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Artists Sneak Peek


We are just about as happy as a opossum eating a sweet potato to open our newest location in Franklin, TN, just a bit outside of Nashville.  With every new location we create new southern traditions with a touch of the eclectic mountain south, from our roots in Asheville, NC.   Every new community we move into, we like to spread our mountain flavors and pull inspiration from our new neighbors as well.  For our newest restaurant, we had the privilege of working with five of the most amazing artists in Franklin to adorn its walls.  Opening on Oct. 19th, we wanted to give you a little sneak peek into the artists and their artwork.  But it’s only a peek!  To see the full pieces you’ll have to join us at the restaurant when we open.  


Nick DePalma

slice of quiltIt’s difficult work making a quilt, a feat made arguably harder when you aren’t using any cloth to construct it. Nick DePalma has created a series of wooden and multi-media panels that all come together to form one cohesive piece.  Essentially creating a 3 dimensional wooden quilt, based on traditional quilts for inspiration.  He focused on geometric patterns creating specific focal points with artifacts such as furniture legs and shutters from an old Tennessee church, photographs of old Franklin landmarks, and vintage wallpaper.  The creation was an organic process, with the end result being an evolution of distilled patterns, rustic focal points and geometric rhythms.

Traditionally a sculpture and free standing artist, DePalma credits his some 40 years of architectural background to his 3-dimensional artistic viewpoint.  This will be his largest wall piece to date (the second largest belonging to the First Lady of Tennessee).  This piece was a slight departure from his normal work and uniquely created for Tupelo Honey Cafe.  DePalma said about the work that  “This meant more to me than the commission”.  We couldn’t be happier.

Barbara Coon

Barabara Coon is a true Southerner, born and raised, and a Franklin native for 27 years now. A gallery artist with a southern contemporary realistic style, her pieces beg to be touched.  Coon says “I just love to paint.  I want people to feel it and touch it.” Her paintings always feature a layer of texture, incorporating wood, maps and other items into a finished product. (apparently, perfectly Slice of birdsgluing a map to wood can be quite tricky!).  She refers to it as “building” art, and as someone who makes her own canvases and frames she earns that description.

Her pieces for Tupelo Honey Cafe circles around three central themes; Music, Honey and Franklin Heritage.  Layering her paintings with maps, gold leaf, silver leaf and copper leaf her creations evolve with each added layer. They change quite a bit from her first brush stroke to her last, but there is always a bit of the beginnings poking about in the final product.

In one of her pieces you’ll find two birds, one made with a map from Asheville and one with a map from Franklin.  The perfect melding of our first restaurant location, Asheville, and our newest in Franklin.


Bryan Deese

Bryan Deese is a street artist whom enjoys doing most of his pieces (surprise!) outside.   muralHis passion comes from painting in the public sphere, where people are actually living their lives.  He says this breeds his inspiration, not artwork that sits on a gallery wall.  So while the Tupelo Honey Cafe mural will be indoors, Deese says it still carries that living vibe he appreciates so much. 

His piece uses Old Franklin’s old main square and spirit as its basis.  Deese says those old squares, churches and community gathering areas are where the energy in the town comes from and thus where he drew his inspritation.  There are hints and references to the Civil War, architecture, agriculture and community life in his mural.  Keep an eye out for Carter House to make an appearance.  A mansion now, the site served as one of the largest hospitals in the area during the Civil War and still serves as a graveyard for many of the fallen.


Tracy Yarbrough

Tracy Yarbrough’s style is fun, vibrant and expressive, making use of colors and textures found in nature.  One of her stated goals is to create happiness (that’s one of ours too!).  She is certainly keeping that alive with the perfectly ripe tomato collage she has created for us. Her inspiration was the homegrown goodness that is a staple in our restaurants.  

Created out of what others may view as trash, Yarbrough uses a variety of materials, such as patterned papers, maps, magazine clippings, old sheet music, books and more.  She then paints the images on top with paintbrushes, with some of the collage elements showing through the paint a bit.   “I wanted these paintings to have a sense of history to them, layers that help tell a story” Yarbrough explains.  Her artworks adds a playful element to our new space.

Yarbrough in action: 


Shannon Haas 

Shannon Haas can best be described as impressionistic and pastoral, she says her paintings “live” impressionistically.  Having spent most of her life in Franklin, it weighs heavily into her Cow Face Closeupartwork. Haas takes the scenic route on her trip into work, down Del Rio Pike, which still has acres of undeveloped farmland.  Our newest restaurant location sits atop where cows used to roam, which was an inspiration in her pieces for us.

The work she is doing for us is quite special for her.  Not only are the wood panels she is using much larger than usual, but she is incorporating real farm materials into her piece (keep an eye out for a real vintage cow bell).  The piece is done in acrylic, which helps in developing the texture she loves.

Her studio envelopes the deep heritage of Franklin as well. The home her studio is a part, the Walker Mosely House, was built in 1815 and served as a hospital during the Civil War. She offers art classes and workshops out of this studio, definitely worth checking out if you are in the area!


Special thank you to Starr Design for helping us find the best local artists to work with.

Dianna Kolb, Tupelo Honey Cafe’s Marketing Manager, is a professional with a passion for food and writing. Originally from Chicago, her German and Midwestern upbringing give her a unique perspective on Southern hospitality and dining.