Brush Strokes to Launch Independence Day

What better way to launch an exhibition of letter-driven art than with an artist performance? On July 1, visitors will get to witness the making of Calligraffiti as the solo show of the Dutch artist unfolds.

It all happens at the Salamatina Gallery in Manhasset. The gallery opens the exhibition, Calligraffiti: Letters of Independence on July 1. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., artist Niels Shoe Meulman will rewrite the 1776 Declaration of Independence using Calligraffiti—a method he coined to combine his street graffiti past with his appreciation of traditional calligraphy.

The project (which extends beyond the opening) will result in 262 letter-sized pieces of ink on paper. The letters form the basis for the artist’s solo show. His work was shown at the gallery last year in group exhibitions.

The decision to reproduce The Declaration of Independence goes beyond marking a United States holiday, the artist offered. “Its powerful words set forth human rights which are universal and resonated with my own personal beliefs, especially with regards to taking risks in order to exercise one’s freedom of expression,” he stated in a gallery press release.

Mr. Meulman began tagging in 1979 and earned recognition in the graffiti world as Shoe. Graffiti led to a decorative lettering business and apprenticeship under Dutch graphic designer Anthon Beeke. His business career took him to an international advertising agency and then creative director for MTV Europe.

Mr. Meulman’s fine art is part of permanent collections held by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 2010, the book, Calligraffiti-The Graphic Art of Niels Shoe Meulman was published in Berlin. It is co-written by Adam Eeuwens.

The Salamatina Gallery is the first United States venue to host the Calligraffiti tour. Other U.S. stops include Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and New York.

The Salamatina Gallery is located at 2032 Northern Blvd, Manhasset. For information, visit On view through June 30 is Sylvia Plachy & Gyorgy Beck [Metaphysical Landscapes]. The exhibition pairs two renowned Hungarian-born artists who are also friends.

pat rogers

Pat Rogers is a freelance writer specializing in arts and culture on Long Island. When not going to art openings or interviewing actors or musicians, she’s looking for the next interesting story.