Mostly True: By Bill Daniel, 168 pgs. By Steve Hart

May 17, 2013

I spray painted my first train in 1983. I tried to do Black Flag’s “Four bars,” but they ended up looking like four non-descript lines. My other attempt at train graffiti was an attempt to spray paint an anarchy symbol and a peace symbol. The peace symbol, I later realized, was in fact a Mercedes logo. Later on, while I was living in Berkeley, my friends and I would hop on the slow-moving trains and ride to Gilman Street. Until one night, when my friend fell and lost his foot. My affair with trains was officially over. I met a punk guy in Maui a few years back and he told me how he and his friends rode trains all over the country, going from town to town—punk festival to New Orleans—so, apparently, train-hopping is something that people do. In Mostly True, hobo train-riding graffiti legends Bozo Texino and Herby are featured. Many of their chalk drawings on a variety of trains are depicted in detailed photos. Many of the train graffiti-ists describe their art as an addiction of sorts, something they are compelled to do. If you’re looking for a window into train and graffiti culture, this seems like a great place to start. –Steve Hart (Microcosm, 636 SE 11th Ave., Portland, OR 97214)