Poetry in anonymity: Amsterdam street artist Laser 3.14

The public opinion on graffiti has changed significantly in the past two decades. The new wave of street art has socio-economic undertones, strong messages, and striking visuals, allowing public access to appreciate art, far removed from the confines of galleries.

Street artist Laser 3.14 is a social provocateur, providing cultural commentary through his tags on temporary spaces in Amsterdam. He’s a poet, a thinker and a street punk, confining anarchy onto plywood.

His work is simple – often just one or two lines, encouraging provocation, reminding you of truths you thought were escapable. It’s not intended for shock value, there is angst, but it’s not angry.

Instead, the artist offers up his interpretation of the sadness, love, social injustice and moral qualms of which we are made.

Laser 3.14 has become synonymous with Amsterdam. His work, although temporary, is by no means scarce. It pops up frequently, through the different landscapes of the city; between the sex and coffee shops near Centraal, above the heads of the tourists in the Museumplein and most significantly, in the cool streets of Jordaan.

His true identity like most graffiti artists and superheroes, is a mystery. He prefers to work in complete anonymity, adopting the moniker of Johnny Smith on his various social media accounts. We visited him at his studio in Amsterdam and he is just as enigmatic in person.

During our time with him, we discussed the growing popularity of street art, the freedom his anonymity allows him and why graffiti isn’t something just naughty boys do.


” Sometimes the mystery gives the art even more potency.”

– Laser 3.14