It’s been about a year since I had to be a switchman last. It’s like riding a bicycle- my legs were a little wobbly at first, but it all came back to me once more. Over the past four nights I have been back at it again doing twelve hour shifts each night. Last night I was soaked because of the rain. I was quite literally “Getting My Feet Wet” once more.
A part of me enjoyed doing this job again at first. Seeing some of my favorite graffiti art that I hadn’t seen in ages has been a real treat. I remember many of the images and it’s odd to see them show up again.
However, I’d like it to be over soon. I’m hoping that things settle down and the conductors return into their regular roles. They are more apt to doing this type of job than I am. I don’t feel that I am as good as I once was that’s for sure. But if I have to, I will do what is required of me until such a time that I won’t be needed.
And here I thought my career was moving away from working nights in the rain. Oh well.
A while back I mentioned how I think that Graffiti is Art. I still believe this. But over the past few years, I haven’t seen much in the way of new art. Until this week at work. Some of the new grain hoppers my work has brought in have been tagged out in the Prairies. Naturally I took some photos.
Obviously there is some raw talent out there. I noticed many of these artists tend to write their “Alias Name” on the cars. I love the shading and use of colours to make the image POP off the cars.
Sometimes the cars are humorous in what is written as well. Or a bit offensive. But it’s an expression of the artist at the time. I understand that what these people are doing is illegal. On a moving canvas that garners more views as they travel back and forth across the country- I’d rather see that instead of tags on someone’s backyard fence or on the wall of a small business.
I encourage the expression of art in many forms. In fact, our daughter is attempting some graffiti as well, but on a canvas with acrylics. She has a ways to go, and she may not continue with this style. And that’s totally fine. At least she’s expressing herself artistically.
I have a certain love of good graffiti artwork. I always have. Working for a railroad has allowed me to view up close some very talented works of art as well as just plain old vandalism. There is even graffiti that I must photograph whenever possible. That is because it features my son’s name: Theory.
Most of the art I have seen in the past few years is on rail cars. Those cars cycle around the country and sometimes into the USA. There are times that I will see the same car on more than one occasion. It is like a traveling art show. Some artists who paint on railcars have also been known to hop on and off trains to travel to other destinations, à la hobo style never staying in one place.
Over the past month and a bit I have been working in downtown Vancouver. The railroad runs through dark areas and past back alleys. The graffiti I see in those areas differs from what I see on the rail cars. Probably due to the fact that there are numerous other artists spreading their visions. Many are just sharing a word or a quick image in great detail. I have become quite prolific in being able to decipher the words written out.
I have watched documentaries about the art form and even begun incorporating and emulating their techniques. My fascination with graffiti has spilled over into my cosplay making abilities. I love using spray paint to add depth and character into what I make. Seeing shading techniques used with just colour draws my attention.
Even though graffiti is considered vandalism, I hope those urban guerrilla artists never stop spreading their message.