Niels Shoe Meulman (1967) is an internationally known artist, born, raised and based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He began tagging ‘Shoe’ in 1979 and became a graffiti legend by the time he was 18. In the 1980s he met New York artists like Dondi White, Rammellzee and Keith Haring. He then formed the Crime Time Kings with Bando from Paris and Mode2 from London. Together they gave graffiti in Europe its own distinctive style.
In the 1990s he furthered his technique by apprenticing under the Dutch graphic artist Anthon Beeke. In the years after, he ran his own design company, Caulfield & Tensing and was partner in advertising agency Unruly, which he later turned into brand for silk scarves and a gallery.
Niels Shoe Meulman revolutionised the art of writing in 2007 with Calligraffiti, an art form that fuses calligraphy and graffiti. Since then, his calligraphic paintings (signed NSM) have been shown in countless international exhibitions and are part of several museum collections. His recent painting style can be described as Abstract Expressionism with a calligraphic origin. It plays an important role in the new art movement Abstract Vandalism.
Calligraffiti is a combination of calligraphy and graffiti. Calligraphy is about the art of writing and can have many forms. Whether it be Japanese ancient brush characters, Arabic pictorial scripts, illuminated mediaeval books or swirly quill writing… all calligraphy.
Graffiti is the art of getting your (pseudo) name up in an urban environment. Perfected in New York City and now a worldwide phenomenon.
The fairly new art of graffiti and its somewhat rigid rules prompts us to look further back into the history of writing. This is exactly what Niels Shoe Meulman has been doing since his teens, and at the beginning of this century he started combining the two. Thus resulting in Calligraffiti: traditional handwriting with a metropolitan attitude.