Like it or not, graffiti appeared in galleries in New York pretty soon (1972, Hugo Martinez and United Graffiti Artists). In Europe, there’s only few galleries that deal with graffiti art anly, and Speerstra is surely amongst the best. We are very happy to publish this few questions that we asked to Willelm, the man behind this great gallery that featured the most important oldschool writers from New York.
1. First of all Iâ€™d like to know something more about yourself, if you are\were a writer and how did you enter the graffiti world.
Willem Speerstra born 1972 / Amsterdam / Holland.
I was not a writer , but discovered Graffiti at 11 years old, when my father bought a painting from Dondi in New York in 1983, I guess because I saw this wonderful painting up on the wall of my home, I really started to become interested in the graffiti movement.
In 1983, graffiti was already around Amsterdam and I was already seeing works by Shoe and Delta etcâ€¦ in the city
In 1984 came out the book â€śsubway artâ€ť and this was the real start of my passion for graffiti. Hip Hop was going strong , really great timesâ€¦
Started buying graffiti paintings very early for my own collection around 1991.
2. Iâ€™d like you to tell me how Speerstra gallery was born, how did you have the idea of opening a gallery focused on graffiti writing
The â€śSpeerstra Galleryâ€ť adventure started in Paris in September 2001.
The idea, is that there was no idea. After working for a cartoon company (1994-
1999) I just decided by passion to open my own gallery space. The start was difficult
but after one year clients started to appreciated and to understand the artists and
were they came from.
3. Why do you focus on graffiti and not on other â€śstreetâ€ť stuff, that is probably more easy to sell (isnâ€™t it?).
I is not a question of making money but more of what I like to collect and to sell, old
school artists from New york and recently younger graffiti artists from Europe
(alexone, Mist, Dareâ€¦) are my favourites and are much appreciated by my clients.
I do not really care what is fashionable to sell, toys, t-shirts, etcâ€¦
I am not into â€śstencil Artâ€ť and â€śStreet Artâ€ť, but I do respect both movements, on the
Streets and in galleries of course.
â€śStreet artâ€ť (and not stencil art) has only been around since 2002, so for me it to
early to collect and I am more like wait and see what happens regarding the todayâ€™s
4. You are open since many years, do you see a trend in the graffiti art market? Which ones are the main artists that we can find in the international indexes (such as artprice) and on sale at Sothebyâ€™s, Bonhams and the like?
There has always been a trend in Graffiti art, but these last 5 years have been really crazy, I guess advertising and other media has indirectly promoted the movement.
Not to forget that most of todayâ€™s graffiti collectors were around 5 /10 years old when it all startedâ€¦ today they have the money to buy beautiful works and they do.
Concerning the index, all artists are to be found but only very recently due to international sales. Jonone, Quick, Crashâ€¦ they are all being represented at very good sales. And the prices of the works are only at the beginningâ€¦ Wait and see.
As I always like to say; in the Us there are two big art movements that occurred at the end of the last century: Pop Art and Graffiti art, and only is still alive â€śGraffiti an unstoppable world wide movement, each year thousands of young kids playing the game and practicing their passion for the love of their artâ€ť respect!
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