Skywatch Friday – Rolling Art

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There are some railroad tracks on one side of town where the passenger trains used to run decades ago. There is a metal building that serves as an office where one of two depots used to sit. Now freight trains make a couple passes through town each week and bring with them examples of what goes on in the big cities. The box cars are turned into rusty canvases and graffiti artists work through the night to complete their work before sunrise and the steel canvas is gone forever or at least moved to the next city for another artist to add their work. While I am not a fan of defacing property, I find these works fascinating. I still don’t know how they get the clean edges to many of the lines. Are they using portable airbrushes instead of spray cans?

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The creativity is truly something to behold. I’m sure that there is meaning hidden is some of these works and I imagine that a few of these artists are well known along the rails.

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Did “Zoe” pick the color of the rail car canvas based on the paint colors that they brought with him/her?

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I saw that blue design on several cars. My question is, “How did the artist get that high?” I don’t get by the tracks as often as I did when I was working. At one time my office was across the street from the tracks, then we moved a mile north of this location, then I retired. I have to remind myself to drive by occasionally to see the new exhibit. After all, it changes quite often. Have a blessed week-end.

11 thoughts on “Skywatch Friday – Rolling Art

  1. Bill

    Busy taggers from the look. Two were killed recently in the UK doing that. You can be fined heavy or trespassing on our railways if caught, they paid the ultimate price

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    1. I’m guessing that for some of the artists the danger is half of the excitement of the process. Knowing that their work may travel all over the country probably contributes to the lure as well.

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  2. I have been looking at graffiti for a long time and I had never once thought how they got the clean lines. Kudos to you, obviously they are not using spray paint, or if they are they have some sort of technique.
    I think the creativity is astounding but the art does not age very gracefully. Tulsa used to have a ‘permission zone at a local liquor store. The store has gone out of business but people are still tagging.

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    1. I find it interesting how the railroads only repaint the areas where critical information exists. Most of those letters and numbers that you see on the freight cars are like bar codes and it is how the location of the cars are tracked.

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  3. Funny and interesting how the old box cars are like a magnet for graffiti artists. I see so many of the long freight trains being pulled through the desert full of this kind of artwork.

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  4. It’s an interesting viewpoint on tagging. Some taggers have gone on to become admired artists, Others are killed pursing their art. Growing up in New York City, I saw much more of that type of art, back in the early 1970’s (including on the stairway walls of the housing project I grew up in) more than I ever wanted to see again, truthfully. I still see it on freight trains that roll past my neighborhood in upstate New York.

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    1. I can certainly understand how being surrounded by these street graphics daily, could become tiresome. These cars were in Northwest Arkansas and I suspect that they originated in Dallas, Kansas City, or St. Louis.

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  5. Taggers risking life and limb to paint on train cars….glad you captured their work and is now published before they are caught and jailed. FREE to be isn’t always a FREE choice. We are responsible for our choices. See you next week.

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