Dries exhibits

At the age of twelve, Dries was placed in a boarding school because he was deemed uncontrollable. Around the age of thirteen, he started smoking weed and tagging (using a thick marker or spray can to leave his personal ‘signature’ on anything and everything). After a few years, he developed a routine of going out with friends after using alcohol and drugs to “fuck up the entire center of Groningen”. After tagging, he moved on to creating pieces: large, elaborate graffiti pieces with lots of color.

Dries does not see himself as an artist: to him it’s about expression rather than art. “Street artists want to create art. People who place graffiti on the streets are rebels who don’t give a shit about bourgeois complaints.” Dries has been involved in three legal cases and faced such significant damage claims that he ended up in debt counseling twice. In addition to his legal issues, he engaged in heavy drug and alcohol use, leading him to lose his home in 2006. In 2012, he had to be hospitalized due to a stomach ulcer and quit drinking, but continued smoking cannabis. Dries smoked 7 to 8 grams of weed per day and also used cannabis oil. According to his own calculations, he smoked 36 kg of weed in his lifetime.

This year, Dries has been clean for two years and involved in graffiti for 35 years. The latter was paused for a while when music entered his life. Now he does both: he creates and plays raggamuffin music, and he still spray-paints, but only in legal locations such as at the NDSM and the well-known “Paint & Beer” event in Amsterdam, which he has been organizing since 2008. This summer, Dries’ work will be displayed in the storefront of the MDHG on the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein 30, in Amsterdam.