Tramp Directories, Noms-de-Road, and Unwritten Codes. A souvenir of hobo graffiti.
Based on photographs, news sources, and works of literature.
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This 2017 publication gives authentic first insights into a subculture which got more in common with nowadays graffiti as one would expect: the connections to railroad systems, the stylistic shaping of letters, the competition between the taggers and their signs and meanings. All the similarities might hint, that modern graffiti writing is just the continuation of an ancient cultural habit.
Graffiti writing is an unique art form. At least that’s the impression one could get after analyzing the few existing serious scientific publications on the topic and the countless number of books and magazines from the scene.
Due to the worldwide spread of traditional 1960s New York name writing and it’s growing success in the 1980s art world, followed by decades of ignoring, the interest in the academic world is today slowly increasing as well: whether it’s the carvings of Pompeji, the taggings in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt or the signatures of the Austrian civil servant KYSELAK. Although there are no direct connections between these archaeological findings, there are similarities among them.
One of the most graffiti-like form of individuals leaving marks, is the North American hobo culture with it’s monikers, starting in the late nineteenth century. “Tramp Directories, Noms-de-Road, and Unwritten Codes” is the first scientific publication on this specific form of name writing. It combines early twentieth century newspaper articles and first time ever published footage on moniker carvings from 1969. In addition to this one can find novel excerpts from Jack London (‘SAILOR JACK’ / ‘FRISCO KID’) and Leon Ray Livingston (‘A-No.1’) which date back to 1907, 1911, 1912 and 1917.
If you’re into the origins of name writing culture, this reader is a must.
180 pages, 10,4 x 14,8 cm
Release date: September 2017