Graffiti Styles on Trains

[Graffiti Wednesday]

Every morning the Burlington North Santa Fe Railway wakes me up from a dead sleep. This has been going on ever since we moved into our prairie bungalow near downtown Oklahoma City nearly eight years ago. I’m an early riser, but the trains ensure I’m up before the birds start singing.

Prior to my interest in urban train culture and graffiti as an art form, there was little upside to living near the tracks. But, these days, my frequent proximity to trains ensures that I have an ongoing supply of new freight train graffiti to photograph.

Five years ago, three guys, Roger, Darin and Ian, wrote a book about freight train graffiti. At the time, surprisingly little had been written about the lively art form. They interviewed 125 train and freight writers for the project, which features 1,000 color images of train graffiti.

The following images highlight various graffiti styles on. All of these were trains on the Burlington North Santa Fe Railways that runs through Oklahoma City.

Graffiti on a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Train
I think all three of these elements can be considered Bubble style graffiti. The blue in the middle might be wildstyle. I have no idea what any of these words say. The letter-scribbles in the far right corner are called streaks or monikers.
Block Style Graffiti on Graffiti on a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Train

The green black and yellow letters look like old school or block style graffiti. The turquoise and yellow on the hot pink background look like old school also. I love the shadows of the train signals on the trains. These pictures were taken last Friday evening.

Bubble Style Graffiti on a Train

The graffiti on the right is bubble style. The letters in the middle look like a cross between bubble, block and a style known as “ignorant.” I have no idea why they call it that.

Hedgehog graffiti on a train

I think this is a depiction of Sonic the Hedgehog The best train graffiti I’ve photographed in Oklahoma was a train filled with vibrant Sonic the Hedgehog characters.

sharp and wildstyle graffiti on a train

I think the purple and lavender graffiti is a style known as sharp graffiti, but it might be wildstyle. The black is probably wild style and the blue looks like block style or maybe old school. More great shadows!

Block style graffiti on a train

This looks like block style graffiti to me. I’m drawing from definitions provided by FatCap.

Graffiti on tank car train

This is a picture I took about a year ago. I rarely seen graffiti on tank cars like the ones in the above picture. These cars transport everything from vinegar and milk to crude oil and gas. Scary!

Have you photographed any amazing graffiti in your town this week? If so, feel free to use the linky below to link to your post.

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  1. says

    Jen, I did not photograph the graffiti that passed me on a crossing when I was out powerwalking a few days ago. I am promising myself to do so on my phone camera next time! I love train graffiti and always imagine the folks in the act of drawing and spray-painting on those train cars.

  2. says

    My hotel in New Orleans during a recent trip was adjacent to a railroad. So all I had to do was go outside and go snap,snap,snap.

    I notice that there seemed to be a tug of war between the taggers and the railroads/tank car owners on the tank cars. The taggers write over the product markings which are useful to people like fire departments just in case something goes wrong. You would take different approach with milk than you would sulfuric acid bound for an alkylation unit at a refinerty or propane.

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