The Long View.

A funny thing about most street art is that you can usually only see it from the street it’s on. Even if it’s high up on a building there are often other buildings around blocking the view so it’s only as you turn a corner that you see it and then it disappears just as quickly.

This mural painted on a tall tower is an exception. As you drive along I-40 headed East toward downtown Nashville you can see it in the distance. From a long way away it’s not even clear what it is but it’s obviously something. It’s only as you get close, and part of the beauty of it is you can get really close—it overlooks the parking lot of White Bison Coffee, a local shop, which is fitting because it puts two things that are distinctly Nashville together in one place.

The mural is the work of internationally known New Zealand artist Guido Van Helten, and, looking at it, you might wonder who the guy is. He’s Lee Estes, a long-time resident of the area, a Nashville neighborhood known as The Nations. Why it’s known as that is somewhat controversial with no clear answer. Mr. Estes remembers much of the history of the area and the city. Growing up his family didn’t have indoor plumbing and raised chickens for eggs and meat. Actually that last part hasn’t changed—or rather it changed with zoning laws that ended the keeping of livestock within county limits. Then it changed back in 2014 when the city council voted to allow homeowners to have chickens on their property, but only chickens. Roosters are verboten, although at least one person has violated that rule—there is at least one part of the city where I’ve heard crowing, but that’s another story.

There’s more detail about the mural at isupportstreetart, and also more pictures. An important detail I missed when taking pictures of this mural is that on the other side of the building there are two young boys next to Mr. Estes, perfectly combining the old and the new.

10 Comments

  1. Moonwatcher51

    Always learning something new. Thanks Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you–I’m glad to know people enjoy what I’m passing on.

      Reply
  2. floweringink

    Wow!!!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m so glad you like it.

      Reply
  3. Kristine @MumRevised

    That is beautiful street art! Thanks for the background story too.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      There really seems to have been an explosion of street art in the past few years, and the best part of something like this is it helps preserve the history of an area even as it’s being transformed.

      Reply
  4. mydangblog

    There’s an incredible mural on the building that my bedroom window in Toronto looks down upon–a tribute to all the famous Canadian soul and R&B singers and the venues that used to host them. I’ll have to take a picture for you–it’s very cool!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Now I really want to see that, and I’m a little ashamed that I can’t think of a single Canadian soul or R&B singer. Or maybe I can and I just don’t know they’re Canadian.

      Reply
  5. Ann Koplow

    Thanks for another great post, Chris, and the link to more detail about that incredible mural. Mr. Estes said in that article, “I don’t want to be famous. I just want to be remembered.” Whether or not you become famous, Chris, you’ll always be remembered.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Mr. Estes will be remembered and appreciated for his contribution to the neighborhood, just as that mural will be appreciated for helping preserve a neighborhood that’s undergoing so much change. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this comment, though, even if I do become famous.

      Reply

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