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News

Let Us Spray

All over the sprawling Salt Lake suburbs, the writing’s on the wall(s).

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Page 6 of 8

{::NOAD::}Trains
By the mid-‘90s, Kier says, the scene mellowed out. Writers like Kier and his friends who stayed around went from catching tags to painting throw-ups and then to pieces.

By 2000, the city began a serious clean up in preparation for the 2002 Olympics. Nothing “ran” for long. Writing had all the risk but little of the pay off. “All that buffing really got a lot of kids’ spirits down,” Kier says. So they found a new outlet.

Trains have been “rocked” since the early days of Slej and Ego. Painting trains was a whole new scene, independent of city writers. It was national; writers from across the country could see what was being done in Salt Lake City and vice versa. It was all there on the tracks painted on the boxcars—writers call them “holy” rollers. “Most writers that are known from here are train writers,” Kier says.

A glimpse through the pages of the Salt Lake City graffiti magazine All Nation is a tour through the freight-graffiti world. Pages of photos show triple-colored pieces and throw-ups, some painted more than a decade ago, running along whole boxcars like out-of-place cartoons. All Nation’s pages are filled with graffiti from across the country: Philadelphia, San Jose and Salt Lake City.

But, like city bombing, too much of a good thing can be its undoing. If too many people paint trains, too often, the authorities clamp down which ends freight bombing. Thus, says Yeti, there have to be rules to keep spots mellow so everyone can keep painting: Don’t go to a yard and leave empty cans around. Don’t paint when a train is coming through. Don’t paint a yard that belongs to another crew. And don’t make a spot “hot” by painting it too often with too many people.

Some writers even avoid painting over train ID numbers as a sign of respect, says Kier.