It's there: the first real book about Dutch graffiti! Kind of unexpected I. Van Dalen hit the bookstores with a compilation of graffiti flicks from all over Holland (1985-2000). Only flicks, no text. When I heard he was working on this book, the expectations were really high: Holland has got a very rich graff history and at the moment graffiti is at a peak in it's wave like continuous being. Perfect time for a book to come out!

In Holland Staat Een Piece is a soft cover book. The glossy cover is very promising: a God's Viscious Baby- character done by Oase in bright colors and at first sight the contains of the book seem to be good and divers. At first sight. I. Van Dalen published it independently, it took him 1,5 year to collect all picture material and than couldn't wait any longer to bring it out. It seems like he rushed himself to finally have the book printed. There is no, or a half decent structure in the book. The author said (in the
book interview I had with him) that the whole intention of the book is just to show graffiti in Holland without any structure in the book. But the lack of structure gives a messy impression.

Some crews have a couple of pages together titled like chapters, like the United Street Artists and the Criminal Bombing Squad. But their pages get interrupted by newschool graffiti without any titles. Sometimes in a way that both olschool and newschool pieces loose visual power over this. A good example is the USA chapter. Behind the beautiful flicks of classic USA burners there's a double page with classic Sloterdijk pieces us late 80's tienertoerders will all remenber from the walls along the railroad in Amsterdam. Great to see that Deepspace by Cat22 or Zion color style over Zion blockbuster. It would have been nice if these pages had had a title as well, so younger writers would know, too.

Immediately behind these pages there's a double page with Mickey pieces from '95 to 2000. (Great for my egotrip, hehe…, but I think they shouldn't have been positioned in between all the oldschool) it just doesn't match, for the next page is back to '85-87 with a chapter on the CBS crew. After this the book remains a huge compilation of graff flicks. There's a
double page on Den Haag 80's oldschool featuring Neal, Sense, Sea and Fresh, but the book misses out on Den Haag 90's and nowschool. A bit of a shame, because Den Haag has always been very active and has many great writers who did crazy action. (Jim, Amase, Neves, Rise etc.) Some of them are represented in only one picture. There is a page on Utrecht 80's
oldschool, but the WOW/MSN crews who shook the nation around '95 are hard to find in the book. Another shame.

The homebase of the author, the East of Holland, is well represented with writers from the first hour like Jiem, Same, Tim and Just. The North and South of Holland are not represented. Too bad, because one
city in the dirty south that's been giving graffiti a whole new injection since 1998, Eindhoven, is not in it. This city got ill bombers like the SOL crew using new, different tools to do graff...and for instance Groningen, in the north, had crazy artists in the 80's/'90's.

The West of Holland of course is represented the most. I loved the 80's Zoetermeer Hall of Fame pages! (Again a landmark in Dutch graff history). There's a bunch of pieces done under the Schellingwouderbridge Hall of Fame by foreign artists. Nice, because Schellingwoude is a place for graff tourists to rock a nice wall.

Another minus is the way some artists have many pieces in the book compared to others who deserve to have more play, but only are represented with two or three flicks. Where are Holland's most brilliant writers like Ces, Days, Cat22/Pone, Dshamer, Mellie, NES crew or Leiden city, while others who have
only been around for two or three years, like the ADHC crew (nuff respect), Media (?), Mans or Smith (NOT New York) have mad play in the book, some even with 16 pieces!

The fact that these writers have so many play in a book that is in the full spotlight (AT5, De Spits), now graff is so hype in the media, doesn't mean that in the eyes of other writers, who have been around for one or two decades, they deserve the same props as what the big audience (with the book in their hands) gives them, only because they are in the book. Writers will think: "What is this? Who's that guy? We've been only seeing this for two years and it's in a book allready with so many pictures! Didn't pay your dues yet, bro!"

Compare it to when the book Subway Art and the movie Style Wars came out in New York 20 years ago, featuring many writers who'd only dipped their toes
in the ocean of graffiti and turned into celebrities and moviestars while they didn't even get wet yet. Where were Vinnie, Jester, Duster1, Ajax? Even us writers got desceved by this book and movie.

BUT: The author is working on a book about trainwriting in Holland, called In Holland Rijdt Een Piece , which can be expected within a decent amount of time and I expect this book will feature a nice amount of train-, subway- tramflicks by writers who've been almost left out of the first book.

It's always hard to please everybody when you compile a book. Bringing out a book in general is not easy anyway. With the initiative of releasing In Holland Staat Een Piece, I. Van Dalen has made a huge step in Dutch graffiti mankind. Finally we DO have a book about our subculture. Regardless of the composition of the book, it does show a lot. Since the mid '80's graffiti emerged in such a way that it's difficult to show everything.

Next to bringing out the book, I. Van Dalen organized a couple of graffiti art exibitions in co-operation with the Go Gallerie in Amsterdam and Mamma Gallerie in Rotterdam. The first exhibition happened in the GoGallerie, Prinsengracht 64, Amsterdam, took place. The exhibition runs untill February 22nd. It's a very positive and constructive initiative to make it possible for writers in the book to show their canvasses or other pieces of art. There are more exhibitions coming up in the near future connecting to the book or to the next book. ART12 will keep you informed about it!


ISBN: 90-805896-1-6

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