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muradsay

outsider art...that rolls

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Here is a sample image from a body of work that I have been building for over a year now. I have been haunting a local RR siding and photographing the boxcars and the graffiti that adorns many of them.

 

However, in addition to recording the overall pieces, I have been zooming in on their details, and recording how they interact with the 'heavy metal' essence of the cars.

 

This is the product of an entire sub-culture....midnight artists, mostly young, who paint at the risk of arrest, and who even get killed doing it...for the sake of their art.

 

I am open to any and all reactions....really.

 

Murad

Physk_c.jpg

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I personally think the subject matter is fascinating. I was stopped before a passing train the other day and admired the art. The juxtaposition between the filthy industrial machines and the very modern graphic design of the graffiti is darn nifty.

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I like graffiti.

The color work is fantastic on a lot of these pieces.

A lot of the work is done free flowing without a formal plan. Just a mental image of the final look.

 

I guess it's sorta like cave paintings of the modern day.

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Very interesting composition. It utilizes the 'rule of thirds' well. Nice juxtaposition of industry, monotones, and angles with flowing art and colors.

 

I'm looking forward to more. Show a couple, please?

 

Coop

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Here are some good examples of what the painters--who call themselves 'bombers' because a spray can of paint in Canada is a 'spray bomb'--can do, in the dark, often in winter, sometimes with cops patrolling for them, and a few of them getting squashed like bugs each year.

 

This is a montage I made up, with out-takes from pieces I photographed in the last year.

 

enjoy

 

murad

Steel_Wheels_print_.jpg

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And here is one of my all time favorite grafs.

 

Painted by a kid in Portland OR, in '01, moniker unreadable (at least by me)

 

the rest of the piece includes a clown fish, an octopus tentacle and the mermaid has a set of missile nose-cones that might be dangerous to stand in front of.

 

murad

blu_godess_mail_.jpg

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That is neat, a hell of a lot better than some stuff you see in some galleries, perhaps those wagons should be cut up and the art works preserved.

Can you imagine a whole gallery of it, but then it probably would loose its spontaniousness.

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Bear in mind that by painting on boxcars these kids are fully aware that they are creating travelling shows of their work.

 

How many artists can get their work in front of captive audiences from coast to coast?

 

The trade-off, of course, is that they can't identify themselves other than by a moniker, and feed-back is minimal. But, there are some fr8 bombers who have become notorious....mostly on the web, because their work is so outstanding.

 

And, it is my intention to indeed get a gallery--or many galleries--full of these images, along with explanations of who these artists are and why they do what they do.

 

murad

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I can appreciate the talent and the art, but I can't appreciate the fact that they are defacing someone elses property. I have seen first hand some graffiti "artists" use there skills to become professional artists. Those are few and far between. I live in an area where graffiti is a real problem. 1 out of 5000 may have artistic talent - misapplied. The rest are nothing but vandals defacing other peoples property. There is a full time crew that has to go around painting over the garbage that they spray, and they don't come close to keeping up. It's nice to go on vacation to areas where the graffiti epidemic hasn't struck yet. Personally, I'm sick of it. What ever happened to good old fashioned respect for others and their property? Appologies if I offend you Murad, but you did ask for any and all reactions.

Edited by Tim Crocker

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I think if you wanna talk about disrespect for proporty, Look at humanity as a whole --- Humanity = graffitiing the earth ITSELF, with worse damage ;-) Interestingly enough however, things like stripmines do seem to have an artistic look to Me, in some cases...

 

Though I agree with you to a degree.. I also think theres a difference (to me at least) between tagging, and graffiti -- Tagging seldom even LOOKS good or "cool"...graffiti is art, passion, and so forth -- Of course, one man's art is another man's "What the HELL is *THAT* doing in a gallery..."

 

I personally like the flavour that good graffiti adds to an area..though the idiot gangbanga's we gots' around here trying to mark "Turf" really need to take art lessons, I think...

 

Awesome work and finds by the way, Murad -- I'm curious..Would you be interested in having submissions added to your page/galleries? I'm thinking We could all pitch in and make this project even larger and diverse...I love this kinda stuff and would love to see what everyone can find in their own towns. I've seen some stuff that made My jaw drop before (both from being good and ridiculously badly done)....I'm sure with a little exploring, We all could.

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Tim, I also don't have much tolerance for the 'bombers' who are hitting buildings and the infrastructure of cities and towns. I agree that this is defacing private property...and that is why I only photograph railroad graffiti.

 

When I spoke with the manager of the biggest yard here in Maine, he said they were unconcerned about kids putting "....Rustoleum on their rusty cars", but he also said they were very concerned about the kids getting killed in their pursuit of painting. Most railroad employees I have spoken with are either inclined to be amused or neutral about the work they see. Much of what is done is the work of 'toys', younger wannabees who are after the 'bandit' or 'guerilla' sheen of the lifestyle. These kids are considered as pests by the hard-core bombers and even get thumped if they are caught out there in the yards.

 

It is important to understand who these kids are. At an early age they already feel like outsiders, have been pretty much told that they are useless, need to just go get a job, and many of them are plenty pissed off. They are exactly the same population of kids I worked with in the 70s as a youth worker in upstate New York. They are also determined to create their own sense of worth, and they refuse to remain invisible.

 

Brett, I don't really do anything to my website; that is all in the hugely capable hands of my son, Sam. He, however, is just finishing his 4 yrs in the USAF, is in Germany and is an avid downhill bike racer who is on the circuit there this summer. He will be coming home around the first of the year, and at that time I hope we will be starting a whole new web concentration. And, your idea sounds excellent to me.

 

These works are a kind of social barometer. Rejecting them will not make them disappear, which is kind of the point for most of the kids who do it. And, as you can see from the pieces I have posted, there is some real talent out there. Supposing that a kid who is doing this will stop, go to art school, become a commercial artist, and have a successful career....or become a gallery artist...is to suppose that the people who settled the American west should have stayed in Philadelphia. That just is not who these souls are.

 

good discussion....thanks for participating....keep it going if you want to.

 

Murad

clown_fish_samp_.jpg

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Great work Murad, :)

Wonderful project.

 

Thank you for doing this.

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Muard - Son's a downhill bikeracer? awesome.. That kinda stuff is fun, best of luck to him.

 

I'll start schlepping around My digi-cam as best I can and shooting stuff as I see it - this really is an interesting and relevently-modern project, I feel.

 

"Rejecting them will not make them disappear,"

 

and I agree wholely with your feelings and philosophies on this.. To badly paraphrase Myself, "Everything that's accepted as classical or traditional, was most likely once new, radical, heretical, and scorned, itself." I think every bit of support the real street-artists out there, the better for them to help them against the barrage of criticism and fire they're against...I morally support anyone who's willing and has the inner drive to chase their passion, even if it puts them in harm's way initially. On some cases, I may not exactly like what they're doing..however, this just means a difference of opinion.. but if they still have the drive and passion, They still get a "go for it, man" from Me. To Me, metaphorically standing on your feet and doing what you love, even if you get knocked OFF of your feet multiple times, is one of the highest virtues a person can have.

 

Besides, once you see the forest (art, passion, expression) instead of the trees ( proporty "defacing", etc etc) - it's hard not to love this kinda stuff.

 

Taggers and gangbanger's on the other hand really need better hobbies, or at least more drive to get better, as well as motives, I think. :-)

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I like the technical skills, but I dislike the fact that they're vandalising someone's property. Railroad employees are of course not the owners of those cars. It's possible that the corporate owners would want such art on their cars (and the artists who enquired and received permission are obviously not the ones I'm talking about here) but it's unlikely - they would much rather see their corporate logo, or sell the space for advertising, or even have a boring solid color. The fact that I find many of those much prettier than I would a dumb advertisement doesn't change anything.

 

I suspect that many of those kids just don't care about others' property. This does a lot to lesten my interest in their technical skills. Technical skills must be at the service of a good cause to be worthy of admiration, otherwise they're wasted or even evil. For example, there were great "artists" (or great technicians) who put their technical abilities at the service of Nazism or Communism.

 

This obviously doesn't go as far, but by choosing to vandalise others' property, they are putting themselves firmly on the wrong side of the line that separates good from evil.

 

I know that some people have contracted tag artists to paint their property (e.g., some shops, etc), and I think this is a great development.

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One could also say, that the train companies themselves are the evil ones for stamping out the natural beauty of the area, therefore causing the need for those who will step up, to create beauty in the area as best they can in it's place as they feel it's missing. Or, the public themselves for creating the DEMAND for the train compaies and causing them to do what they do, and having them create a great and otherwise wasted improvised painting canvas in the process for these artists, taggers, and gangbanga's to use in this very interesting cycle.

 

All of it depends on the defenitions of good and evil, two HIGHLY subjective terms, that I've noticed people generally use to put things they dont yet fully understand into comfortable little boxes for themselves. I dont know if the terms can be applied to this subject, especially since it can be said to exist because of multiple reasons.. ( Just come kid wanting to make his mark, gang warfare and territory markers, defacing just for the sake of defacing, or even a genuine love of creating art and wanting to share it) - In this case its not clear-cut enough for that, too much "Gray area" for Me to touch with a ten foot pole,...at least, Not while I'm sober... *End Psuedo-Rant*

 

Im a big believer in "do what you want or must, but dont complain when you hit repercussions you should expect, and even a few you DONT expect"

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Guerilla art - hmmmmmm, Che guarvara shoulda wrote a book covering THAT, too. "When refering to your spray-paint cans, do not refer to them as weapons, but that they are the people's power!" I like it.

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Sorry to have 'blinked' here, but it has been a busy summer.....

 

Joss, of course, I am not offended by your comments. I honor your opinion, as I do anybody who is willing to put theirs forward in a forum like this.

 

But, I cannot, in my wildest dreams, find a way to consider the graffiti I find on boxcars as 'evil'....no, sorry, it just doesn't qualify, at least not by any reasonable definition of the term that I have ever encountered. BTW: I majored in the philosophy of ethics at Penn State and spent most of my undergraduate career trying to pin down ultimate concepts of 'good' and 'evil', with the help of a very wise professor emeritus.

 

In the end, it was an impossible mission. But, in the decades since then, I have developed my own sense of 'evil' as being that which propagates hateful, cruel or dismissive feelings and actions.

 

I often come across boxcars and have to stand there and laugh, before I can manage to photograph. This is not a good working definition of 'evil'.

 

These kids are saying, "Here am I." and "Look at me." They rarely turn to negative sentiments, although it isn't unheard of. One poor bugger paints, "Yousuk" Sad that this is the best he can manage to come up with, eh.

 

Truthfully, the railroads don't give a damn. They just don't want to get sued when a kid gets squashed doing this work.

 

That's the view from trackside, anyway.

 

Murad

destroy_prisons_a.jpg

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Nice pic!

 

I mentioned above that it reminds me of cave paintings but the more I think about it the more it reminds me of tattoos. Tattoos for metal and concrete skins.

Edited by Phillip Jones

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I have a ghet... "an area of urban strife" near my house that has a lot of this art. I can't help appreciate a lot of it. Some is amazingly creative. Most boxcars are kinda' fugly any way. I don't see a problem with a custom paint job.

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Not a tough sell to this crowd.

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