Paul Snowden - Interview

First of all - what does transgression mean to you and how is that visible in your work?
To be perfectly honest, i didn´t know what transgression meant, so i had to look it up — transgression sounds great. I like the idea of creating this optic and getting it spread out.

Your clothing line Wasted German Youth deals with aspects of „getting lost“. There is a clear „don´t give a fuck“ kind of quality to your work. Do you reflect about that or does it just happen naturally?
I think a lot and then it happens naturally.

Sex, religion, death & drugs - it seems like nothing is sacred in advertising nowadays. People like Oliviero Toscani and others have pushed the limits of what can be shown. What is your opinion on provocation as a tool for publicity? How far can one go?
I don´t see it as provocation. You can´t shock everyone anymore, there is always some freak out there, who is more freakier than you anyway.

Regarding your own work - where do you draw the line? Which topics are taboo for you as a designer/artist?
Sex with children is the no go. As the first FUCK ME LIKE THE WHORE I AM posters went up which were a reflection about me as an artist being part of a corporate art/culture event and taking money to create, the posters went down generally quite well especially with the girls who wanted to hang it above the bed, yet the guy who posted them around the city said he was mildly concerned about his safety. Strangely enough the only problems he had were from the hardcore feminists.

Recently, it seems like the border between art and design has become more and more blurred. You are a studied artist and you show work in galleries and in the context of fine art. Is it some kind of break from your daily routine or do you see yourself as an artist in the first place?
Artist is a term i have never warmed to, yet i studied art, but very badly and hated being a student. Nevertheless it gave me time and space to develop, get my portfolio together which got me into advertising and in the end got a art diploma no-one wanted to see. So despite being a designer, an art director, creative director, someone who runs a t-shirt label, i have finally come around to accept that it is basically all art. Whatever it is. WASTED GERMAN YOUTH is basically a art project which is wanting to look like a business. If you see my total output and have to define it somehow, i have learnt to simply accept it as art. So therefore at the end of the day — Paul Snowden is an artist.

Are there any people that you admire for their willingness to constantly push the limits?
I think that was the stars of my youth that really influenced me the most we musicians. The school of Jim Thirlwell, Lydia Lunch, Big Black, The Swans, Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave, Henry Rollins. Then came Public Enemy, NWA, Geto Boys. Then techno — Underground Resistance. And now the one i think who is living the artist superstar thing is Kayne, and then the whole rap superstar hi rolling thing and his counterparts — sure this sounds all very cheesy. There are many people i admire for what they have acheived. ‚The Social Network‘ film pretty much flashed me. The person that comes to mind that impresses me the most is Julian Assange — that man is on a mission. I have utmost respect for that.

You seem like someone who doesn´t like to compromise. What does independency mean to you?