Lonely Planet Writer

Train graffiti artists around the world unite to showcase their art form

Graffiti artists from across the world have come together to contribute to a new book on the art form of spray-painting train carriages. With contributors from America, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all taking part, the images show the creative process behind train-based graffiti. 

A balaclava-clad graffiti artist. Image by Seltmann and Söhne / mediadrumworld.com

Pictures from ‘Graffiti Artists: United’ by Paul Stenzel show balaclava-clad graffiti artists taking their spray cans to the sides of trains in Germany, while another shows an artist perched in between two train cars while carrying out some spray-painting.

Artists at work. Image by Seltmann and Söhne / mediadrumworld.com

Further shots show a faceless artist spray-painting the side of an American subway car, with yet more images showing one man prizing open a train door from the inside, while his friend decorates the outside of the carriage.

Stenzel focuses on illegal graffiti in the series of pictures. Image by Seltmann and Söhne / mediadrumworld.com

Editor Paul Stenzel focused exclusively on illegal train graffiti for this project, and says it’s the rush that comes with the art form that most excites him about it. “I’m interested only in illegal graffiti,” he writes in the book.

This artist is only interested in expressing himself through illegal graffiti. Image by Seltmann and Söhne / mediadrumworld.com

“Everything started with painting trains, capturing the moment, the atmosphere, the vibe, the action, without even a photo of the finished piece. Later, those things were joined by the desire to take photos but with an emphasis on the finished piece and capturing the traffic in a way that would make the piece look its very best. 

Graffiti artists taking their spray cans to the sides of trains in Germany. Image by Seltmann and Söhne / mediadrumworld.com

“For me the best bit about graffiti is that moment when you run from the tunnel after painting a panel, try to find some shop to grab a beer and your camera strap still smells like that panel, when you manage to run from the metro security even if they close the only exit from the layup, when you meet new people who show you places that you couldn’t find by yourself, and that by simply painting some stupid trains you forge friendships that last for years or even longer.”

Graffiti Artists: United by Paul Stenzel is available on Amazon