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Amsterdam on Tour

Clocking in at just over 200 pages, Freshcotton’s latest project, Amsterdam on Tour: The early signs of Dutch Graffiti, charts the original traces of the city’s scene, from punk bands and political activists, through to its more recognizable, hip hop-influenced forms.

Created in collaboration with Carhartt WIP, this extensive tome features an array of archival pictures that showcase the diversity and fluid nature of the Dutch capital’s fledgling scene of graffiti writers. Often, this ties in with wider political concerns of the time. Its opening pages focus on the Provo movement – a Dutch left-wing counterculture that took its name from an abbreviation of “provocation” –  during the late 1960s. Their graffiti protested unemployment and housing shortages. Later, the Liever Lesbies – the feminist girl gang inspired by punk – used this renegade artform to protest against homophobia and sexism, utilizing a signature cursive style.

Each of these small niches within the city’s scene add to the sense of graffiti being a tool for the masses, encompassing everyone from “Punk rockers [to] Disco fans, hooligans and other rebels,” as the book’s editor puts it.

Later in the book, a stylistic shift is evident, as austere, gothic lettering is left behind in favor of something bolder, more colorful and, ultimately, a little more in-tune with what was happening on the streets of New York. These stories are told across 30 interviews with key figures from that era, providing insight and context on these rich visual motifs, as well as the characters behind them.

Amsterdam on Tour: The early signs of Dutch Graffiti will be available soon in the USA. 

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Photographer / Creative direction: Paul Zeper
Model: Tima
Styling: Julia Meerman

@Paul_zeper | @juliameerman | @trimixtima