Train Action vs High-Art Subway Pranks
Two extreme capers where art and subways intersect
With graffiti being around for as long as it has, things are bound to take some strange turns now and then. As with any art, attempts to create something wholly original can lead to some very odd results. But that doesn’t mean that two opposite sides of subway art—panel styles and conceptual art—can’t coexist.
Take these two recent subway art videos… both from Europe, obviously. On the one side, we get a selection of burners and a little action, the other is an all-crime DVD for art’s sake.
First up is HOPE from OH Crew’s video. It’s a clip with a few action scenes and a bunch of benching, featuring HOPE at the forefront with some friends. For a train video, the feeling is pretty relaxed, almost like a Sunday spent painting a legal wall with the homies. Most of it is day painting, actually. HOPE really hones in on his style; it’s instantly recognizable and thoroughly cultivated. There are also a few whole trains in the clip, with each writer taking up a whole car to themselves. Most are just panels though, and as detailed as HOPE gets, he’s no slowpoke.
Then we have this video by Rocco And His Brothers. The whole thing is about the mission, and it’s a big mystery about what’s actually going on. They’re painting a wall solid white and even painting the gravel at one point, then they’re collecting random objects. Eventually, they pull out a fucking blowtorch and cut away pieces of train rail. In the end (spoiler alert!) they’re gathering parts to recreate a section of the tunnels inside a white-cube gallery space. Where they stole the pieces, they leave behind a section painted white. The whole thing is actually pretty interesting to look at and funny too. But they really went a looong way to get there, and you gotta wonder whether it was really worth it.
Beauty, like art, is in the eye of the beholder. Crime is defined by law. Is crime itself an art? Probably not, but some artists definitely get a thrill out of it.