Nashville will soon be home to a Californian art invasion.


Californians are moving to Nashville in droves. In fact, in the last 5 years, the number of Californians moving to the city has increased by 50%. While some may attribute this migration to the city’s lower cost of living, no state income tax, and Southern hospitality, others say it’s because Nashville is becoming the new Silicon Valley. While the city does have a growing tech industry, it also has a lot to offer in terms of a burgeoning food and culture scene, all types of music and outdoor activities.


"We are having an exhibition of California artists because Nashville is bursting with life and great California artists want to exhibit their work in downtown Nashville," said Jorge Arrieta, director of Chauvet Arts. This new year Chauvet Arts is exhibiting five distinctive California artists. The exhibition, titled "California Art Invasion," will feature works by James Leonard, Buckley, Deedee Cheriel, Richard Downs and Jason Adams and is scheduled to open on January 7th.


Artist James Leonard is originally from Nashville and his father was a writer at the Nashville Banner. After serving in the Vietnam War Leonard discovered painting and what it could do for himself and others who viewed his work. “Most artists work from the outside in, the subject is outside of themselves. I work from the inside out,” says Leonard. “I’m pulling paint, layering one layer at a time, which creates a sense of history in the painting. It’s like looking at a fence post that’s been repainted over a period of time. You can see the different colors and layers.” 

James Leonard's paintings are an attempt to integrate his profound respect for individuality with the process of making art. He works within an introspective, intuitive fashion and strives to bring a personal sensibility to the work. “Imposing my will upon the work does not allow the work to tell me how and where it wants to go. Standing back and entering into a relationship with the work based on respect and trust, allows for this inner dialogue to take place.”

James Leonard, Just For You, Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 36 in

James Leonard, Over and Under, Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 36 in

James isn’t moving back to Nashville but why are so many Californians making the move? The state of California has been having a number of problems as of late. These issues include high taxes, droughts, wildfires, and an increasing cost of living. Artist Nalini ‘Deedee’ Cheriel’s work explores these narratives of urgency and conflict and our attempts to connect to the world. Cheriel's images reflect how we try to connect ourselves to others and how these satirical and heroic efforts are episodes of compassion and discomfort.

Deedee Cheriel, I Would do Anything for You
Giclee Print, 16 x 20 in

Deedee Cheriel, To Comfort Rater than to be Comforted
Giclee Print (Framed), 17 x 21 in

Buckley, a multi-disciplinary artist, uses her work to emphasize feminine principles and self-inquiry practices as key pathways to harmony. “My paintings and drawings are my teachers. They remind me of the softness within me, around me. They are all my secret longings and celebrations for touch, embrace, connection. They are solutions, they are what I want to see more of in the world.”

Buckley, Shifting Self
Acrylic and Stone on Canvas, 16 x 20 in, $1,600

Buckley, Synchronicity
Acrylic and Stone on Canvas, 16 x 20 in, $1,600

Richard Downs transfigures painting and printmaking into a visual mythology celebrating humanconnectedness. Classically trained, Downs has worked with multiple national periodicals andnewspapers ranging from Smithsonian Magazine to the New York Times. "I want the viewer to see the archetypal relationship of the figures at first read and then to metaphorically feel the connection to themselves and to the world around them." 

Richard Downs, Couple No. 297
Ink on Japanese Paper (Framed), 25 x 19 in

Richard Downs, Supernatural Man
Ink on Japanese Paper, 21 x 17 in

Jason William Adams focuses on drawing, painting and mixed-media collage. Letting the materials direct the process, allowing room for spontaneity and surprise, the aim is to continuously extend the range of his talent.

Jason Adams, Love, Peace, and Empathy
Mixed Media, Collage on Wood Panel, 36 x 24 x 2 in


Jason Adams, Wohali Pink Feathers
Mixed Media on Paper, 24 x 18 in

"This exhibition is a great opportunity for Nashvillians and travelers to experience great artwork in a variety of styles," said Arrieta. “Don't worry, I'm a Nashville native and have no intention of turning Nashville into L.A. The South is distinctive and Nashville is a special place that we want to cherish with its unique styles, stories, and character that make it authentic. And like us, California is unique and many great artists call it home. Chauvet Arts is very excited to be able to showcase the talent of these artists to a wider audience here.”

CHAUVET Arts | 215 Rep. John Lewis Way N | Nashville, TN 37219 | | 615. 278. 9086

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