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Tim Conlon Celebrates Freight Train Graffiti with New Solo Show "Tracks of Time"

BEYOND THE STREETS is pleased to announce Tracks of Time, a new exhibition from Los Angeles-based artist Tim Conlon. Rooted in Conlon’s meticulous attention to detail and photo-realistic execution on tangible and tactile surfaces, Tracks of Time celebrates the artist’s 30 year milestone of painting freight trains with an all-new body of work.

About the show, Tim Conlon shares, “The paintings capture trains the way I want to visually remember standing right in front of them. You paint these trains, and they leave. Who knows where they end up, when or if you will ever see them again. When they do pop back up, they have a story to tell. But what happened and where did they go? From original logos, restamped by new companies, layers of graffiti and buff. They are all time stamps in the life of the train car. Seeing benched trains with my graffiti now makes me rack my head to remember that moment in time when it was painted. Where was I, who was I with, what was going on in life? That is really the most important thing to me at this point.” 

Portrait by Luìs Ruano 

The life of a boxcar train is finite. As of 1974, it is given 50 years of operation before being scrapped, yet throughout its time of existence, it tells the stories of all those whose paths it crossed throughout the years of traveling the country. From monikers to modern graffiti, to the logos of companies, no matter the egos of both freightmaker and graffiti writer, no one can beat mother nature, the rust and weathering that puts a toll on these modern marvels, no matter how much time and effort is put into getting them repainted. 


The Romanticism of the American Freight Train

Railroads built America. A lot of countries didn’t have the geographic territory that the United States has, and the railroads really helped fill that void. Other nations didn’t have the need for that type of transportation the way we did.

I find it fascinating that people are drawn to trains for so many reasons and that these subcultures can co-exist on this mammoth freight network. There are graffiti writers that are using trains to saturate their names across the country to spots they will never visit. You have train-hoppers and migrants that use them as transportation to get across the continent. You have hobos and tramps that live their lives on and off the lines to stay away from society in general.

To me, graffiti writing is modern day folklore. There is a range of characters and archetypes, all very interesting and unique. If you put a bunch of us in a room, we’re eventually going to start telling tales that sound unbelievable, humorous, tragic, and heroic. And most will likely be true.

The depth of love and commitment that freight train graffiti writers have to their craft, even with the degree of risk and sacrifice, is what keeps me drawn to it. We tried to capture some of that in the freight train graffiti documentary that I helped produce for Showtime, called Rolling Like Thunder. The modern graffiti movement started on trains and that’s where it will always belong.

- Tim Conlon


Featuring G Scale (1:24) and N Scale (1:160) model trains, as well as a series of new paintings, Tracks of Time celebrates the journeys of freight trains and the indelible impact they’re had on the graffiti world, as an industrial canvas for mark-markers and rule-breakers to broadcast their message to America. The show opens on September 16, 2023 from 11AM-6PM, running through October 21, 2023. Exclusive merchandise will be available within the gallery gift shop for the duration of the exhibition.

434 N La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 

Gallery and Retail Hours 
Wednesday – Saturday: 11AM - 6PM
Sunday – Tuesday: Closed  


About Tim Conlon
Tim Conlon is an artist best known for his large-scale paintings, murals, and sculptures. Conlon often depicts weathered freight trains adorned with graffiti in his photorealistic pieces. His work has been featured in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Corcoran Museum, as well as BEYOND THE STREETS exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, London and Shanghai. He has been featured in numerous exhibitions, museums, and art fairs around the globe. In 2020 his work was featured in Sotheby’s first ever hip-hop auction. The following year he produced Rolling Like Thunder, a documentary for SHOWTIME about the freight train graffiti culture. He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.