Like Graffiti World, Freight Train Graffiti is the definitive history of a vibrant art form. Until now there was almost no written insight into this vast subculture, which inspires fascination across America and around the world. As dazzling as the art it celebrates, the book is packed with 1,000 full-color illustrations and features in-depth interviews with more than 125 train artists and "writers." Hundreds of never-before-seen photographs span the style's evolution, while the authoritative text from an all-star team of authors provides unprecedented perspective, including the first-ever written history of "monikers," the precursors of graffiti, developed by hobos and rail workers to communicate en route. Bound to surprise graffiti artists, graphic designers, and urban culture buffs alike, this book will inspire anyone who has ever been interested in graffiti.
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Roger Gastman has been involved with graffiti for fifteen years, and in 1993 he painted his first freight train. He has written extensively on the subject, and is the co-publisher of the pop culture magazine SWINDLE. He lives in Los Angeles.
Darin Rowland's childhood home was blocks from CSX's ACCA yard in Richmond, Virginia, where he fell in love with trains. Eventually, Rowland's addiction moved from trains to graffiti. He now lives in Philadelphia.
Ian Sattler has never been a full-fledged graffiti writer due to his horrible penmanship. Instead, Ian focused on other kinds of writing. His work has appeared in a number of books and national magazines. Sattler lives in Washington, D.C.
This work is an intelligent, well-written, and comprehensive overview of freight train graffiti, a phenomenon that, while its roots reach back to the earliest days of the American railroad, has become much more pervasive in the last ten years. One of the strengths of this book is the volume of artwork it reproduces-page after page of glossy photos catalog the very best freight graffiti has to offer. However, this is more than just a beautiful coffee table volume: the authors have done a fantastic job writing about every aspect of freight train graffiti, from its roots on the streets of New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles to the intricacies of multi-city "crews" and train yard etiquette. Managing to walk the fine line between the academy and the street, the authors are neither ivory tower intellectuals trying to be hip nor graffiti insiders trying to forward an agenda. Rather, this is serious cultural anthropology, especially in the comparison it draws between economic expansion spurred by railroads in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the artistic expansion of graffiti culture they have facilitated in the last ten years. No matter why readers pick this book up (everyone from graffiti enthusiasts and train watchers to American history buffs will find it appealing), it will certainly do for freight train graffiti what earlier works such as Subway Art (1984) and Spraycan Art (1987) did for subway graffiti: raise awareness of a vibrant subculture while helping to codify its history and early development.
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