Tram Art

Why I paint trams and enjoy tram art

How I got into Tram Art.

I've always loved oil painting. Ever since I was a young boy I loved painting landscapes. The richness of the oil colours and the freedom to create a scene in my imagination has always kept me enthusiastically painting.

However the idea of tram art, the painting of trams, another passion of mine, has only occurred to me very recently. I have now been creating tram art and on occasions, train art for the last two years and I have found this subject to be a thoroughly rewarding and interesting one.

What makes tram art so interesting to me?

I have been interested in trams for many years. I have found a lot of scope in the painting of these vehicles from their interesting colour schemes to their interesting shapes and designs. However the aspect I most enjoy about tram art is the environments which the trams ran and still run in. Trams are at home in city streetscapes which are full of life. The road vehicles, the people, the interesting buildings are just a few of the interesting aspects of tram art.

tram art

Painting historic or contemporary trams.

I personally prefer painting trams from a bygone era. I find the period costumes, vehicles, advertisements and general mood of historic street scenes to be really interesting and exciting.

I have found that in order to faithfully recreate a street scene of past era, I have had to do a lot of research in order to represent the details accurately. I find this part just as enjoyable as the painting of the scene. I find that I learn a lot by painting a picture of a particular period, place or tram.

I also have a particular interest in creating paintings of lost photographic opportunities. I have often read about an interesting historical event that took place on a certain tramway system which unfortunately was never recorded visually with a camera. I find painting, along with a lot of research, can recreate the event visually which I feel enriches and visualises the history.

Many fantastic black and white photographs exist of trams from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. These photographs do a wonderful job in conveying visual information about the period but one thing that is missing is colour. We can see what shape a tram is, how it sits and reacts with its environment but we can't see what colour it is in these photos. I think this is where tram art can tell its own unique story.
Unfortunately on the other hand, the lack of colour photographs from the period can make an artist's research and re-creation of a scene much more difficult and accuracy isn't always assured.

Where do I get my inspiration?

I always enjoy looking at old photos of trams and street scenes. I often come across an interesting photograph with a tram or scene in a particular pose which is unusual. Sometimes the photographer has found a unique angle to capture a scene and I often find it interesting to portray my tram art in a similar way. I often adapt the angle to a completely unique scene and this often works well.

I also read a lot of interesting tram related books and find myself wishing to see a particular scene, or event in person or at least visually with the aid of a photograph. Unfortunately in many cases, photographs are non-existent. This sometimes forms the basis of an interesting painting idea. I then have to go about sketching until I develop something I like. Often I don't and the idea dies.

Enjoying painting with fellow artists.

Something that I really think has enriched the experience for me is being able to share my tram art with like minded artists. The internet has allowed me to make contact with artists with similar interests in tram art and it has been a great pleasure to share research materials and ideas for paintings. I have found several social groups where I can share my paintings and view others works of art. To name a few, Flickr and RedBubble are two places where you can share photos and art and the formation of specific interest groups has made the process very interesting indeed.

Happy painting!
Joseph Spinella

tram art
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