At the age of 79, former Metro Councilman Phil Ponder is technically retired, but he's as busy as ever when it comes to his paintings.
His works are full of history, detail and are often a salute to the bricks that built this city.
"You know, I don't really create artwork, I create memories," Ponder said.
In his own way, creating bricks like a master mason and never cutting corners, his illustrations are building a home.
"These are individually done bricks, so each one of them is a little piece of artwork," Ponder said. "Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 bricks."
Ponder has spent nearly 30 years of quiet intensity, creating some of Nashville's best known artwork. His paintings are often a reflection of himself - history lover, architecture appreciator - and like the men who built the famous structures, Ponder brings blue-collar, detail-oriented precision to every job, even at age 79.
"After a while, you know it's preying on your body, so to speak, so you have to take a little break," he said.
Most of his paintings were created after retirement at Nashville's Genesco Plant, but crayons may have ignited the career back in 1939.
"I still have some of my work from first grade. I stayed in the lines, and I was surprised about that when I found it one day," Ponder said.
These days, he's still staying inside the lines, often one brick at a time, creating memories and saluting the sweat of the working man.
"In many ways, I'm honoring the bricklayers of the Nashville area," Ponder said.
There's no slowing down for Ponder either, as he has plenty of paintings on his plate. Just in commission work alone, he has enough lined up to keep him busy for the next three years.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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