On all of my hiking and birding adventures, I’ve always loved it when I come across old train tracks, and especially old train tracks with old railcars detached and unused. I love it even more when these abandoned railcars are covered in graffiti.
The graffiti tracks (as I call them), also known as the Historic Water Station Trail and Old Stone Dam near my house, is one of my favorite spots to take photos. I just love all of the color.
The Historic Water Station and Old Stone Dam is located just north of Exchange and is part of Allen Station Park. As I mentioned, it is a very nice spot to take photos of all kinds – fun selfies, family photos, or one of my favorites, senior photos. It has a beautiful bridge overlooking the Old Stone Dam that leads you across the creek to a path with a few panels containing detailed information about the Historic Water Station.
Sadly, most of the graffiti at this location and all other graffiti near my house seems to be mostly teenagers with spray paint cans painting lyrics to songs, curse words, or love notes and quotes with an occasional cute cartoon character.
Luckily, the graffiti seems to be contained to the railroad tracks just to the north of the bridge overlooking the Old Stone Dam. So between the bridge and dam, the railroad tracks covered in graffiti, as well as the creek and all the trees, you have lots of great places for photos.
Often times (at least out here), the graffiti is just some words or famous/popular saying, or sometimes teenagers professing their love for each other by painting their initials in a heart, but even when it’s just these simple expressions, I’m almost always impressed with the artwork and style of the letters and wonder who painted it. I’m also always a bit tempted to purchase a can of spray paint and see what I could come up with to add to all the fun graffiti!
Well…I had never been as impressed by graffiti art and as intrigued as I was when I visited the Fabrication Yard in Dallas for the first time. I’m pretty sure I had not seen “real” graffiti until this visit.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of “artwork” down there that looks like teenagers snuck in with a can of spray paint on a dare (just like near my house), but there is also some really amazing artwork.
There is artwork of all kinds – lettering, pictures, colorful designs, murals, portraits, comic book characters and more. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t even know where to look first.
So many buildings filled with colorful graffiti, as well as lots of very interesting people roaming around taking selfies, conducting photos sessions, or painting on one of the many walls waiting to be decorated.
While roaming around the Fabrication Yard, I met and talked quite a bit with a very talented artist named Luis. He was so kind to let me photograph him working, and he took the time to tell us all about some of the graffiti etiquette that artists should keep in mind when creating their masterpieces.
Who knew there was so much to consider when painting down at the Fabrication Yard, but there are many unwritten rules that let you know where to paint, when it’s acceptable to paint over something that is already up, etc… It was very interesting to hear all about this.
If you’d like to check out some of the work Luis has done, you can find him on Instagram where he goes by Smokdbeanz. You will love his work. I was not there when he completed the mural he was working on during our visit, but it sure was fun to watch him in action for a while.
After spending quite a bit of my day down there, I was curious to learn more about graffiti art. I wanted to know what terms like tag, Heaven, stencil, and sticker slap meant. There is so much information out there about graffiti.
There also seems to be some debate as to whether graffiti is art or just vandalism, but after seeing the talent and the beautiful works of art people create on the walls of these buildings at the Fabrication Yard, I am sure that most of it is not vandalism.
I am also sure that a few teenagers who defaced public property at some point in time, gave a bad name to graffiti artists. And the people who spray paint inappropriate sayings under bridges and over passes didn’t help people’s perceptions of graffiti art either.
When you visit The Fabrication Yard, you will see that the talent is undeniable, and having a space for these artists to safely showcase their work is a wonderful idea.
With more and more stories like the one I read about some graffiti troubles in San Jose called San Jose Approves New Anti-graffiti Efforts and Diridon Station Design, it seems to me that cities might need to consider providing areas for artists to safely display their artwork.
I think simply painting over someone’s graffiti to “clean up” a city will just cause them to go find another place to display their work. What do you think???
As I read up on graffiti art, I discovered that The Fabrication Yard is not a new idea. Turns out, there are lots of very well-known areas around that are designed for graffiti artists to showcase their work.
After reading about different “graffiti yards” around the world, I have now added a few new cities to my bucket list of places to visit! My list of Top 5 is below, but you can read about the Top 10 in the article titled Top 10 Cities with Great Graffiti.
Places Added to My Travel Bucket List with Awesome Graffiti:
- Melbourne, Australia
- New York City (been many times but not to look for graffiti)
- Los Angeles, CA
- Paris, France (probably more to see than just graffiti)
- Bristol, UK
I’m sure my husband will be thrilled with this new list. Maybe there will be some neat computer stores in these cities for him to visit while I roam around looking for cool graffiti!
One place that did not make the Top 10 list that I might be interested in seeing is New Orleans. I would love to see some of the murals painted by Brandan “bmike” Odums.
He is known for big, bold graffiti-style murals that celebrate African American history and culture and social politics. Not only can you see his work in areas of New Orleans, but his work has also been used by Nike, Spotify, and Red Bull!
You can read about him and his work and his first solo museum exhibit at the Newcomb Art Gallery at Tulane in the article titled Catch Graffiti Master Brandan “bmike” Odums, the Man Behind ‘Exhibit Be,’ at His First Museum Show. He’s someone to watch. A very talented artist with a great message for all people!
If you want to see some amazing graffiti without leaving the comfort of your own home, and you’re a YouTube fan, you have to check out Martin on DokeTV and all of his wonderful graffiti.
He has some really great videos and a very interesting story about how he came to be a graffiti artist on his YouTube channel with hundreds of thousands of followers!
I love all of his videos, but I was especially intrigued by the video titled ANGRY Man vs. GRAFFITI Artist. He was able to keep his composure dealing with this angry man while he was in the middle of one of his masterpieces, but his confrontation with this man made me realize that people really do either love graffiti or they hate it! The man in this video was a hater…
If you prefer Facebook, you can find him there also. He has lots of pictures, some videos, and some great articles. Just click on this link: Martin’s Facebook
I am a big fan of graffiti! Now, maybe I’d feel differently if people were painting on walls just outside of my house, but seems to me that in this case, Martin’s painting just made the wall look better??
I’m really interested in learning more about graffiti art and especially interested in how to do the lettering. I’m pretty sure my daughter would be a good graffiti artist – she already creates signs and name tags using fancy, unique lettering that she draws with her many markers and colored pencils.
I’d be curious to see what she could do with some “real” graffiti supplies. For now, I’ll stick to buying her good marker sets, but someday, maybe we’ll try out some of the supplies that are recommended for graffiti artists!
Wonder if there’s room for a graffiti yard (or just a wall) in Allen? Hmmm….something to think about. I also wonder what some graffiti would look like on the inside of the fence around our yard. I’m sure getting approval from the Homeowner’s Association would be difficult? What do you think? Until next time….
If you’d like to learn more about graffiti, below are some links to interesting articles I came across while writing this blog post:
Street Art: A Legal Guide for Creatives