January 1987. Juliette Verhofstad, student at the department of Art History at University of Amsterdam conducts an interview by phone with ANGEL. At that time one of the leading writers in the Amsterdam and European graffitiscene. Partner in crime of SHOE and BANDO and a core member of the then already legendary Crime Time Kings.
The young Juliette is doing research on the topic of ‘Graffiti’ for her UvA-study and managed to track Angel’s telephone number with the help of some insiders. He mainly refers to his work in the streets and tells her to study those. Angel isn’t very cooperative and is not willing to say much about his inner thoughts on the subject of graffiti which he doesn’t recognize as a form of art. Its not surprising that only one quote of their conversation ended up in her final thesis in art history on November 2, 1987:
“Note thesis, nr. 100: In the phone conversation I had with Angel on January 4, 1987 he tells me that the comic Judge Dredd is the primary source of inspiration for his work. In my opinion image number 55 is proof of this.”
Now, 30 years later, the importance of this remark becomes clear.
April 2017. The Dutch Graffiti Library discover a newly launched Instagram account by PJay “BabyAngel” Frith. A very familiar sounding name. After doing some checking it became clear that ANGEL TBH GVB CTK, the old school graffiti writer who became famous in the 80’s by doing some legendary graffiti-productions in Amsterdam and Paris was indeed back on the grid. In the beginning of the 90’s Angel pioneered the crossover between graffiti and comics by developing his own Toy: BabyAngel and the God Vicious Babies.
We decide to send him a message on which he quickly responded: “I’ve been doing social media-bombing for almost 2 weeks now. You guys are the first to get in contact with me. Initiative will be rewarded, when do we meet?”.
We ask him why he kept radiosilence for so many years. From his answer it becomes clear that this was all part of a master plan. For years he has been busy constructing his magnum opus: the creation of the ever expanding (fictional) ‘Metaverse’ named ‘StarArena’, a Cyber-Battle Card & Board Game. Now, 30 years have passed, its time to talk…
Over the months to come Dutch Graffiti Library will take you on a journey through the exeptional career of PJay ‘BabyAngel’ Frith. From his adventures with the Crime Time Kings in the streets of Amsterdam and Paris, through his ‘Post-Graffiti’ era and the development of TBH and his ‘Babies’ finally ending in the creation of the ‘StarArena’.
The life and tribulations of PJAY (BabyAngel) FRITH…Toy King!
Copyright article 2017 – Dutch Graffiti Library
Drawings: Angel TBH GVB CTK
Pictures: Juliette Verhofstad
English translation: Remko Koopman.