Between the Lines showcases the latest work in Conlon’s ongoing Blank Canvas series, a collection of freight train paintings that combine typography, abstraction and trompe-l’oeil. Using spray paint as the medium, the paintings are scale studies that bring railroad logos, weathered metal and paint and the art of graffiti into close focus. Conlon has spent almost twenty-five years walking train lines and documenting the plethora of rail company cars that have since consolidated or given way to time and decay. With the advent of intermodal freight transport, the once prevalent boxcars inch closer to extinction as shipping containers take their place. Between the Lines presents the findings of a rail archeologist.
This survey features snapshots of these shipping behemoths preserved on canvas, as well as a study of G scale model trains. The train paintings feature the clean lines of manufactured steel and the organic beauty of oxidation with an overlay of modern day graffiti. Conlon’s work involves many layers and color transitions in a mixed media fashion.
About this style, Conlon says, “Certain pieces that I’ve created depend on acrylics for effect and detail, but I try to work within the parameters or ‘rules’ of a graffiti artist: your work must show your ability to produce strictly from a can of spray paint or marker. A writer’s ‘can control’ is the most important painting skill to learn, so it has been important to me to continue evolving this technique on to canvas.”
Conlon is straddling the world of urban art and the traditional gallery space to bridge ideas from work in the studio to pieces on the street. Conlon’s goal is to build on the traditional letterform techniques he has learned through spray painting while pushing the boundaries of art using the basic tools of graffiti to create themes that appeal to a wider audience.