Painting freight trains is a typical form of graffiti on the North American scene. Originating on the West Coast, it seems to have spread all the way to Mexico across the tracks on which these heavy metal monsters circulate.
In the last four years, Afeks has been especially inclined to paying attention to this format, and it’s been sufficient enough time for the label “train writer” to be tacked onto his already established reputation on the Mexican scene. The spark that ignited the wick and caused him to dive into this terrain was the book, “Freight Train”, a publication of pieces by the freight classics such as King157, Jase, Jaber, Ichabod and Jarus; all writers who Afeks had seen running on the railroads.
“Getting that adrenaline rush from being between the train lines and trying to be careful of everything that surrounds you is a sensation that you don’t experience in front of a wall.”
Although he also shows interest for both legal and illegal walls, Afeks is especially motivated to do freight trains. “Getting that adrenaline rush from being between the train lines and trying to be careful of everything that surrounds you is a sensation that you don’t experience in front of a wall”. It has become a bit of a passing fad for some, given the status of authenticity that writers get from painting them, however, there’s not too many who maintain a consistence in this form of graffiti.
The American freight lines make up an extensive metal network that links Mexico, the United States and Canada. That’s why Afeks often receives photographs of pieces that he painted thousands of miles south that were taken in the frozen lands in the north of the continent. That’s the essence of this type of graffiti; its enormous reach and durability.
“I recently had some bad luck with a friend and Hatems, we were shot at and I got hit with two bullets.”
It is precisely this connection between Central America with North America which causes many freight cars to be used by emigrants from countries like Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. “The Beast”, as they call the gigantic trains, serves as transportation for people who, in some cases, have nothing to lose. However the majority of migrants are friendly and try to help and coexist with the train writers.
The most important yard problem today is the Federal Police. The agents try to avoid theft of goods which is a common crime in freight yards and causes graffiti writers to be at risk of being shot. “I recently had some bad luck with a friend and Hatems, we were shot at and I got hit with two bullets.”
This danger, however, does not dissuade Afeks from doing his thing. With the necessary precaution and cunningness, he keeps churning out the enormous, intricate wildstyles like the ones he shows us here.