Paul McGowan studied art at Falmouth, Winchester and Bath school of Art. His work has often created controversy and has been regularly featured in the press all around the world, such as The Guardian, The Times, The Evening Standard, Creative Review, Arena Magazine, the BBC, Sky News and many more. He established himself as a fashion designer at a young age; when he was 20 he became the youngest designer to ever sell a collection to fashion house Browns, and went on to work for a variety of well-known fashion industry names, including Gianni Versace. During his formative years at Art School, he had his first exhibition in St Ives, and won the Tate Magazine Award. Since this time he has continued to develop a strong career for his distinctive – and often political – artworks, recognised locally in 2008 when he was appointed as artist in residence at the Eden Project. His work is collected across the world and he is a serial collaborator, often producing works released under different identities. In 2010 Paul McGowan stopped all interaction with the media after his ‘Knuckle Buster’ studio was raided by art thieves and as a result lost the majority of his archived artworks which spanned two decades. It was after this, McGowan cancelled all exhibitions and interviews while he produced a new catalogue of work. This work, titled Trigger Finger, included a series of artworks informed by children who are the victims of war. The artwork creates awareness and desperate funding for the international charity War Child. The work is subversive and comprises of vivid images depicting children, constructed biomorphicaly using weapons of violence into visions of horror. McGowan also continued collaborating with American Guitarist Gary Lucas who worked with Captain Beefheart and co-wrote ‘Grace’ with Jeff Buckley. They released an audio visual collaboration that included a limited edition 7 inch single on green vinyl. McGowan also produced a series of artwork for Gary Lucas & Gods and Monsters titled ‘Ordeal of Civility’.
In December 2013 and 2014 McGowan was included in London West Bank Gallery’s charity event ‘Smile Britannia’, which is staged in the Houses of Parliament and has become an annual event. The event raises vital funds for three organisations; the Smile Britannia Project, which benefits disadvantaged communities in London, The Last Night a DJ Saved My Life Foundation, and Temwa.
In 2014 McGowan also participated in London Westbank Gallery’s annual ‘Urban in Ibiza’ exhibition that features artworks from the gallery’s international network of street, graffiti and contemporary artists. He has created and donated works for a number of charities, including Spectrum (a Cornish charity working for those affected by autistic spectrum disorders), and War Child (providing sustainable and intensive support to marginalised and vulnerable children around the world). Addressing emotive issues, McGowan’s works often provoke strong reactions. Perhaps the most unexpected was when in June 2010 police in riot gear were sent to raid a central London gallery after one of the artworks – a fake bomb in the window – caused reports of a ‘suspicious’ device.
His current work has been exhibited extensively in the UK as well as abroad.