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Freight Train Graffiti Paperback – June 1, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: "Harry N. Abrams, Inc." (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810992493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810992498
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Aaron J. Barkl on November 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book, tons of color shots and information. Great reference for model railroaders looking to add a present-day feel to their trains. Beware! This book will inspire you to tag your own stuff.
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Unlike some of the people who have written bad reviews of this book, I actually BOUGHT IT and READ IT. I found the book to be chock full of stories and anecdotes. Some of the pictures are too small for my tastes, but this book doesn't look like it was intended to be a picture book. It looks like a good resource for people who want to read firsthand accounts of what it is like to be a train writer, learn a little bit about the history and origins of the freight tag, and have plenty of pictures to go with the text.

If you want to see huge photos of incredibly intricate work that took several artists days to perfect, this is not your book. If you want to learn about the scene, read stories about the hazards and risks involved, and see a broad range of tags, from small hollow ones to huge full color end-to-ends, to hobo drawings, try this book.

How many trains would a train writer write when a train writer writes on trains? It's in the book. Some books have pictures, but they don't answer this one. This book belongs in my collection, and that's where it will stay.
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Format: Paperback
This is a comprehensive look at the freight train graffiti movement in the Americas. It's a huge book that includes more than a hundred of the most influential writers in the scene. From the Pre and Sento cover to the present day, this book covers the history from end to end and in full color. Short passages explain who's who and what's what. It is amazing. You'd happily pay $50 for it, but luckily you don't have to. It's a must-have for any rail graffiti enthusiast.
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EXCELLENT book - I always thought of graffiti as just disfigurement, but it is actually quite an art and quite a science, and the reason
people do it will rather surprise you. A lot of it is actually very artistic and colorful. I am going to go out this spring and take pictures of
the graffiti on the trains by my house and see if I can match any of the "painters".
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Got this for my husband as a gift. he loves trains and train graffiti, so this was perfect. He read the whole book in a couple of days, which shows how much he liked it-because he doesn't usually read that fast! He told me it was perfect gift!
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Format: Paperback
Awesome book! Checked it out for free through Worldcat at my local library since my local library didn't carry it. The library it came from had a 'TEEN' library section sticker on the end of the book! The book covers everything: early railroad system, evolution of graffiti, early writers, the buff, subways, galleries, magazines, websites, influential writers, different yards, benching, train graffiti, commentary from famous writers /pioneers, monikers, Herby / Colossus Of Roads / Bozo Texino, glossary, etc.

I ordered the Who Is Bozo Texino? Dvd off Worldcat after reading this. I've been wanting to see that film for several years.

I put in a request at my local library after seeing how good this book was and they ordered two copies! It would be great to see a follow-up to this book covering things since this book was published in 2006.
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Format: Paperback
The subject is well researched, although rail cars are not totally unique to graffiti, which seems to be a human tradition since the first caveman scratched out the image of a beast on the wall of his cave. History buffs study graffiti along the Oregon Trail in places like Independence Rock in Wyoming. Graffiti is personification. What I find amazing is that so many "artist" have so much time, and resources to supply great quantities of paint to do this illegal form of art. Obviously several hours go into one masterpiece at some point, would expect detection by authorities. I have a little difficulty with the smallness of the writing. Otherwise, I find it interesting
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Format: Paperback
This book does a great job of telling the story of freight train graffiti. The authors did a great job of finding the artist that were really putting in work with amazing style. This is apparent by looking at the covers with Pre-One and Sento! These two alone say enough about this book. The stories inside are a great read and I thought the pictures were clear and detailed well. If you ever tried to paint a freight train you will really appreciate the style in this book and how the artists featured developed such technique and skill. They make it look easy! The stories and the writers perspective in this book is amazing. I especially like the chase stories! haha. I highly recommend anyone a fan of graffiti, art or trains to purchase this book. This is the 101 when it comes to graff of freights!
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