A Unique Collaboration
by Jane R. Snyder
Photography by Reeves Smith
Robert Hendrick, owner/master designer of Rail Yard Studios, is a contemplative thinker, yet you can see bold ideas ignite behind his intense blue eyes. Urban artist Troy Duff, his collaborator, has so much creative energy he can barely sit or stand still. “My father is blind,” Troy explained. “So I think that my visual has always been more important to me. I feel like I’m seeing for my dad as well.”
The artists’ work has captivated viewers in galleries and on walls in Nashville’s “hot” neighborhoods and those up- and-coming. Robert had already featured Troy’s paintings on some of his custom furniture. PROJECT BOXCAR expands their partnership, melding reclaimed railroad equipment with street art as aged boxcars are cut into segments for use as canvases. Weather, temperature, and decades of service have left intricate patterns of wear and rust behind. Troy considers all that historical beauty and the original boxcar’s typography before he raises a single can of spray paint.
Robert believes if trains were turned into art before they were put into service it would improve overall safety for the industry. “My vision, my big picture for this, is I’d love to get railroad companies to the point where they would welcome Troy in to do his own impression of their logos on a whole fleet of boxcars.”
The artist never does preliminary sketches, but prefers to paint freestyle—whatever Troy can imagine will deftly appear on each “canvas.” Fast-drying acrylic base paint—whether classic matte, fluorescent, or shock colors—will last whether these artworks are displayed indoors or outside. You don’t have to love railroads to appreciate this unique alliance, but PROJECT BOXCAR is sure to stop viewers in their tracks.