Art & Design

Scott King – All Hail The King


The art director of i-D in the 90’s, created CRASH ! fanzine, a response to the lad magazines of the time, then moved to Sleazenation where he won several prizes for his cutting-edge covers. His latest self help books, Anxiety and Depression and The Alcoholics Colouring Book are all about the crappiness of British life and now he is launching his own magazine SPEW, the least stylish style mag of all. In November a retrospective book of his work will be released as a present for his 40th birthday. In a casual conversation in our local pub we talked about all the things Scott likes: art, outrageous behaviour, magazines and of course good old rock ‘n’ roll.

What is it about popular culture that fascinates you? Mythology of pop culture; Rock ‘n roll suicides. It’s all I know, I don’t know any other culture really.

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What is the first slogan that pops into your head? Never trust a hippy, probably.

Why did you glam-up Lenin and how can you make political quotes sound sexy? What I do, is often an amalgamation of two extreme opposites. The idea of putting glam rock make-up onto Lenin is an attempt to make a third thing form two different elements. There’s also some kind of fantasy that in a thousand years time one of these busts might be found and somebody might believe that this is how Lenin really looked.

How did you come-up with this idea? I’d been at the Marx Library to listen to a friend’s lecture but before his talk there were five more lectors and they were all talking about things I didn’t really understand-it was very academic and of course I was kind of bored. Beside the speakers there was a huge bust of Karl Marx and I started thinking how more exciting it would be if that was the bust of Roy Wood from Wizzard- he’d look so identical to Karl Marx except he’d had this make-up on, and to amuse myself I started thinking this bust was Roy Wood’s and these people were talking about something else.

What does the notion of ‘anti-hero’ mean to you? It goes back to rock n roll again. To me Shaun Ryder from Happy Mondays was an antihero. The more bad things he did, the more outrageous his behavior became and the more fucked up he got himself, the more you looked at him-or at least I looked at him- and you wanted him to be ok.

Why would you sink American Vogue? American Vogue is such a masscultural thing. I think it still sells around a million copies per issue, and clearly it has a voice in Middle America, it’s almost as if you are speaking directly to middle class women of a certain age. It would be quite exciting to reflect my world through their favourite magazine, to gain control over an institution with people like-what’s her name- Anna (Wintour), this almost cartoon Cruella De Vil character, and her instruction manual on how to behave.

Why did you decide to launch a magazine-hasn’t your time in the media taught you anything? Magazines are my first love really. I love and hate them you know. It’s the only thing I do I feel really confident in.

How will it be different? Because I did it., it’d be worse. it’d be crap. It won’t sell any copies. It will probably be 50% style magazine , 50% artist’s book. I was thinking of a very glamorous cover, and then the whole thing will just be lists. There is a guy in my local newspaper, he must be eighty now and he’s been writing for fifty years every week to this newspaper. And his letters are very short , two paragraphs or two sentences sometimes and he’s always complaining about the road works outside his house and without stopping for breath talks about Al-Qaeda and Barack Obama. “The road work outside my house finally has been finished, quite pleased Barack Obama has become new US president, Yours Sincerely,..” .It’s fifty years work of these letters. So I was thinking one issue might be his letters. It will possibly be the least stylish style magazine ever.

Is London still burning with boredom? That’s a lyric from a Clash song. And I hate The Clash. We did that as a big poster once. I don’t think London is burning with boredom. It’s not burning either is it?

What would be the image of a cultural meltdown? Tate Modern having sponsors’ logos painted in the front- 300 ft tall.

A little exercise from your book “Anxiety and Depression”. Complete the following. I am… overweight. Others are… thinner. The world is… rounder.