The Infamous Archives: Trains

The Infamous - Trains Department

Heat TCI: Vocal Minority

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Don’t believe the hype, says Heat TCI. Most writers don’t paint freights, and don’t care – or know – about those who do.

Crews: TCI, AKB
Location: Midwest
Experience: 1993
Arsenal: Montana Black Line

What surprises me about freight train graffiti is just how unpopular it is within the graffiti community. To prove this, you can go to 12ozprophet.com and compare the number of active users in the “Metal Heads” (freight) forum to the number of active users in the “Brick Slayers” (walls) forum, you will always find only about 10 percent of the active users are in the “metal heads” forum. And just the other day I saw a poll on The Infamous’ website asking writers what they paint. One of the answers was “freights only,” to which a mere 7 percent of the writers answered, so again we are talking about only 7 to 10 percent of writers focusing on freights. Getting away from polls and data from websites, I’ve found the same to be true based on personal experience.
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Kerse: Lurking in the Spot

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“If there are a bunch of good cars laid up,” says Kerse AMFM, “I want to do them all and not let any of them get away!”

Crews: AMFM
Location: Midwest
Experience: 1997
Arsenal: Rustoleum

I got into graffiti in general when I was younger and skateboarding. In the small town where I grew up, we used to hang out, drinking and smoking in the industrial parks and train tracks, climbing all over the freights. I remember seeing The Solo Artist on the ladders of almost every boxcar that I came across. I got my first graffiti magazine, the Can Control freight issue, and was fascinated that someone could paint a train on one side of the U.S and it would travel across the country. I actually caught a Dove and Fear boxcar from that magazine in a local layup and said, “I have to start doing this.”

I go through phases where I’ll paint from quite a few times a week to maybe just once a week. It was always what was laid up when I checked spots. If there were a bunch of good cars laid up, I wanted to do them all and not let any of them get away! It’s not easy painting where I am, and I do a lot of my work when I am traveling the country.
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Ghouls: Ghastly Adikt

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His medium: spray paint and grease markers. His canvases: giant metal boxes on wheels. He writes Ghouls and America is his gallery.

Crews: A2M WH D30
Location: Texas
Experience: 20 years (in 2011)
Arsenal: Stock Caps

In an online exclusive for TheInfamousMag.com, Ghouls A2M WH D30 shares his thoughts on what it takes to become a real freight writer.

For the young bucks coming up right now, the scene is very different than it was when I was coming up. The bar has been raised. It’s really not for every writer, and that’s okay. Bombers or taggers with elaborate tags and scratchy quick fills should find it slow, maybe too easy, boring, and unimportant to their scene. Graffiti muralists with photorealistic characters and pencil-tight lines should find the surface of the canvas and the location of the offense undesirable, not to mention a minimal intended audience. If a young writer wants to make a mark on the freight scene they should already be well-practiced. You need to really own the characteristics of both the bomber and the muralist, and more, before you even do your first freight. The standards are just that high now. Don’t even bother if you are not willing to make the sacrifices it takes to come correct with quality, quantity, and longevity. If a writer has considered all this and still wants to make a run for it, I have some recommendations. Before you start painting any freights you should do at least nine months of in-depth study on the subject, with daily benching, Internet study, and reading any available literature. Learn who is up and respect your history. Don’t go over respected work, even if it means you go home without painting. Don’t post your own freights on the Internet for everyone to see, let ‘em roll, and if that’s not instant enough for you, go paint something else. Bench and learn. Slow down. Get better. Stay out of my spots and my state. And finally, have fun, because it shows in the work.
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Myth: Steady Rolling

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Myth has been lacing freight trains with style since before the Internet showed you what graffiti is.

Crews: VTS BA AMF
Location: Northwest
Experience: 16 years (in 2011)
Arsenal: Rusto Fat

When did you start writing?
Myth:
I don’t remember what year it was but I was in fifth grade when I found a can of spray paint and painted the ‘rat bones’ logo in front of a Safeway near my house. I saw it every time I went to the grocery store with my mom and I knew it pissed people off, which I thought was pretty cool. I only saw graffiti in the background of photos in Thrasher magazine and “Yo! MTV Raps” at that time. A few weeks later I found another can of paint by a dumpster and wrote my initials everywhere I went that day until it was gone. I heard people talking about it right away and it seemed to cause a lot of attention. I kept doing it and within a week there was something written in the local paper about it and they referred to it as “graffiti.” I think that was the first time I heard that word. Instantly other people started writing my initials, too, with no clue as to what it meant and two different kids that went to my school got caught writing it inside the library.
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Much: Never Enough

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Fontographer/Graffiti foreman Much has been punishing the freights for years with rare ferocity.

Crews: HM IBD
Location: The Frozen North
Experience: 16 years (in 2010)
Arsenal: Pink Dot

Much was featured in the Trains intro in Issue 2 of The Infamous. This is the extended, off-the-wall interview. The first two questions were asked by Nmph; the rest by Snickerdoodles McPoppycock.

For as long as I’ve known you, once we get to the train, you have always been the guy who is up for whatever and always the guy to ask “so where do you want to go?” You’re never afraid to tackle the bar or to dodge the numbers, so what sort of car or situation would you say is the most undesirable for you to paint as far as the train itself goes?
Much: Probably just the car that I know isn’t going any damn where. I’m not real picky, as long as it gets out there. And it doesn’t need to be on a hotshot to Miami – just seen by somebody. Other than that, anything that I foresee as being atheistically displeasing. Like scrunching five people on a holy roller, or having someone go on the door just to fit in. Actually those big floaters above other people’s pieces really don’t look that hot, but I keep doing ‘em. Dumb.
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GSouth: Man of Steel

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On a mission to own the continent, GSouth WH has been consistently putting in work since the early-90s.

Crews: WH FS KBT Network TKO
Location: South Florida
Experience: 20-plus years (in 2010)
Output: “Sixteen years on the steel, averaging 170 a year even with jail time, probation, crazy rail cops, and down years… You do the math.”

I actually started rocking streets in the late-80s but I did not even think of the concept of hitting freights, until the early-90s. Seeing pieces by Baser and Smash 74 and the rest of the FS guys changed my focus from walls to freights in an instanct. I also remember jumping a line to hide from an engine and the freight had a Pre throwie and it said “North Philly.” After that it was like, “Why just bomb your own city when you can own the whole continent?”
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