A thirty year retrospective of Roman subway graffiti with stories from 90 of the most prolific writers in the Roman scene. This is a thoughtful journey through hundreds of secret archives with internationally renowned photographers who have followed and documented the cultural phenomenon since the early days. In spite of surveillance technology and increasingly severe penalties, these intrepid artists and photographers continue to decorate (and document) Rome’s trains.
In the 1970s, a new art form emerged on the trains crossing the length and breadth of New York City, shocking the public with the colourful, indecipherable lettering. The scene was celebrated in Subway Art (1984), by Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper, which shifted the conversation of graffiti from a public nuisance to a hyper-localized outsider art movement, encouraging its spread across the world. Fifty years have passed since the original NYC scene and graffiti has become a rarer sight in U.S. Yet in Rome, the trains continue to be painted and artists still operate in the old style, making their work uniquely ephemeral, provocative, illegal, and competitive.
This is ultimate guide and history to the enduring legacy of Rome’s subway art.
About the authors:
Mathieu Romeo, aka TROTA, is a writer from Rome and a pillar of the Roman graffiti scene.
Lorenzo D’Ambra is a Roman based graphic designer and art director.
Published 2020 by Whole Train Press
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