One of the naturally more creative taboos, graffiti has incited the spirits of youth worldwide since even before hip-hop was born. From the streets to the Smithsonian, UMBC graduate Tim Conlon has brought the '80s art form into 2010, where spraypaint on walls and dumpsters alone is child's play.
His latest gallery exhibit, "Derailed," showing now through July 14, features graffiti on canvas, trains, train models and photographs on Plexiglass. You'll find it at Studio H (408 H St. N.E., 2nd floor) by appointment.
Conlon's fiery feature piece, capturing a traditional train-side tag that reads "CN-258-257," lures its viewers from the front door into a renovated apartment-turned-gallery. The venue's cool hardwood floors make the feature's dominant hues pop, urging its smokey red against icy blues and tickle-me-pinks to seemingly leap off the canvas.
Conlon explains such snapshots of live tags are only samples of grander concept. The train models and canvas pieces contribute to a larger project he calls the Blank Canvas Series. The series is an extension of his interest in studying the way trains rust, how they react to paint and the look of new markings over a blank old train.
Conlon began his journey in the arts 17 years ago as a graffiti writer in Baltimore. He met up with "some skaters" and the rest sort of sketched itself out, he says. He's made his mark on visual art giants and has been featured in several shows, including the 2008 Smithsonian Hip-Hop Show and Berlin's 2009 "Bombs Away."
"We’re trying to make it more than just paint on a wall," Conlon says of his latest project.
Catch murals and installations by Tim Conlon at the following locations this year: The Iron Horse (507 7th St. N.W.) and on a wall at the corner of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. Visit Facebook and Twitter to keep tabs on his work.
Let's go Around Town: Keep up with what's happening in the D.C. area anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Sign up for our e-mail newsletters and find out What You're Doing Tonight with texts delivered right to your mobile phone -- just text DCTONIGHT to 622339 to sign up. (Message and data rates may apply.) Don't forget our iPhone app!