that for the blog’s 5th-year anniversary, which is coming up in June.

This of course is the I Believe in Nashville mural at Marathon Village. The I Believe series was created by Adrien Saporiti, and has become a cultural phenomenon and spawned imitators, some of which are in fact on the blog. This is the second of the originals that he has done that I have written about, the other one being the one on Basement East.

The Marathon mural has a small plaque next to it crediting the work to “Adrien Saporiti of DCXV Industries.” Saporiti stopped using the DCXV name some time ago (DCXV is “615” in Roman numerals, Nashville’s area code). He was for a time signing his murals with a hashtag that led to an Instagram page for “Juvenile Success,” but that has also gone by the wayside.

When I say there is an “I Believe in Nashville” industry, there most certainly is. It’s become part of local lore and local identity, and there are certainly many ways you can experience the whole phenomenon. Just check out IBelieveInNasvhille.com, the I Believe in Nashville Facebook page, and the I Believe in Nashville Instagram page. If you want your own version of the mural, you can find shirts, mugs, posters and more at the NashvilleTN Store, which supports several local non-profits.

Located at 1402 Clinton Street. That’s the address of Marathon Music Works, whose employee entranceway, prominently labeled “1402,” is right next to the mural. There is plenty of parking all around Marathon Village.

Feelin’ Lucky – Hawkers

One of the many things lost as a result of the closure of the long-standing East Nashville staple Family Wash was the mural of a giant multi-colored mule by Herb Williams that once adorned its building. But with a new restaurant in that spot, we also have a new mural.

Hawkers is an Asian street food chain based out of Florida that opened in the old Family Wash site on Main Street a few months ago. As such, it’s no surprise that the giant mural provided by Mobe Oner (aka Eric Bass) has a strong Asian theme. As part of their branding, Hawker uses an image of the familiar Maneki-neko, the Japanese beckoning cat. Wait, that’s what they are called? I didn’t know that they even had a name, but I learn a lot writing this blog.

Hawkers Mural Nashville street art

And yes, beckoning cat, not waving cat. In Japan, that’s a beckoning gesture. They are usually white, which is the color for luck, and in the upper left corner of the mural, Mobe Oner has placed the slogan “Feelin’ Lucky,” hence the title of this blog post. The Maneki-nekos are supposed to be based on the Japanese bobtail, but the flesh-and-blood cats are not nearly as chonky as their artistic counterparts. Maybe it’s all the Asian street food.

Hawkers mural Nashville street art

Only some of the cats in this mural are actually doing the traditional beckoning gesture. We seem them dancing, cooking, stuffing themselves with ramen, and taking selfies. The biggest one of all, appropriate to Nashville, is playing a guitar. You can watch a video of Mobe Oner working on the mural on his Instagram page.

Hawkers Mural Nashville street art

I had to take these pictures at an angle because the cramped parking lot and the addition of an upstairs patio. I was sorely tempted to stand on top of Bolton’s next door, something easily done, to get the picture, but I didn’t, and neither should you. The building is also home to part of the 615 Center complex, as you can see by the sign right next to the Feelin’ Lucky logo.

Located at 626A Main Street. the mural is on the west side of the building, facing towards downtown. There is retail and street parking available nearby.

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