Pharrell Williams featured in the November issue of Paper Magazine here are some inserts from the interview. His latest projects include Brooklyn Machine Works and a art website showcasing emerging artist.
SF: I’m curious about your relationship with [Bathing Ape designer/music producer] Nigo, who I feel is like the Japanese Warhol. In Japan, in terms of the crossover between commercial projects and high-end art, there are fewer boundaries. How did you get into what he was doing with the [clothing and shoe lines] Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream?
PW: Well, he basically just gave me a shot. I came to his studio, he showed me some of his stuff, and I told him I wanted this, this and this. He told me to take it. I wore a lot of it, and finally he was like, “Hey, you wanna do your own line?” I was like, “Hell yeah,” and so
the rest was history.
SF: What do you consider yourself? A musician? A designer? Or just a general creative person?
PW: I would just say, you know, just a kid with ideas.
SF: You’re so humble! Tell me about your new project, Brooklyn Machine Works.
PW: It’s this iconic bike companyÂ that’s over 10 years old, located outÂ in Brooklyn. They do a lot of dope collaborations. We did one with Supreme. You should see if you like the bikes — we would love to do a collaboration with you. That would be crazy. Like you know, an apparel line.
SF: Nice, nice, that would be totally fresh. I’ll check it out. So tell me about your art site through which you’re trying to showcase emerging artists, Artst.com.
PW: We just felt like every time we come on stage, there is always some dope artist saying, “Hey, you know, check me out, let me direct your next video, let me design your next T-shirt.” So we created the site because we wanted to give them a platform so they could not only be
heard by us, but by the rest of the world as well. If you’re an artist, you can go on and find producers and someone to do your cover, someone to dress you for your shoot. I was just trying to provide a space for them to get visibility.
SF: Is there anything you get out of it besides spreading the creativity? Like financially? A lot of people won’t do anything unless there’s going to be some sort of financial reward for them, but to me I figure if I don’t make money from spreading around the culture I care about, at least it creates more of an audience for things that I’m interested in. Being charitable with your time and your energy is tough when you’re spread thin.
PW: Well, I don’t feel guilty about monetizing situations that are good. Like, there are tons of people in the world who are making billions who basically should be considered criminals. So if I’m doing something to help people, I don’t mind making money. Right now, we don’t do anything except just give exposure, but eventually we’ll build it into something that’s more like a business. We have some things in the works, but the most important thing to me is that these kids get the visibility that they deserve. They’re so fucking talented, you know?
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