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Action Painting: Bringing Art to the Trains


216 pages
26.1 x 20.8 cm
Language: English
Publisher: Publikat

Action Painting: Bringing Art to the Trains gives outsiders a profound insight on the adventures, techniques, ethics and passion behind train graffiti.

Action Painting focuses on the European departure of an art form that started in New York City in the early 70s. Steering away from its NY roots, train painting in Europe completely took off into its own, markedly more abstract art form than its American counterpart. Action Painting provides a comprehensive overview of the art that has been rolling on the tracks between Helsinki and Madrid on Europes transit system in the past quarter century.

The photographs that constitute the pages of this book are sourced from friends of the artist or the artist themselves. Mostly stashed away for fear of prosecution, these images serve as the only tangible link between the artist and his/her work.

Action Painting shows the abstractness of our values in society and the art market, as featured artists on one side earn thousands of Euros for small canvases in the galleries and on the other side are prosecuted like terrorists for painting freely without permission. Some perfect example for this are featured artists OS GÊMEOS or NUNCA. Being hunted at night – while they are asked to have exhibitions in the most renowned galleries around the globe. All works presented in this book are no longer existent. Gone for good, washed off the side of the train, sometimes only hours after their creation. What remains is a little photo. A last glimpse of what to create took much skill, courage, determination and the risk of paying big fines or even going to jail for it. The fate of that little photo is often to end up in a shoe box hidden for the constant fear of criminal prosecution. The authors of Action Painting have brought many of these photos back to the light and have created the most comprehensive collection of art created on Europe’s transit systems until today. They present the highlights of what has been painted in the past quarter century. The task had much of a treasure hunt, as it was a long chain of conspiratorial contacts which in the end lead to unmarked packages that would arrive, containing the sought after photos. 25 years ago the release of the iconic book Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant sparked the flame of painting trains on this side of the Atlantic. While train graffiti died in New York it continues to flourish on Europe’s trains and freed itself not only stylistically from its origins to create the most diverse forms of expressions. Action Paintingis not just another graffiti book. Just as Banksy’s Wall and Piece gave people an easy access to the street art world, this title gives outsiders a profound insight on the adventures, the techniques, the ethics and the passion behind these humourus, radical, sometimes political or straight typographical pieces of art.