When the graffiti art first exploded in the late 1960s in New York City, Dutch urban artists were among the first in the old continent to embrace the new art form. Over the years the Netherlands has produced some of the world’s finest urban and street art names, and thanks to its liberal regulations pertaining to street art, soon enough Amsterdam became one of the most important and greatly influential graffiti scenes in the world. Walking through the city feels like a visit to a most amazing street art gallery, as its monumental walls are covered with numerous highly elaborate murals. There, one can also find an extraordinary Street Art Museum Amsterdam, filled with an unique and truly amazing collection of the Dutch street and urban art.
And now, the time has come to present the list of ten immensely talented local graffiti artists, painters and photographers, our cross-section of the best the Netherlands has to offer.
Super A - extraordinary realistic images
Stefan Thelen , better known by his moniker Super A, is a highly talented Dutch painter and street artist, who is widely considered to be one of his country’s finest street artists. He is best known for his extraordinary realistic images of a dreamy and surreal atmosphere that feature highly metaphoric narratives, with fantasy figures, strong social messages and harsh critiques of world politics, often spiced with a splash of profound humor. Super A is a true multidisciplinary artist, and in addition to paintings and murals, he also creates engaging sculptures and installations, and often collaborates with other artists. In 2012 Dutch broadcasting company AVRO organized a public voting in which one of Super A’s supreme murals was elected as the best street art piece in the Netherlands by the majority of public votes.
Niels Shoe Meulman - Calligraphy and Graffiti
Niels Shoe Meulman, or simply Shoe is a famous calligraffiti artist, designer, and art director. Born and raised in Amsterdam, Shoe began his career in 1979 by tagging his name all around the city. In just couple of years he became a worldwide street art legend set out on a mission of spreading his art throughout Europe. Inspired by the New York Graffiti style he took his lettering skills to perfection by apprenticing under Anthon Beeke, master of Dutch graphic design. Co-founder of the renowned Crime Time Kings, pioneering 1980s graffiti crew from Paris, and founder of Amsterdam’s finest Unruly Gallery, Neils Shoe Meulman, is one of the most active street art promoters, largely responsible for its popularization in the old continent. In 2010 Shoe released his graphic art book titled Calligraffiti which was supported with a worldwide tour around 22 cities, including Los Angeles, Boston, and Berlin.
Rineke Dijkstra - Life-Size Photos
Renowned Dutch photographer and video artist Rineke Dijkstra is one of the best known and highly awarded contemporary artist from Amsterdam. Drawing inspiration from history of painted and photographic portraiture, Dijkstra concentrates on single portraits and full-length, nearly life-size photographs, and usually works in series that focus on groups such as school children, adolescents, club-goers, soldiers and nude women with their newborn babies. Her seemingly simple yet masterfully composed images usually depict subjects that are shown standing and facing the camera, while posing in front of a minimal background, with daylight as the main light source. Dijkstra’s critically acclaimed series of extraordinary Beach Portraits, which was exhibited during the annual MoMA show of new photography in 1997, brought her to international prominence and gave her the chance to show her amazing talents to the world, chance she took with great success.
Collin van der Sluijs - Dream-like Depictions
Collin van der Sluijs is a renowned painter, illustrator and owner of the Galerie Groen Licht, contemporary art gallery from Maastricht, where he lives and works. He started writing graffiti at the age of eleven, and when he was twelve he started his studies at a professional painting college. He spend next eight years studying various art disciplines, in different schools across the Netherlands. He is widely recognized for his extraordinary dream-like depictions of everyday stories that question our personal pleasures and struggles, as well as the society at large. Collin Van Der Sluijs’ exceptional work has been published in magazines, books, and shown in galleries across Europe and US, including countries like Germany, France, England, Belgium, Italy, United Kingdom and Spain. Today Collin Van Der Sluijs works both solely and in collaboration with fellow Dutch artist and friend Rutger Termohlen.
Handiedan - three-dimensional collages
Amsterdam-based visual artist, designer and printmaker Handiedan (Hanneke Treffers), graduate in photographic design at the Academy of Arts and Design St. Joost, is widely known for her elaborate three-dimensional collage pieces she creates using a complex cut and paste method of re-assemblage. This extraordinary mixture of computer montage and highly detailed sculptural hand cut collages found in Handiedan’s works full of patterns, symbols and figurative imagery, is often complimented by conscientiously collected antique ornamental frames. Intricate and meticulously crafted, Handiedan’s amazing collages represent the gradual accumulation of layers, built out of vintage pin-up girls and their body parts that stand out over a backdrop of moneys and stamps, old fashioned playing cards, antique sheet music ornaments, cigar bands, artist’s personal items and drawings.
Erosie - cycle tags, illustrative style and perfect circle
Jeroen Heeman, better known by his former graffiti name Erosie is a widely known painter, street artist, designer and illustrator from Eindhoven. Graduate with honors from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, Erosie has been expressing himself through graffiti art since his early age. With a strong background in street art, hand lettering and calligraphy, he began his prolific artistic career as an editorial illustrator. Over the years Erosie slowly developed his signature abstract visual language, while maintaining his trademark skills. Today he is best recognized for his world famous cycle tags, his exceptional illustrative style and his perfect circle. Being well versed in different styles and techniques, Erosie’s thought provoking works of captivating beauty can be seen in art galleries and on walls all across Europe.
Joram Roukes - multiple layers of content
Joram Roukes is an acclaimed Dutch painter who began his artistic career out of the small town of Groningen, located in northern Netherlands. His mesmerizing large scale oil paintings present artist’s reflections of everyday life situations reassembled in a collage like way, and pose a fragmented yet cohesive view on today’s western society and human behavior in general, leaving judgment up to the viewer. With airy atmosphere and dream-like surrealist landscapes, Roukes’ paintings create multiple layers of content, featuring inner-city figures and characters placed in situations ranging from western folkloric festivities to common customs and behavior in a context of both reality and dreams. Using poppy colors and witty humor Roukes cleverly disguises his works and invites their viewers to take a closer look, only to find something rather adventurous and uncanny hidden beneath the surface. Roukes currently lives and works in Los Angeles
Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin - fashion world
Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin are a famous Dutch fashion and art photography duo, widely praised for their cutting-edge work for fashion magazines, advertising campaigns, as well as for their breathtaking independent art work. Working together for over 25 years, van Lamsweerde and Matadin have built an exceptional and highly inspiring collection of work. The award winning duo gained huge worldwide attention with their works created during the early 1990s when they started experimenting with digital technology and computer manipulation, using software to smooth out and remove nipples and orifices of nude models. As their notoriety in the art world started to rapidly flourish, Inez and Vinoodh captivated the fashion world with their early editorial assignments for the Dutch BLVD style magazine, and they started earning editorial commissions for elite fashion magazines and numerous contracts for world’s finest luxury brands. Recently, the various elements of Inez and Vinoodh’s extraordinary career have been organized in a series of major retrospectives that celebrate their outstanding work.
Amok Island - nature and marine life
Amok Island is a critically acclaimed Perth-based painter, street artist and designer from Amsterdam, widely known for his large scale colorful canvases and murals that wonderfully depict nature and marine life. He also creates exceptional screen prints which are hand made in his studio from start to finish, with the use of extraordinary technique of exposing the screens to the sunlight. After more than a decade of painting murals all across his hometown, Amok Island’s love for all things tropical made him to travel across Asia, before finally settling in Perth, Western Australia in 2009. Amok Island has exhibited his work extensively in art galleries in Australia and Europe, and his captivating murals can be found covering the walls all around Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Thailand, Greece, Egypt, Portugal and, of course, The Netherlands.
Telmo Miel - mind-boggling large-scale murals
Telmo Miel is an extraordinary and highly talented Dutch street art duo from Rotterdam, which consists of street artist Telmo Pieper and Miel Krutzmann, gifted mural painter and illustrator, both well-versed in traditional figure painting. They are widely praised for their mind-boggling large-scale murals found in the streets of all major European cities, in which they distort perspectives and overlap their exceptional realistic renderings to create dreamlike and surreal images. What makes their works to stand out is Telmo Miel’s masterful technique of layering iterations of the same subject over one another in a way that resembles double-exposure photography, giving them certain dreamy haze. Their art is a captivating mix of various spray painting styles, classic realism, abstraction and surrealism, and every day it is gaining more and more devoted followers worldwide.
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