Niels Shoe Meulman

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Niels Shoe Meulman (born 25 September 1967) is a visual artist, graffiti writer, graphic designer and art director, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Meulman’s designs and artwork are in the permanent collections of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as part of many private collections.


Meulman was born in Amsterdam. He began tagging as Shoe in 1979 and was a graffiti legend by the time he was 18. In the eighties Shoe met New York artists like DONDI, Rammellzee, Haze, Quik and Keith Haring in Amsterdam. Inspired by their New York Graffiti style he formed the graffiti crew Crime Time Kings with Bando from Paris and Mode2 from London. Together they gave a distinctive style to graffiti in Europe.

In the 1990s, Meulman advanced his technique by apprenticing under the Dutch graphic design master Anthon Beeke (1989–1992). He ran his own design company, Caulfield & Tensing (1992–1999), with Michael Schaeffer and enabled by start up funds from Internet entrepreneur Walter de Brouwer. The advertising agency FHV BBDO took over the company, and employed Meulman as senior art director (1999–2001). Upon leaving the agency he was partner in the advertising agency Unruly with Dennis Polak. Commercial works of note include a signature shoe design for the British sports brand Umbro; the creative direction of the magazine WAVE; the re-styling of the Dutch television channel TMF; packaging calligraphy for Bols Genever, and a line of luxury silk scarves which he designs for Unruly.


Shoe calls his art of writing Calligraffiti, an art form that fuses calligraphy and graffiti. He launched this movement in 2007 with a solo exhibition in Amsterdam under the same name. Since then, his Calligraffiti pieces (signed NSM) have been seen in various international exhibitions in Europe and North America. In March, 2010 the book 'Calligraffiti - the Graphic Art of Niels Shoe Meulman' was published by From Here To Fame Publishing in Berlin. John Langdon, the ambigram artist who wrote the preface, is quoted in the book about the first time he met Shoe and saw his work: 'You are as good as me. Only I did more.'[1]


Chalfant, Henry; Prigoff, James (1987). Spraycan Art. London: Thames & Hudson, 1987, p67.ISBN 0-500-27469-X

• Caputo, Andrea (2009). All City Writers. Milan: Kitchen 93, 2009, head title design by Niels Shoe Meulman, p34, 38, 42, 46. ISBN 2-859-80013-1

Betsky, Aaron; Eeuwens, Adam (2004). False Flat, Why Dutch Design is So Good, London: Phaidon Press, 2004, p215, 375, 378. ISBN 0714840696

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

• Langdon, John; Eeuwens, Adam (2010). Calligraffiti, the Graphic Art of Niels Shoe Meulman. Berlin: From Here To Fame Publishing, 2010, ISBN 3-937-94621-7

External links[edit]

Artist Web site:

Art Web site:

Scarf Art:


  1. ^ Calligraffiti, the Graphic Art of Niels Shoe Meulman, p 129