About the person

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Niels Shoe



Niels Meulman (b. 1967) is an internationally known artist, graphic designer, and art director. Meulman began tagging as Shoe in 1979 and became a graffiti legend by the time he was 18.

In the eighties he met New York artists like Dondi, Rammellzee, Haze, Quik and Keith Haring. He then formed the Crime Time Kings with Bando from Paris and Mode2 from London. Together they gave a distinctive style to graffiti in Europe. In the nineties, he furthered his technique by apprenticing under the Dutch graphic design master Anthon Beeke. Shoe ran his own design company, Caulfield & Tensing, and was a partner in the advertising agency Unruly, which he later turned into a brand for silk scarves.

Shoe revolutionized the art of writing with Calligraffiti, an art form that fuses calligraphy and graffiti. He launched this movement in 2007 with a successful solo exhibition in Amsterdam. Since then, his Calligraffiti pieces (signed NSM) have been seen in various international exhibitions. In 2010 the book 'Calligraffiti - the graphic art of Niels Shoe Meulman' was launched in Berlin and Shoe has since been touring to talk about the book and his art.




Calligraffiti is a combination of calligraphy and graffiti. Calligraphy is the art of writing and can take many forms. Ancient Japanese brush characters, Arabic pictorial script, illuminated mediaeval books and flourish-filled quill writing are all calligraphy. Graffiti is the art of getting your name (tag) up in an urban environment. It was perfected in New York City and is now a worldwide phenomenon. The fairly new art of graffiti and its somewhat rigid rules prompt 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. The result was Calligraffiti – traditional handwriting with a metropolitan attitude.

The 16th International
TYPO Berlin 2011

will take place
May 19th to May 21st.