Hugo (Stencil King)

Amsterdam / Netherlands

Hugo Kaagman can be considered an emblematic figure within the now not-so-short history of stencil art. Described as the Dutch Godfather of stencil graffiti, he has pioneered the use of the medium since the late 1970s, using the walls of Amsterdam to spread anti-establishment messages in a clear, iconic language imbued with humour. […]

Biographie / Hugo (Stencil King)

Hugo Kaagman can be considered an emblematic figure within the now not-so-short history of stencil art. Described as the Dutch Godfather of stencil graffiti, he has pioneered the use of the medium since the late 1970s, using the walls of Amsterdam to spread anti-establishment messages in a clear, iconic language imbued with humour.

Immersed in the Amsterdam underground scene, the first of Kaagman’s experiments with stencils were inspired by punk and reggae references. Soon though, he developed a personal language, irreverently mixing the most diverse visual and cultural influences. Very often, his work results in the juxtaposition of beautiful decorations with social critique. The possibility of endless repetition offered by the stencil has led him to develop his own recognizable style in various directions. He adopted motifs from his travels in Africa and the Middle East: among them the zebra design with which he decorated his house. From working illegally in a politically provocative way, he started receiving more and more commissions, while also exhibiting works on canvas in art galleries.

Since the 1990s he has developed his own very recognizable cipher – the Kaagware – a personal interpretation of Delftware, the traditional blue-and-white Dutch ceramic decorative style. From the early murals in Waterloo Square in Amsterdam to decorating the planes of British Airways, from illegal street spraycans to legal and established art, and from public space to art galleries, Kaagman’s artistic journey has anticipated and paved the path for a new generation of stencil artists.

Featured auf Urban Nation / Hugo (Stencil King)

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