"Who Is Bozo Texino?"
The secret history of hobo graffiti
Directed, photographed, edited by Bill Daniel
2005, 56 min, B/W, 16mm and Super 8, mastered on Digibeta NTSC
Shot on freight hopping trips across the wild West and 16 years in the making, this is the mostly-factual cinematic account of the epic search and unlikely discovery of hobohemia's most legendary boxcar artist.
Who is Bozo Texino? chronicles the search for the source of a ubiquitous and mythic rail graffiti-- a simple sketch of a character with an infinity-shaped hat and the scrawled moniker, "Bozo Texino"-- a drawing seen on railcars for over 80 years. Daniel's gritty black and white film uncovers a secret society and it's underground universe of hobo and railworker graffiti, and includes interviews with legendary boxcar artists, Coaltrain, Herby, Colossus of Roads, and The Rambler. Shooting over a 16-year period, Daniel rode freights across the West carrying a Super-8 sound camera and a 16mm Bolex. During his quest he discovered the roots of a folkloric tradition that has gone mostly unnoticed for a century. Taking inspiration from Beat artists Robert Frank and Jack Kerouac, the film functions as both a sub-cultural documentary and a stylized fable on wanderlust and outsider identity. "I was drawn to the subject by the universal graffiti impulse and the classic, corny notion of freight train blues escape." � BD
born Dallas, Texas 1959
Texas-born, San Francisco exile, and confirmed tramp, Bill Daniel continues to experiment with survivalism and bricolage in his attempts to record and report on the various social margins he often finds himself in. Working without an art or film school education, he endeavors to make work that connects with an outsider audience. His work began in 1980 as he participated in and photo documented the blossoming punk rock scene in Austin, Texas. Since then his subcultural documentary subjects have included bicycle messengers, radical environmentalists, hobo graffiti artists, swap meet guitar players, rural drag racers, and "water squatters"--outlaw anchored live-aboards. His study and love for documentary photography and filmmaking has given Daniel the charge to create work that communicates across socioeconomic boundaries. Drawing from his backgrounds in studio photography, experimental media and the construction trades, Daniel builds site-specific viewing environments as a method for deploying non-linear documentary material within an allegorical, interactive setting.
Daniel's work has received awards from Creative Capital, Film Arts Foundation, The Pioneer Fund, Texas Filmmaker Production Fund, the R & B Feder Charitable Foundation, and The Western States Media Alliance. He was a Wattis Foundation artist-in-residence at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where his installation "Souls Harbor" was exhibited in Dec. In 1999 he was in-residence at The Headlands Center for the Arts where he produced several multi-projection 16mm film installations, including "Trespassing Sign" in collaboration with the late Margaret Kilgallen. In 2001 his hobo campfire installation "The Girl on the Train in the Moon" was included in "Widely Unknown" at Deitch Projects in New York. A veteran of the touring scene, Daniel has programmed, booked and exhibited several mobile art shows, including the Lucky Bum Film Tour with partner Vanessa Renwick. In 1997-98 he curated a weekly screening series, Funhouse Cinema, in Austin, that also regularly screened in Houston and San Antonio. Daniel is also recognized for his work as cinematographer and editor for filmmaker Craig Baldwin. Other endeavors include publishing two zines--The Western Roundup, a punk fanzine in 1981-82, and Detour, a situationist journal in 1986. He is also the creator of an experimental sports league, The Texas Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Hockey Association.Read a great interview with Bill Daniel HERE Media Contact: Faythe Levine (414) 483-8462 email@example.com Paper Boat Gallery 2375 S. Howell Ave Milwaukee, WI 53207 www.paperboatboutique.com