The Off The Wall Mural by Billy Lilly
The Off the Wall Mural by Artist Billy Lilly
Billy Lilly is a self taught prolific folk artist from Brandenburg, Kentucky. He is a long time friend of Jessi’s family, he first met Oakley, Jessi’s brother, thru Billy and his girlfriend Abbey’s passion for working with the youth. Somewhere along the way Jessi sent Billy a donation with a message to keep going. “if you were lucky enough to know Jessi at all, you know that she was the exception to the rule. I painted her portrait in an attempt to repay her uncommon kindness.” - Billy Lilly To show his gratitude Billy painted a portrait of Jessi as a plywood cutout which of course Jessi displayed proudly in her studio.
After Jessi passed away in September 2017, Billy heard there was going to be a nonprofit that would carry out all the great work that Jessi was doing in her life, he was overjoyed and wanted to be a part of honoring Jessi’s Legacy. Jessi’s brother Emmett and Jessi’s boyfriend Duncan who have both worked for “I saw the sign”, agreed to carry out the task of painting the mural.
Jessi Zazu was an artist, musician & activist born in Tennessee. At 12, she attended Southern Girls Rock'n'Roll Camp, beginning her long journey as a camper and mentor along with being a passionate artist and activist. This beginning lead her to become a member of internationally-loved band Those Darlins.
Jessi also co-founded She's A Rebel: A Girl Group Tribute Show, an annually sold-out concert honoring women of color in music past and present featuring an all-local female cast.
She helped launch the Nashville chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), making artwork for social causes, and encouraging artists of all backgrounds to culturally organize for human equality.
At 26, Jessi was diagnosed with late-stage cervical cancer. During her public struggle, she wrote, recorded, and performed music. She painted for multiple exhibits.She continued dreaming of ways to achieve social justice, especially for the North Nashville neighborhood where she lived.
Jessi Zazu Wariner died on September 12th, 2017, at the age of 28. What Jessi did with her short time on Earth inspired the creation of non-profit Jessi Zazu, Inc., whose mission is to honor and memorialize Jessi's legacy by continuing her work in the arts & humanities, social justice, and women's health.
It is an honor for Off the Wall to help realize the dream of a Jessi Zazu Memorial Mural so near her North Nashville home and hospital. It is such a powerful source of hope, healing and inspiration for the community she held so dear.