Ivar Vičs

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Juris Tjerk Emiles Ivars Vičs, "DR. RAT" (May 21, 1960 — June 29, 1981) was a graffiti artist from Amsterdam, Netherlands. Since his early years as a graffiti writer in the 1970s Ivar was tagging the name "DR. RAT" pioneering the movement in the Netherlands. He was a well known supporter of the association football club AFC Ajax, and would commonly tag "AJAKS" next to his name, misspelling it on purpose.[1] He is largely considered the pioneer of the graffiti movement in the country, emerging out of the punk rock scene of the late 1970s.[2][3]


Born in Amsterdam 21 May 1960 to a Latvian father and a Dutch mother who were both studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie,[4] he was the first known graffiti artist in the Netherlands and played a major role in the punk rock scene in Amsterdam in the late 1970s. Together with Diana Ozon he founded the famed punk club DDT666 (Dirty Dutch Trix 666), and was also a contributor the fanzine de Koekrant dedicated to punk rock and street culture, while working on other art related projects as well.[5]

He had a short lasting relationship with German singer and actress Nina Hagen, who had advised him to change his name to "DR. ART". Aside from the pseudonyms Dr. Rat and Dr. Art, Vičs other known aliases include Fritz Zanzibar, Stanley Sneeuwschoen de Verschrikkelijke and Dr. Death, with which he would commonly sign his paintings. A majority of DR. RAT's work in Amsterdam is no longer visible.[6]

His contemporaries largely consider him as a cult figure and an enfant terrible. Ivar Vičs was always seeking out the extremities in life, experimenting a lot with drugs and alcohol which eventually lead to his untimely death. After his passing Diana Ozon dedicated a poem to him, Punk rock band "The Helmettes" wrote a song dedicated to Dr. Rat, and Nina Hagen released the song "Dr. Art" dedicated to Ivar as well. Rare footage of Dr. Rat was featured in the 2006 documentary film Kroonjuwelen, and in 2011, journalist Martijn Haas published a biography of Ivar Vičs under the title Dr. Rat, godfather of Dutch graffiti.[7]


Independent film director Fedor Sendak, was reportedly working on a biographical film about Dr. Rat. The film was scheduled to be released in 2013.[8]



  1. ^ "Juris Tjerk Emiles Ivars Vičs biografie" (PDF). Vanstockum.nl. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  2. ^ "Oergraffiti Dr. Rat weer zichtbaar". Het Parool. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  3. ^ "De dood van Dr. Rat". AT5. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  4. ^ Godfather van de Nederlandse graffiti geëerd, door Daniël Bertina, Het Parool, 29 juni 2011
  5. ^ Punkclub DDT666, door Diana Ozon, Punt.nl, 27 October 2007
  6. ^ "Ivar Vičs, graffiti king Dr. Rat". Diana Ozon. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  7. ^ "Dr. Rat, Godfather van de Nederlandse graffiti". Lebowski. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  8. ^ Leven punkfenomeen Dr. Rat wordt verfilmd, NU.nl