In spring 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, Amsterdam’s usually bustling Dam Square was deserted and silent, surrounded by concrete anti-terrorism blocks. The Dutch street artist Frank de Luwe, known as Frankie, has created a world where these intimidating encrusted blocks look like something more innocent, a giant Lego he block, and the streets are filled with the darkness that surrounds them. I thought I needed something to brighten it up.

Result? At the end of the summer, Frankie created and installed a giant yellow and black Lego doll of Dutch folk singer Andre Hazes. Andre Heyses’ songs have been a pub favorite in the Netherlands for over 40 years.

“The important thing is to look at the right thing,” Frankie explains over coffee in her Amsterdam neighborhood. I think everyone was looking for good news during those dark days. »

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Frankie continues to dazzle Amsterdam with his quirky and witty street art.Yes, every Saturday he publishes his new work in a Dutch newspaper het parole, and Instagram as well, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Transform ordinary city spots into something more playful, such as road signs, oddly shaped bricks, and ledges. You will definitely come across his work during your trip to Amsterdam.

Q: In the press, your street work is referred to as “urban intervention.” What does this word mean to you?

A: I just want to make people smile with my work. A 6 year old and her 90 year old can look at the same thing and laugh. It’s amazing how he can brighten someone’s day with just one item.

It’s very easy to be a little more friendly around town and I think that’s what I do. And I don’t care if people want to call them “urban interventions.” It’s a bit of a buzzword, but people have been doing fun things to brighten up the city for centuries, and it’s always been that way. I’m just one of those people.

Q: Is it legal to leave my work on the street?

A: No, it’s illegal. I love Amsterdam so I have some rules to follow. I have no intention of harming the city. So any work I create can be easily deleted without leaving any trace. I use magnets and fasteners a lot, so I probably own every type of double-sided tape in the world. Sometimes you don’t know how to assemble parts without using screws, kits, etc. Therefore, keeping files safe and making it easy for people to delete them is a big challenge. But it’s still illegal.

Q: Do you know what will happen if your work is removed?

A: Sometimes a street is just swept and the cleaners don’t even realize there was a piece of art there in the first place. There are also groups that collect art to sell online because they think my work is worth money. But what I really love is seeing government vehicles with my artwork on the dashboard. So they removed it, but kept it as a trophy. But if people want to take it with them or take it home, I think that’s fine. I think everyone wins. Even if the work disappears.

Q: How do you place your works on the street?

A: I do it all the time during the day. I wear an orange jacket with fluorescent stripes to look like a man who works for the municipality. When I’m working on a large piece and need space, I bring an orange cone with me. This has been my method for 20 years and it always works.

Q: I heard that you had a fake driver’s license. really?

A: It’s just a piece of paper with a bunch of stamps on it and it says, “I, Frank de Ruwe, authorize Street Art Frankie to place such and such works…” However, it seems a bit official due to its wording and reasoning. I always include lots of appendices. The agent then notices that all the documents have stamps with the words “Frankie Official” on them and says to himself, “Frankie Official.” “If there’s a stamp, it’s official.” The same goes for the orange jacket.

Q: You have created a lot of works. which one do you like?

A: I’m very proud of what the former mayor did with Paradiso, the concert hall. The world’s best musicians performed there. It is an old church and cultural temple in the center of the city. When I learned that this place wasn’t going to be a music venue forever, I knew it wasn’t possible! It’s an essential part of Amsterdam. And the much-loved former mayor Eberhard van der Laan was also very attached to arts and culture.

So I made a small bronze statue of him. He sits on top of Paradiso, holding the building and protecting it with a little smile on his face. Every time he goes there, he looks up and says, “Yeah, this is a nice place, let’s protect this building.” » There are many works that I pass by but don’t see. But I’m really proud of this.

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