Nashville artist captures city’s history through artwork

Anne Holt's Tennessee

Nashville artist Phil Ponder shares a collection of his artwork from first grade. 

“I guess this is what you can say got me started along with my Mother’s encouragement. She really, really pushed me, said the artist. 

Art was just a hobby at first. But, years later, Ponder developed a technique that made his art stand out. 

“The gooseneck India ink bottles used to have pens you dip into them. Well, that’s what I used. That’s how I got started doing these real heavy black lines around the edges and then watercolor over the top of that.”

He became known for his limited edition prints of skylines and famous buildings. 

“Amazing detail, beautiful compositions, and documenting the history of Nashville. Locally, there’s nobody else that does anything quite like what Phil does,” says Matt Fischer with Picture This Gallery. 

Ponder says he counts the number of bricks when he paints a building or home. 

“I take the magnifying glass and I actually look at my close up photos of the bricks and I actually count the number of bricks.”

So, imagine the detail he puts into his most popular subject: the Nashville skyline. 

Since 1982, Ponder has painted a new skyline every four years. 

“There may be like 250 buildings in this particular skyline compared to the 40 or so I had in the first one I did back in 1982.” 

Ponder says the love for his adopted city of 60 years makes it a joy to be an ambassador of its history and charm. 

“I consider myself a Nashvillian at heart and I love it. It’s a wonderful city and I’m gonna stay right here.” 

He hopes newcomers will embrace Nashville’s history and make their own memories here. 

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