‘Getting up’ is the basic principle of graffiti. No matter how good your style, it has to be ‘up’. Fame is the name, and walking the thin line between creation and destruction is the game’, according to SHOE in the catalog of Post Graffiti (1993).
Post Graffiti 1993: Angel operate from TBHead-Quarters, the break-out base for the daily dose of fresh productions created by ANGEL and ICE. TBHead-Quarters: a real ‘physical’ studio in the centre of the city. The same address that recieves scripts & stories by mail, sender: ARSON. The ‘bond of brothers’ known as the TBH III, a group of friends who used to power each other in the streets, basements and clubs of Amsterdam, now united to reach one goal. Partitioning their work over different platforms was the main strategy. ANGEL and ICE were in control of the studio, while ARSON was flying all over the planet to do his thing. The main goal for ANGEL, ICE and ARSON? Ultimate entertainment, combined in comix, movies, videos, games and toys!
The first phase of realisation was the comix: The Baby Hype, an appendix to the HYPE Magazine puplished by Henk ‘Hype’. The production of the comic got handled ‘in house’ by the TBH III, complete freedom ‘card blanche’, no outside interferrence to mess with their concept. The Baby Hype was the ‘bombdropper’ that put the God’s Vicious Babies on the map.
ANGEL: “Our prime weapon in the battle for world supremacy where the Babies. The ‘babies’ are the three of us, in the form of comic-cartoons. The Baby Hype was a sketch phase. It can be seen as a ‘rite of passage’. It has no storyline, only visual code. It was an atmosphere, an exercise under the disguise of ‘designer violence’. Around that time, in 1993, it was simply ‘there’ to evoke questions. The time when they will be answered is coming closer minute by minute.”
In the Post Graffiti-era of the mid 90’s ANGEL’s Babies were already playing a ‘battle game’. A battle against commerce and spineless Jellyfish-people. ANGEL catapulted ‘Post Graffiti’ into a dimension of its own by ‘bombing in printed media’. The Babies were targetting the established games. They forced their way into the field of ‘big money players’ by choosing a method of operation completely original.
ANGEL: “Everything we created in house was a hit. Working for clients was a different game… for them, haha! Clients have the strong urge to ‘want things’ and ‘push things’, but the thing was… the Gods Vicious Babies only do things they want to do. Even when doing commercial jobs I kept pushing the limit of ‘bombing’ within those parameters by bending and folding the assignment into something I was content with. All this by a small graphic design studio (TBH-Q) run by two guys with the intention to make TBH famous. No boundaries when you’re young: to be famous, the ultimate goal of every 14 or 15 year old kid. For me, drawing is my ultimate passion, within the ‘world of drawing’ nobody can tell me shit. I rule that game! In the world of advertisement you are only the ‘flavor of the month’ for some art/creative-director working as a middle man for a big name company. Its their job to paste and glue your ‘personal style’ onto the corporate marketing of their client. My experience with that game is that the artdirector is completely ‘on your dick’ while being in the studio, “Oh, such great work!”. But when he/she returns from the client meeting you immediately notice the changing of the weather. Most of the time they didn’t have spine enough to fight for a good idea and went ass-out for the wishes of the moneyman. Back in the studio: “Sorry, the design needs some changes. We were thinking…” PARDON ME!? Which ‘we’ are you talking about? YOU and ME, or YOU and your CLIENT?? Fuck that, when a client was caught slipping by not paying attention I sneaked in my own things, the things I liked best!”
Skipping forward to 1995. The battle fought with the media also reflected inwards into the den of the TBH III. Personal thoughts and visions of the Babies got pushed aside to reach that one goal: global fame. A biopic of the lives and tribulations of the Babies could only be made when their story was fully told. And telling that story meant great commitment and consistency of the main players. ANGEL and ICE, still running the studio, decided to morf the Babies into ‘Terminators’. The game had to be played on a higher level. This changing of position needed extra power input, the Babies grew Big! ARSON dropped his view on the matter via postcards. He was always on the road and was not able to put in physical studiotime. Positive energy was still in the air. Good feeling to know the trio was still leveling no matter the distance between them. ANGEL and ICE were making the creative frequent-flyer-miles and response to the course and content are on the ticket of ARSON.
Skipping through a random Power Unlimited publication (magazine for game players) from 1993 to 1999 the TBH throw-ups could not be missed. Post Graffiti in its purest form! No graffiti on canvas. A new way of translating the ‘illegal mentality’ by blasting Baby throw-ups into a magazine without informing the client. Watch ANGEL and ICE doing the ‘trench-warfare-dance’ while spreading the message: “We excist! We’re playing ‘Watching My Name Go By’ in an edition of 40.000 a month. That’s what we call bombing on a next level. A battle between the Babies and the established order of games and the wishes of clients”.
ANGEL: “Once again we found a method of ‘breaking the system’, we just Hacked those Games!”
This was ANGEL’s definition of another form of ‘Post Graffiti’. Instead of tagging and bombing the public transport system they now did the same to a magazine. You didn’t ask permission to do it, you didn’t have permission to do it.. you just hijacked a page of a well known magazine to ‘bomb-it’ with your own name or character. True, nothing compared to the thrill and danger of hopping fences and sneaking into train yards. But still, it triggered a great feeling. And do not forget, you were risking your way of ‘making a living’ by not kneeling before ‘the wishes’ of a client.
Years rushed by and the influence and impact of ANGEL and ICE on the graffiti-scene, the world of games and coverage in the media were not to be ignored. But every game has his ending. For the TBH III the curtain dropped in 1999 when the studio got disbanded and all players finally decided to call it quits. Or was there still a hidden level in the game they called ‘Post Graffiti’.
There sure is! At the start of the new millenium ANGEL, in cooperation with Melle “BEEF” Broekmans (Gamekings) working on the development of a real board game. Since 1995 Melle was owner of the key to TBH-Q and was of major influence on the development of ‘The Game’ called StarArena. A project almost 25 years in the making now entering the phase of completion. Joined forces and the visions and input of many people have laid the foundation for the StarArena. Partners come and go but the only true captain will always stand strong. As of 2000 ANGEL is the one making up the rules by himself, sometimes with input of others but always according to one rule: “If It Can’t Go On A Card!? I Don’t Do It!”
Next up: Chapter 4 – StarArena and the Atomic Baby Clones
Copyright article 2017 – Dutch Graffiti Library
‘Original The Baby Hype #1 for reproduction ‘ – collection Dutch Graffiti Library
‘Original artwork Judge-Dredd.′ – collection Dutch Graffiti Library
‘Original artwork Beaver & Butt Fuck, Crime-Time TeleVision.′ – collection Dutch Graffiti Library
‘Original artwork Armegeddon. (BLAMMO)′ – collection Dutch Graffiti Library
English translation: Remko Koopman.