The cult of Dash Snow grew quickly in New York. His art was young, rebellious, and fast, like flashes into the darker corners of gleeful urban self-annihilation. But over the years, the 26-year-old artist has proven himself an extraordinarily astute chronicler of the cultural moment, detailing the vices, sins, and ironies of the everyday machine in much the same way the Dadaists took aim at the mores of wartime Europe. Snow is a mixed-media rambler, jumping from photography to collage to sculpture to films and even to the set of zines he composed last summer on a fax machine with his partner Jade Berreau (the two have a 15-month-old baby named Secret Aliester Ramirez Messenger Santa Creeper). It’s just possible that Snow is one of the most authentic characters the art world has ever seen.
CHRISTOPHER BOLLEN: How has having a baby affected your work?
DASH SNOW: Before, we were living in my studio with the baby, and it was by no means up to par, cleanlinesswise. You know, like, razor blades, rats, and God knows what else all over the floor. She wasn’t crawling yet, but I would work on things at night, and somehow she’d manage to destroy them by the time I’d wake up-rolling around on collages that weren’t glued down or knocking things over. So, I got an apartment in the city. I’ve ended up just working there on the floor at night.
CB: Can Secret walk yet?
DS: She can if she holds onto my finger. It’s awesome.
CB: You just made a book of all of the Polaroids you’ve shot since 1997. How many are there?
DS: I went to my lab and got every Polaroid that I’d ever scanned. There were maybe 180, maybe more. I got it down to about 150. It’s weird because I hadn’t looked at those pictures in so long, and I really wasn’t into a lot of them. I just saw things differently at the time. I still think a lot of them are good pictures, but they’re just not things I would do anymore.
People say “the art world” but that’s kind of generalizing. I’m not so concerned with it. I just want to hang out with my baby and make art.Dash Snow
CB: The title of your collage book is God Spoiled a Perfect Asshole When He Put Teeth in Yer Mouth. What’s the title for the Polaroid book?
DS: I had seven titles, and I couldn’t figure out which one to use. So I put all seven titles on the cover. One of them is Revolt of Human Garbage. This book is going to be the hardest thing ever to catalogue.
CB: I know you spent the summer making a bunch of zines out in Long Island.
DS: That and some collage stuff—but mostly zines. I’m on zine number 40 and when I get to 50 I’m making a box set. They’re all different stories and concepts. Some are just random images from going through my archives. But they are really long. The shortest one is 80 pages.
CB: Is making work different now that the whole art world is paying close attention to you?
DS: I’ve seen what this kind of attention can do to people-when they let it go to their heads. I’ll only go to an opening if I’m a big fan of the artist or to support a friend. People say “the art world” but that’s kind of generalizing. I’m not so concerned with it. I just want to hang out with my baby and make art.
CB: And you have Jade, too, who is wonderful. You guys fell in love and had a baby so quickly.
DS: I got her pregnant in three days.
CB: I have a memory of you one night on a street on the Lower East Side holding a bunch of flowers and passing them out because you were so happy about it.
DS: I know now that I was never really in love like this before. It’s amazing.