Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Boxcar art April 29, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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WHENEVER I SEE BOXCAR ART, I wonder. I wonder about the artists, what inspires them, why they choose boxcars as their canvas.



Are they sending a message? Marking territory? Vandalizing?



And when do they paint?



So many questions pop into my mind as I lift my camera and aim the lens toward the mobile art. Where are these phantom artists who create these traveling galleries of art?


© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


23 Responses to “Boxcar art”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    I love to see “tagging” and fun stuff like this even if I don’t have a clue what it means. 🙂

  2. Gunny Says:

    They are doing all three Audrey. Vandalizing, marking their territory and sending a message.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    Something about it reminds one of dogs marking trees – but it can be very creative.

  4. Ken Wedding Says:

    An article that might approach answering your questions is from MinnPost: https://www.minnpost.com/stroll/2012/07/train-graffiti-and-its-long-strange-thoroughly-american-lineage/

  5. Here in the Netherlands we find the graffiti art everywhere. I often wonder myself who these artists are and why they choose such a public canvas.

  6. JanBeek Says:

    I have always considered this “grafitti” and have resented the “artists” who paint on other people’s property without their permission. However, several years ago when I was visiting friends in Germany and saw grafetti there for the first time, I complained only to have my host tell me that he thought it was “art.” And he didn’t mind it at all. I guess it’s different strokes for different folks, huh?

  7. Joan Says:

    I have always been interested in train art for the same reasons you stated. Living in Waseca most of my life and also wonder who does this art. They have a lot of talent that they should be using in better ways. The only railroad cars I don’t like are the ones that have vulgar remarks & drawings.

  8. Bella Says:

    Did you ever read The Boxcar Children? I visualize these cars as being abandoned and hideway homes for some.

  9. There was a time back in the 1970s, 1980s, when NYC subway cars were completely graffitied over. Inside and out. It was during the late 1980s, early 1990s when new graffiti-proofed cars were introduced.

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