artist: Niels Shoe Meulman
year: 2020
medium: spray paint and ink on hand made deckle-edge Hahnemühle paper
size: ± 65 x 50 cm

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A print edition (60 EUR) of this piece is available exclusively via

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"Strangely enough, I never tried making an ambigram of the word Shoe before. I do remember they called me Oesh (Verlan) in Paris in the eighties, but that's another story.
To accompany my solo show and installation at Straat (the biggest museum in the world for graffiti and street art), I was asked to create a screen print. A great chance to address the often-heard question 'What is the difference between graffiti and street art?'.
So here it is; an ambigram of my name with old-school graffiti style letters executed in street art's favorite medium; the stencil. And depending on how you hang the unique piece, you can either read 'street art makes real-estate value go up' or 'graffiti makes real-estate value go down’.
Yes, just like with flowers and weeds, the difference is judgement."

– Shoe

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Niels Shoe Meulman (1967) is a visual artist, known for his gestural paintings which reveal vivid traces of graffiti and calligraphy. He revolutionized the art of writing when he initiated the Calligraffiti movement, claiming ‘a word is an image and writing is painting’.

Being a graffiti pioneer from Amsterdam, Shoe tagged along with New York counterparts like Dondi White, Rammellzee and Keith Haring in the 1980s. Equally influenced by abstract expressionist painters and pop artists, he gradually found a unique way to translate street attitude to galleries and museums.

Experimenting within the traditional medium of paint-on-canvas, but also unafraid to venture into other domains like conceptual installations and poetry, Niels Shoe Meulman keeps pushing the limits of the global urban contemporary art scene.

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