North America, Tennessee

Memphis Street Art

Memphis street art is something to behold. You can walk around downtown and see a new piece of art almost everywhere you look. I’ve seen street art in a lot of the places I’ve been, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it to this extent. The street art in Memphis embraces the history of the area in so many of the murals, that it makes you glad that the artists have not forgotten the past of the city.

We’ve been in Memphis about 5 months now and one of the things I really love about the area is artistic streak that seems to be in most things here. Even visiting a local outlet mall yesterday, I saw a huge guitar as a centerpiece. To be sure, there is a lot to love about the history of Memphis, the music as an example. However, there have also been some really dark times as well, slavery and the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as examples.

Look through the photos below for a walk through some of the history of Memphis, depicted by some incredible artists. I took all of these photos and researched the information across several sources to bring you the best information possible.

South Main Street

Artist: Micheal Roy – design by Derrick Dent

There are a lot of references to civil rights in downtown Memphis. As I said, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was murdered here. The motel where he was murdered, The Lorraine Motel, is now the National Civil Rights Museum. Of course, there was also slavery here, so there are places like the Underground Railroad Museum where you can learn about the horrible practice. This is one of the murals referencing civil rights and the fight that has been going on for so long.

Memphis Street Art

Artist: Marcellous Lovelace with BLK75

In 1968 there was a sanitation strike where the workers carried signs such as these. During this strike, Martin Luther King Jr gave his final speech in the sanitation workers behalf. The march is depicted on this mural and also at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Memphis Street Art

Artist: Unknown

Memphis, Tennessee is named for Memphis, Egypt.   I didn’t even know there was a Memphis, Egypt until I moved here. There are several pyramids around Memphis, Tennessee, with a huge one owned by Bass Pro Shop. You can read about that pyramid and it’s history on my post about fun shops in downtown Memphis. 

Memphis Street Art

Someone, at some point, painted these murals and hung them above a shop door. Don’t you love them?

Memphis Street Art

The detail is so intricate. I really love them!

Memphis Street Art

Songs that sing about Memphis are on this mural. I didn’t realize there are so many.

Memphis Street Art

I find myself singing this one a lot when we are walking around downtown.

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Artist: George Hunt – 1983

I didn’t find any other information about this mural, except that it appears to be one of the oldest murals in the downtown area.

Memphis Street Art

North Main Street

North Main Street is blocked off to vehicle traffic, although there are trolley tracks, so keep your eyes open. There are shops and restaurants along the street, as well as murals along the way.

Artist: Damon Lamarreed and Pugs Atomz

Memphis Street Art

Artist: The Assasin Duo

Memphis Street Art

Inside the iBank building, at the Main Street entrance

I wasn’t expecting this mural. We went in the building looking for donuts. Sadly, I have a mad sweet tooth.  I’m really excited to take a riverboat ride if it ever warms up, so I snapped a photo. This is the photo that made me decide to write this post.

Memphis Street Art

Phone Boxes on Main Street

There are several phone boxes along Main Street. They are painted so fun. So much better than ugly phone boxes.

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This phone box has the hair styles of various famous people. Isn’t it fun? There are different styles on each side of the box. There is even the style of Elvis. I don’t know how I don’t have that photo.

Memphis Street Art

Beale Street

There are a lot of “I Love Memphis” murals around the city. This one happens to be on Beale Street.

Memphis Street Art

Do you recognize this from the song “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn?

Memphis Street Art

This mural is on the downtown police station, at the beginning of the blocked off to traffic part of Beale Street.

Memphis Street Art

Gibson GuitarTown Guitars

Gibson Guitars are made in Memphis. They made these guitars that are on Beale Street outside of some of the bars. Aren’t they neat looking? I’m standing next to one so you can see how tall they are. I’m 5’5″.

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South B.B. King Blvd

Artist: George Hunt

I noticed that this person has the same name as the person who painted one of the oldest murals and wondered if it’s the same person or they are related. unfortunately, I didn’t find any information on this set, I just found his name on one of the paintings.

Memphis Street Art

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Rendevous Alley

Artist: Brandon Marshall

This mural is down an alley, in front of a restaurant called Rendevous Charlie. We ate there one time, their barbecue nachos were amazing. When we came out, people were taking turns getting their photo taken in from of this mural. I went back during the day for this photo.

Memphis Street Art

Madison Ave

Kyle Taylor, Brandon Donahue, and Brandon Marshall

These murals are very close to our house and wrap around the Sterick building, covering about 2 blocks. The artists were “inspired by the work, the big ideas, the soulful struggles, and the elbow grease that has made, and is making, Memphis what it is.”

Memphis Street Art

Memphis Street Art

This one is probably my favorite of this set. I’d love to see it without cars in front of it, but so far, no luck.

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Madison Ave Trolly Station

Cynthia Metcalf, Jeanne Seagle, and Lea Holland

At the trolley station in front of Auto Zone Park, there are tile mosaic murals that I just love. Aren’t they fantastic?!

Memphis Street Art

Even the poles are done up.

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Jeff Zimmerman

This mural is visible from the Memphis Redbirds stands at Auto Zone Park. You can also see it from Madison Ave.

Memphis Street Art

 

Union Ave

These next two are at the Vista Inns and Suites on Union Ave and 4th Street. I could see them from the street, so I walked in and took the photos. I didn’t find any information on them though.

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Barbora Alley

Joseph Boyd

Don’t you love how bright this one is? It’s called “It’s Beautiful Where You Are”. See the bird on her finger?

Memphis Street Art

Artist: Christopher Reyes and Michael Roy

These artists also go by the names of Birdcap and Ninjacat.  I read if you go back at night, this mural is even better. I need to do that.

Memphis Street Art

Artist: Marcellous Lovelace

The title of this piece is “Soul Color” and honors some of Memphis’ most famous musicians. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to be in Memphis during their time?

Memphis Street Art

Artist: Lawrence Matthews

This piece is titled ‘1968’ and shows the role Memphis played in Civil Rights. It’s actually one of my favorite murals because of the way it was created. If you look closely, you will see it is made from book pages of great people in the history of African Americans.

Memphis Street Art

This is one place I took a photo and you can see that it is from “The Life of Fredrick Douglas, an American Slave”.  This was one of my favorite books I read in high school. What a brave man he was.

Memphis Street Art

There are many more murals around Memphis and I may write another post about another neighborhood. I just have to get to another neighborhood with my camera. I really loved exploring and researching these murals. The artists are so impressive to me.

Do you like street art? Where have you seen the very best, in your opinion? It’s all subjective, isn’t it?

Memphis Street Art

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32 Comments

  • Reply Bernie April 21, 2018 at 9:41 am

    We’ve spent some time in Memphis, but I haven’t seen half of these – what a brilliant collection. I love the song lyrics; they’re going to have me singing my way through the rest of today!

    • Reply ppadmin April 21, 2018 at 6:47 pm

      We really went hunting to find these. I was out today and saw some others. They are everywhere. I love them.

  • Reply Jenn and Ed Coleman April 21, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Pretty neat stuff. I really like the guitar series. Ironically, I was singing Walking in Memphis from Marc Cohn from your title before I came to his quote about catfish. How funny is that!

    • Reply ppadmin April 21, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      That’s so great! I sure sing that song a lot now. Those guitars are so neat and huge!

  • Reply amit April 21, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    There’s some really great pieces of work here, nice to see so much of Memphis’s history on show – Like yourself I had no idea there was a Memphis in Egypt (Doesn’t sound like a very Egyptian name) I have to say, I’m loving the work on North Main Street – some very cool pieces – I would have a field day with camera here , it reminds me a little of Melbourne, Australia there is so much street art there.

    • Reply ppadmin April 21, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      It doesn’t sound very Egyptian. It’s so great to see all of the art and the opportunities it affords the artist to show off their talents in a really meaningful way.

  • Reply Fiona Maclean April 22, 2018 at 7:06 am

    I love the Gibson guitars! And yes, like you I think I’d get a bad case of ear worm with all those murals of song lyrics! Some amazing street art though, so thank you for sharing

    • Reply ppadmin April 22, 2018 at 10:25 am

      Aren’t the guitars great?! I’m thinking I need to take a tour of their factory.

  • Reply Brooke April 22, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Wow so much amazing colorful art on the streets! I didn’t realize this-would love to see this

    • Reply ppadmin April 22, 2018 at 10:25 am

      So much talent. I was so excited to see it all.

  • Reply Karla April 22, 2018 at 8:08 am

    I have always been big on street art so this would be a good place for me. I love all the colors and all the art— I like the guitar series. I would spend days just going after street art.

    • Reply ppadmin April 22, 2018 at 10:26 am

      There are different neighborhoods with street art. I want to check out a few of the others.

  • Reply Dorene April 22, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    I have never been to Memphis but now I definitely want to go. Talk about brimming with culture,music, art and history. There are alot of layers here. I had no idea there was a Memphis in Egypt – its really interesting to see the artworks that reference it. That is fabulous grafitti, and its hard to believe you can still find a public pay phone anywhere in the world. Well, Memphis has it..

    • Reply ppadmin April 22, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      It is a great place to visit. Lots to see. Plus they have a lot of festivals. I just found out about a food one in July and a barbecue one in May! Can’t wait!

  • Reply Elaine Masters April 22, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    What a collection! I love street art but haven’t had the privilege of knowing who the artists are. Great shots.

    • Reply ppadmin April 23, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      I did some research to find the artists. I wanted to give them credit. Thank you for your comment.

  • Reply Mags Nixon April 23, 2018 at 12:19 am

    I had no idea Memphis was so colourful! It’s such a triumph that the civil rights issues are not forgotten but immortalised forever by this artwork. I also love the phone boxes!

    • Reply ppadmin April 23, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      It is so colorful in Memphis! It’s fun to see all of it on gray, rainy days.

  • Reply Indrani April 23, 2018 at 4:25 am

    Amazing art work. Just as I tried to decipher one art, the next one confuses me more. The artists have depicted such varied themes and colors. You got a good collection.

    • Reply ppadmin April 23, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      It’s a great collection and no two are alike. Very fun to walk around and see.

  • Reply Siddhartha Joshi April 23, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    That’s some really beautiful and powerful street there in Memphis! Looking for street-art is something I do whenever I visit a new place and it always gives a fresh new perspective to the city…and I am sure there would so much new to learn about Memphis also through this art!

    • Reply ppadmin April 25, 2018 at 6:35 am

      There is a lot to learn about Memphis and they showcase it well through the street art. It’s beautiful and educational.

  • Reply Medha Verma April 25, 2018 at 3:48 am

    I always feel street art adds greatly to the vibe of the city and is such an interesting way to showcase pieces of art by great artists. The murals at the trolley station are fantastic and so big! I wish they hadn’t banned street art in the city I live 🙁 I haven’t ever been to Memphis but I know what to look for, if and when I do.

    • Reply ppadmin April 25, 2018 at 6:36 am

      It’s too bad they banned street art where you live. The local people seem to really love and respect it. Plus, it’s a great way to educate tourists about the city’s history.

  • Reply Christie Sultemeier April 27, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    I just got home from Nashville last night and couldn’t believe all of the street art! It must be a Tenneesee thing? So pretty, I love it!

    • Reply ppadmin April 29, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Isn’t it wonderful?! I will have to look for the street art when we go to Nashville.

  • Reply orange wayfarer April 28, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    This is so cool! I love the red guitar 😀 lucky are those who get to experience such splash of color on the way of regular commute!

    • Reply ppadmin April 29, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      There are even murals in the under passes in Memphis. I think it’s such a positive way to improve a city and help the residents to take pride in their city.

  • Reply Louise April 28, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Wow – there is a lot of great street art in Memphis!! Thanks for sharing all these great works of art.

    • Reply ppadmin April 29, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      I really love it! So much of it too. Thanks for the comment.

  • Reply Amy Dodd April 28, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    I love street art! Especially murals, I have seen some great ones in Dallas, Kansas City and Denver. It’s always something I check out when visiting a new city!

    • Reply ppadmin April 29, 2018 at 12:39 pm

      I love seeing it too. It’s so exciting to see, especially when they follow a theme.

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