T his book is a photo diary of the graffiti I saw during the last three years of New York City subway graffiti and the first few years of American freight train graffiti, on a national scale.I would like to caution anyone viewing, or purchasing this book that I am not a professional photographer. While some of the photos are not “picture perfect”, the value of the photos are immeasurable simply because they tell a story that is more important than my own. Many of the photos in this book tell the story of writers who were there, paid dues, but were never recognized. Even after I began to learn about photography from both formal and informal sources, I was still more concerned with documenting than I was with taking a perfect photo. There were often times while benching on the subway when I forgot to change the F-Stop on my camera when I ran around to the other platform and was now shooting into the sun, or where a piece on a freight train was far off in the yard, too far away to get a “good” shot. In both cases, and many more like it, I took the shot anyway. I always based my decision to photograph a train on the notion that someone would care, someone would want to see this – even if it was not the greatest photo, even if it is twenty years from now, and even if it was just the artist themselves.
As much of this story belongs to the writers it is, in large part, my story. For that reason, much of the text is commentary and told in the first person. Being familiar with the historical mainstream coverage of the Writing culture, I am aware that for every one writer whose work has appeared in a book, magazine or website, there are ten, perhaps more, that put in the same, if not more work, but have never been included. As a student of history, I feel it is my duty to make sure those ten that I know about get their “shine”. Before I embarked on this project, I knew I had a collection of photos that would speak to the writers, the thousands of writers out there that remain thirsty to know and understand more about the history of the culture they love. After learning this was out of the scope of mainstream publishers, I still felt this project had merit. Again, I still felt my story, the writer’s story, the untold story, the story of what I saw as an impartial witness to some of the most important years of graffiti in America, needed to be told.
via Bates - 12oz Prophet ~ "Commonly known as the best thing to happen to trains since graffiti, Steel Wheels is a multi-disciplinary organization with an overall focus on graffiti on trains. Steel Wheels is the re-incarnation of the FotoKingz Crew which which in the late 80′s was a photo club dedicated to the documentation and collecting of New York City subway graffiti. In 1995, Steel Wheels curator and CEO Cole T. Only began Steel Wheels Magazine. The overall aim was to showcase the global train graffiti movement on a crude but unbiased basis. Over the next 15 years, Steel Wheels has morphed into several different aspects of train graffiti, design, literature and Hip Hop"
Steel Wheels 1986 – 1997 is the first independently published book by author Cole T. Only. It explores American graffiti at the crossroads of its existence. Covering New York City at the end of the City’s 20 year campaign against subway graffiti, and the forefront of the American freight train graffiti culture, Steel Wheels 1986 – 1997 has a litany of brilliant never before seen photos. Also including insightful text and commentary to guide the reader through the nooks and crannies this monumentat period in the annals of American Train Graffiti…Purchase your copy now