Recent Work

The Wheel

24” x 36”

oil on canvas

2007

Oil painting "The Wheel" by Brad Blackman

“The Wheel” is another tourist attraction on lower Broadway, taking up residence in a building from the late 1800s. I love how this style of architecture is particular to Nashville, yet similar buildings are found in many small towns from the same era. While this an admittedly touristy part of town, there are a lot of great textures and colors to take in, not to mention great people-watching. With this piece I tried to integrate my love of typography by paying more attention to the signage and lettering. Since I painted this, the establishment has changed their sign. Unfortunately it lacks the kitschy 70s/80s charm the old one had.

The Old Spaghetti Factory Delivery Entrance

24” x 30”

oil on canvas

2006

Oil painting "The Old Spaghetti Factory Delivery Entrance" by Brad Blackman

Situated on 2nd Avenue in the heart of what is known as “The District,” The Old Spaghetti Factory holds a special place in the hearts of those who have grown up in Nashville. Built in the late 1800s, the space was formerly a warehouse but has been a restaurant for nearly 30 years. It’s full of great Victorian furniture and a trolley. For this painting I wanted to veer from the expected approach and show the delivery entrance to this popular venue.

Boot Country

24” x 36”

oil on canvas

2007

Oil painting "Boot Country" by Brad Blackman

Take a walk down Broadway, the heart of the tourist district with honky-tonks and tacky gift shops. You can’t miss Boot Country with astonishing deals like “Buy One Pair, Get Two Pairs Free.”

The funny thing is, the only people you see wearing cowboy hats in Nashville are the tourists. Or the people who really want to make it as country music singers. Everybody else just looks like everybody else.

440 over 40

40” x 20”

oil on canvas

2005

Oil painting "440 over 40" by Brad Blackman

There is something fascinating about overpasses, especially when the morning sun hits them at a low angle, and interesting forms emerge from the shadows. I painted this when I began noticing the intrinsic beauty of everyday structures that we take for granted.

Interchange

30” x 40”

oil on canvas

2004

Oil painting "Interchange" by Brad Blackman

Nashvillians will recognize this as the interchange where I-440 and I-65 meet on the south part of town above the area known as Melrose. This piece marked a turning point in the development of my work, since it was not dominated by bright colors but by a muted palette. The composition definitely leans toward an abstract-realist mode since it is representative of something, yet there is a tendency toward abstraction.

Sewer I

18” x 20”

oil on canvas

2008

Oil painting "Sewer I" by Brad Blackman

Blame it on watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid: sewers have a mysterious attraction to me. Where do they lead? What’s down there? Could little turtles really interact with radioactive goop and be turned into pizza-loving ninjas? As a kid I always loved crawling or climbing into out-of-the way places that I wasn’t really supposed to go. This sewer is no different. What is interesting is the network of large and small pipes that funnel into one central area, and the light that filters in from above.

I documented the progress of this painting here and here.

Past Preserved

24” x 30”

oil on canvas

2005

Oil painting "Past Preserved" by Brad Blackman

On the east bank of the Cumberland River is an amazing Art Deco building that formerly housed the Nashville Bridge Company (NABRICO). It is between the eastern end of the Shelby Street Bridge and the Tennessee Titans stadium (LP Field). The bridge itself is a Nashville landmark (I’ve done small studies of it a few times and plan on doing a large piece of it) but I wanted to draw attention to the lines and angles of this building. It’s actually more of a cream color, but the overcast skies gave it a greenish tone. The Nashville Bridge Company itself has an interesting history, as it survived the Great Depression by reinventing itself as a marine supply company which it still is today.

Bellevue Cycle

12” x 24”

oil on canvas

2007

Oil painting "Bellevue Cycle" by Brad BlackmanAnyone who drives down Charlotte from Bellevue, Pegram, or Kingston Springs to get to Nashville will pass this motorsports service shop at the intersection of Charlotte Pike and Old Hickory Boulevard. I drove past it every time I drove from my home in Pegram to pick up my then-girlfriend (now my wife) in West Nashville, and I was always drawn to the Art Deco styling and rounded edges. Since I painted this, the entire building has been repainted a solar white, and the trim has gone from cream to bright red.