For anyone who has followed graffiti and street art over the past few decades, there is no question that Niels Shoe Meulman has been part of such learned history. From his early graff days in Amsterdam in the 1980s, to his international exhibition career, to his pioneering “Calligraffiti” movement, Muelman is, in spirit, a foundational figure demonstrating why these art forms have devotees around the world.
His newest monograph, Shoe Is My Middle Name: Written Paintings and Painted Words, focuses on multiple iterations of his career, from paper to street pieces, canvas to installation work. With essays from esteemed writers, critics, and fellow artists, Shoe Is My Middle Name is an encompassing collection of thoughts on the artist that put him in historical perspective, especially given the rarity of an artist in such an emerging and counterculture activity lasting the length of the movement itself. Shoe sums it up in a funny anecdote about his career in a personal essay by noting, “To get up, you need to get out. And when you go out, you meet interesting people from interesting places. And then you vandalize these places together with interesting people. This is how it’s done.” Almost 40 years in, this is a good template to follow
Shoe Is My Middle Name: Written Paintings and Painted Words is available from lebowskipublishers.nl