April 1, 2015

A Readers Review

The seventh book of 2015 brought me back to many childhood memories. Whether it was counting railroad cars at the creek with my dad, visiting the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, or scoping out the Butler yards for the latest and greatest graffiti with my cousins, the book Freight Train Graffiti certainly made me reminiscent.

This book focused on the visual art of graffiti. While technically considered vandalism and with very stiff penalties (especially since 9/11), "Painting" has been around for many, many years. This book provided a history. Hobos used monikers as they traveled across this infant nation. New York subway artist icons created a subculture. Visionaries took this art form from being localized and made it nationwide through the transfer of the art to freight trains. 

I learned about different reasons for being a graffiti artist. Stories were told about adventures and misadventures. There were turf wars, battles with the "bulls" and "pigs" and the blessing and curse of social media. Opposition and support from railroad workers was highlighted. Being a lover of words, it was also trying to decipher and soaking in all the new terminology this culture has to offer.

While this book covered a great deal of interesting viewpoints and historical perspectives on this culture, I found the personal narratives to be the most influential. The majority of the book was told through the words of the artists being described in the historical retelling.

Good history. Great stories. Wonderful art.

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