Last year Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show embarked on a tour unlike any in recent memory. Traveling exclusively in vintage railcars, the three bands had a journey across the American Southwest over the course of a week. I was booked to draw the limited edition of the poster, here a little explanation about the art.
All my creative process is based on symbols. I can’t help it, everything I draw needs to represent something. “The Meaning” is to me an opportunity to tell a story, and telling stories is the original purpose of Art. We are stories, anyone should tell his/her own. In this particular case, I had to face a new symbol: the Train.
Train – above all – means progress, it was representative of the Industrial Revolution, it involved velocity and concerned the challenge between human civilization and wild nature. But these things didn’t satisfy me. I was looking for something that could involve people’s stories. So I discovered the Hobo’s world. I clearly remember my reaction watching their symbols, their tales, their birth: I was like a child who discovers a bunch of toys in his attic. From that point to the result was all downhill, I caught something that was both cultural and aesthetic, and deeply American too.
The spontaneous purpose of the Railroad Revival, a train journey surrounded by music, needed something poetic to describe itself, something that can emotionally move people and make them think over both the idea and the meaning of traveling. The figure of the rooster represents a different symbol composition. It presents three different features: rooster head, hawk body, and three crawl. While reflecting on the main theme I was about to represent, I realized that the train way was going to pass across the West. So I started focusing on a desert subject. I started researching the animals that live in desert areas until the famous image of the grabbing snake eagle appeared in my mind. By substituting the snake with the train I reached that kind of impact that I was looking for. But still I wasn’t satisfied with the hawk, it was meaningless. So I turned it into a three (as the bands) crawled singing bird, the rooster. The three clawed are the tool the animal uses to destroy the iconography of the train as we know it and create a complete new symbolic image around it.
Railroad Revival Tour
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