Moving Exhibit.

traingraffiti1This week’s graffiti is a reader submission from Gina at Endearingly Wacko and is a fantastic example of why I love train graffiti. First of all there’s the aesthetics. A lot of work went into this particular piece. Most graffiti on buildings seems to be done hastily so it’s usually a single-color scrawl, but artists who work on trains generally have a lot more time and create more interesting works. And I think this artist may have been influenced by Aaron McGruder, creator of The Boondocks, a comic strip and animated series about an African American family that moves into a mostly white neighborhood.

And that’s where things really take off. Any work on a train car travels, and that’s why, whenever I see a painting on the side of a train car, I wonder where it originated, where the artist lives. I wonder if he or she feels trapped where they are and if art is a means of escape. And the art does escape even if they don’t. We look at it but it also looks back at us.

That makes this a moving art exhibit in more ways than one.

traingraffiti2Seen any graffiti? Send pictures to freethinkers@nerosoft.com. I’ll mention your name and include a link to your blog/website/social media thing. Or you can remain totally anonymous. I’m easy.

8 Comments

  1. Margot

    I see you made good on your promise of crediting the person who sent you a graffiti pic. 😉

    Have you ever considered making a coffee table book about graffiti? I was at a salon with my daughter yesterday and they had a few dozen awesome coffee table books out to peruse instead of the usual magazines. My favorite was newspaper clippings and photographs about criminals in Los Angeles in the late 1950s and early 60s. I thought of you because the new music director from our church was there, too, and he’s from Nashville. He’s gay and I saw a *very* different (and much more fun) side of him. But as you would say, that’s another story. I really did think of you as we chatted about the differences between Nashville and Lexington, though. Anyway, a coffee table book by you about graffiti would have fit in very nicely there.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      This is actually not the first reader submission but unless someone specifically asks to remain anonymous it’s very important to me to give credit where it’s due. I’m not like George Bernard Shaw who famously stole his friends’ best lines–with one exception. A friend made a witty remark at a party and Shaw said, “I wish I’d said that.” His friend replied, “Don’t worry, George. You will.” But that’s another story.
      Anyway I’d never thought about a coffee table book about graffiti. It’s an intriguing idea and I wonder if it hasn’t already been done. In the ’80’s in New York there was a program to document graffiti and bring artists into studios. A coffee table book would also be a good way to give a better sense of the size of some graffiti, which is an aspect I always find impressive.
      Anyway I think it’s really cool that you saw another side of your church’s new music director. I hope that fun side of him comes out more. And tell him from me that I think it’s funny he left Nashville to be a music director when most people come here to work in music.

      Reply
  2. M. Firpi

    Some graffiti is influenced by pop culture, I don’t know if it has to do with it being easier to draw, or whether it’s a universal language for young people.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I wonder if they pick up a specific style because they feel it speaks to them or is something they can relate to. Most artists also start out copying other styles before they develop their own. There are so many possibilities here.

      Reply
  3. Sandra

    I love how your mind works (and Gina’s!) Before reading your blog Christopher I never gave graffiti a second thought. Now on my way to work, I have noticed on a railway bridge some graffiti which was clearly quickly scrawled and I don’t think it is at all aesthetic, but I have to give the artist credit for standing so high up above a main thoroughfare, hanging over a bridge spray painting in hopes he won’t either plummet to his death or get caught by the authorities. My mind never would have gone there before. And I thinks it’s kinda cool that it does so now.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It means a lot to me that I’ve opened up your mind to seeing graffiti in a new way. And the element of danger is a fascinating aspect of graffiti. It always amazes me that someone is so compelled to create something they’ll literally risk their lives.
      And don’t risk your life but if you ever get a chance to safely take a picture of that graffiti I’d love to see it.

      Reply
  4. Kristine @MumRevised

    I love beautiful graffiti. There is a bylaw in Toronto that the owners have to remove the graffiti at their own expense within 72 hours or they are fined (72 hours of the city noticing, that is). I don’t see many trains where I live, unless they are subway cars. Because of the bylaw, if they get tagged, we don’t see it. Thank you both for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That seems pretty harsh to fine a property owner if they don’t remove graffiti within 72 hours of the city noticing. What if the owner is away? New York subways used to be a frequent target for large-scale graffiti. I guess they’re not anymore and I’m not sure why.

      Reply

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