One of our favorite TV shows is Parks and Recreation. So imagine our glee when we got a call from Metro Parks asking us if we would consider creating a series of prints that would celebrate Nashville’s favorite city parks. We quickly figured out that the Metro Parks folks are nothing like the comic misfits in the TV show. Instead, they actually work for a living, and they have very keen ideas about how to promote and celebrate Music City’s network of fantastic public parks. We sat down, made a list of the top 12 parks that would be featured in our art, and then we visited the first 3 parks on the list—McCabe Golf Course, Two Rivers Mansion, and Shelby Park.
We shot a ton of reference photos. It soon became apparent that parks can be very hard to capture in one image. Poster art is all about simple, iconic imagery. How do you choose a single feature of a park that covers hundreds of acres? We challenged ourselves to look for one stand-out feature of each park—a visual icon that would represent a key reason why you’d want to visit that park. For McCabe, it was a golfer in the foreground and the club house in the distance. Since the land the golf course sits on today was once an old airport, we placed a biplane (used in the McCabe’s logo) in the sky.
Two Rivers Mansion is really all about the beautiful old house. So to make it more interesting, we worked up some fancy hand lettering and rendered the whole piece in a fancy woodcut engraving style.
Shelby Park was the biggest challenge. This park is huge, and has baseball fields, a lake, golf courses, a nature center, walking trails, a dog park, and some really bizarre alien-like concrete structures built in the 1920s (which still have the most interesting graffiti scrawled on them by star-struck lovers who are now older than our grandparents!) One distinct feature of Shelby Park is the train trestle that can be seen from almost every vista. It’s not technically a part of the park, but when we talked to folks about what they think of first, many thought it was a very memorable and nostalgic feature.
The 3 prints turned out very differently. Since this is a series of 12 different designs, we wanted to provide a wide array of art styles so we’d create art for every taste. Joel Anderson did the McCabe poster, swiping the golfer that former staff artist Darren Welch created several years ago for a print that is no longer available. (We are into recycling here!) Joel and Liga Teodosiu created the Two Rivers print in the style that would have been popular in the mid 1800s when the mansion was built. Andy Gregg rendered the Shelby Park print with a stylish Art Deco feel, paying homage to the period when the park was opened.
The detail in these posters is a big part of their charm. It’s hard to appreciate the texture and fine detail on-line, so you might just have to come to our studio store and see the prints in person! They are also available on-line at www.SpiritOfNashville.com