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nashville public art

Nashville murals, street art, graffiti, signs, sculptures and more

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Pride and Glory

The Christmas bombing in Nashville left many scars. People lost their homes and their businesses. Some of Nashville’s most important historic buildings were damaged beyond repair. 2nd Avenue was an important part of the Nashville tourist scene, and many of the businesses that were housed in those historic buildings were what you would expect to find in a tourist zone – bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, honky-tonks and tattoo parlors. To be precise, the Pride and Glory Tattoo Parlor lost what was once its home at 172 2nd Avenue North.

But it wasn’t long before they found a new place to open shop on Rep. John Lewis Way (5th Avenue), and with the new place came a big bold mural to announce their presence. Often, the artwork on tattoo parlors is done by the tattoo artists themselves, but in this case, prolific local muralist Mobe Oner (aka Eric Bass) provided the artwork.

Pride & Glory sign Nashville street art

The images Mobe Oner has chosen are common tattoo images – the climbing black jaguar, the guitar wrapped in a ribbon, and the hand holding flowers are all familiar tattoo images. Eagles in every imaginable pose are also the frequent subject of a tattoo.

Pride & Glory mural Nashville Street art

The jaguar reminds me a lot of the one found one the Drum Supply/Relik Vintage mural done by  Folek Kelof and Christian Branger. Coincidentally, Relik Vintage was forced to move to new quarters after a disaster, in their case as a result of the March 3, 2020 tornado.

Pride & Glory mural Nashville street art

The return of Pride and Glory is important. In the face of the tornado, the bombing, and the pandemic, we like to talk about resilience and “Nashville Strong.” But it’s good to actually see Nashville’s strength and resilience in action, with a literally bombed-out business up and running in a matter of months – and with new art, to boot!

Located at 510 Rep. John Lewis Way South (5th Avenue South). The mural faces the street and takes up the whole front façade of the business, so its hard to miss. This is downtown – lots of parking, almost none of it free (though some free parking is found a few blocks south of Pride and Glory).

Tatuajes Raza

Most people think of the Nolensville Road corridor and Antioch as the main areas to find Latino-owned businesses, but there’s also a cluster in Madison. So it’s no surprise to find a Latino-themed tattoo parlor there, Tatuajes Raza. The black-and-grey storefront on Gallatin is the work of musician and artist Ghosty Lowks (he has a more art-themed page called “The Phantom Collection“).

The mural contains a stylized image of one of the more enduring symbols of Mexico, the Aztec Sun Stone. It is known to many as the “Aztec Calendar Stone,” but while it does have the names of the days and months on it, it is not really a calendar, but a representation of the largest cycles of time in Aztec thought, great ages known as “Suns.” At the end of each, the Sun would be destroyed and and a new Sun born. They saw themselves as living under the Fifth Sun. (Did I mention I’m an historian of Latin America?)

“Raza” as part of the store’s name is also significant. It’s a reference to the idea of “la raza cósmica,” the cosmic race, an idea of José Vasconselos. He was an education minister in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution and thought in Mexico, where people from all over the world were found, that the strengths of all these peoples combined created a newer, stronger people. It has become an important idea in Mexican national identity.

We see various people in the mural. There’s an an ice cream vendor with the tattoo “familia” on his arm, but that’s a tattoo needle, not an ice cream cone on his cart. The eyeless face above him seems to have a Nashville skyline for a headdress.

Ice Cream Man mural Nashville street art

There are more eyeless faces, a woman with a shotgun, a mustachioed clown and another Aztec image that might be Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god. “Chuy” and “Buda,” as best I know, are nicknames of the owner. (And yes, that’s me just barely reflected in the doorway.)

Located at 322 Gallatin Pike South, a few blocks south of Old Hickory Boulevard. The mural faces Gallatin. This is a tricky area to park. There is some parking in front of Tatuajes Raza and neighboring businesses. Otherwise, you might need to do some walking.

Abracadabra

HPMain

This is a tale of two murals and two stores. The Hokus Pokus mural by Music City Murals on Gallatin advertises the vape store of the same name. The MCM guys must be really proud of it, as they use it as the cover art on their Facebook page. Hokus Pokus has also used the design in a billboard farther south on Gallatin. Before this mural, however, there used to be a graffiti art mural here with the “Betor” tag, he of Betor Forever. I thought I had my own photograph of it, but I can’t find it, so I’ve posted a Google street view shot below. But wait, there’s more! Sage and Serpent is a tattoo parlor in the same building, and below I include their interesting sign and an image that is posted on the back of the building. I don’t know who did either, but I would hazard a guess it’s one or both of the two artists who own Sage and Serpent.

HPold

Located at 4118 Gallatin Pike. The main mural is on the north side of the building, while the Sage and Serpent sign is on the front and the image of a hand is on the back side. There is plenty of parking in front and back of the building.

 

All the stars in the sky (Norf Wall gallery, part 10)

NorfWallOneDrop

There are certain projects I haven’t quite finished on this blog. I have learned to avoid when I can setting up a series of posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, etc.) as it’s easy to leave them behind. But some venues have so much work, there really is no other way to go about it. Case in point, the old tire factory on 19th Avenue North, near Herman. Read Part 1 to learn about the festival that made all this art happen. Above is a work by Elisheba Israel, owner of One Drop Ink Tattoo Parlor and Gallery. Like what you see? I’m betting Israel would be happy to set you up with a tattoo based on this mural!

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13

Located at the north end of the 800 block of 19th Street N., at the corner of Herman Street. It’s impossible to miss. Street parking is very haphazard. There is a lot to see here, and also a lot of overgrown weeds (depending on the time of year) so wear the right shoes! See the marker for Part 1 on the map.

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