Uncapped: Piecing Together Golden Era Trains
Back in the day, photographing graffiti-sheathed subway trains in their full glory was a rarity, save for the infamous shots snapped by Martha Cooper, John Conn, or Henry Chalfant. Every now and again you run into (thanks, in part, to social media) a person whose passion is to do what they did, yet comes up short by virtue of the simple fact that they were not there.
Which brings us to the next guest in our ongoing Uncapped series…
Please welcome, Rudy aka mr.a_to_the_k. A puzzle master. Rudy, with a little help from some friends, stitches together partial images of train cars into the the whole picture. It’s a painstaking preservation effort.
In his own words:
I’m from California, and the “Bible” (we did not know about any other graffiti books growing up, besides Getting Up and Spray Can Art) to us was Subway Art (written by Chalfant and Cooper). Since we were not from New York and did not have subways, that book gave us a look into the history of the culture, but content that only scratched the surface, since there was so much more to learn about the 70s. As a young writer starting out in the early 90s, I was always amazed by all the old school NY subway graffiti. During that time, I would also see the Graf Flix section in The Source magazine, buy Can Control magazines (put out by POWER WCA CBS from L.A., which sometimes would show NY subway graffiti), and watched Video Graf in the early 90s as well.
Early on I had an idea of stitching cars back together with Photoshop, because I’d come across many different photos of the same cars and would realize they belonged together. I didn’t know how to use Photoshop, so I reached out to any member of my Facebook page that was willing to help me out with my vision. Kinjal Mitra aka MICRO hit me up and said he’d be willing to do it! I was ecstatic! I learned he did Photoshop and graphic art for a living, so he was the one and had the skills to pay the bills! He eventually earned the nickname “The Stitch Master” from the group! Lol. I always insisted he’d stay true to the raw files as much as possible when doing the Photoshop stitches. He was amazing at what he did and put around 20 or more cars (some very rare and never ever seen in their entirety) back together with skills in Photoshop.
Many of these required some extensive work to put together. They involved a lot of manipulation, tweaking, skewing, etc. to make them work. They really are little works of art in themselves, but more so because many of these cars have never been seen in their entirety in circulation. Some of the stitches used rare photos as well.
During the years, I had a few writers reach out to me and share some of their amazing flicks from their collections, and I was able to unearth some awesome old school NY subway graf flicks!
For thanks and shout outs: Kinjal Mitra, DOM TB (THE BOYS), James Pantano aka KJ ONE/KRAZY JAMES/AE13, Richard Dowling aka RICHI KRAKDOWN, Jimmyjames Cortes Padilla aka CHIEF ONE, Chris Pape aka FREEDOM, ERIC DEAL CIA, SPAR ONE TFP, Rich Angelet, JEAN 13, HOI 1 ESP, Kyle Brinson aka SPEC 1/BAD 700, VEN, CAVS, SAIN TOP, KING 2, Paulie Iovino, KAZE, Alan Barcoff, Ray Morelli aka AZ ONE/AZEE, REPEL, SHIP 1, KADO, Cole Onley, BH-ONE, Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, Keith Baugh, Jack Stewart, Jon Naar, Manfred Kirchheimer, Tony Silver, BILROCK 161, REVOLT, ZEPHYR, DAZE, CRASH, Charlie Ahearn, DONDI, SEEN UA, BLADE, ALE ONE, GEAR TC5, KR-ONE, DON 1, FLIP ONE, SPIDER, EX ONE aka KEVIN 97, QUIK, Museum of the City of New York, Hope K. Moore, Pitt Pete, and many others!
Check out the gallery and thank you to Rudy for sharing his work with us. To the Golden Age!