The world’s major newspapers, the most recognisable fashion houses: Filip Pągowski’s works are used by the giants of this world. Shaped by the Polish reality of the 60s and 70s and the melting pot of cultures in New York, Pągowski creates graphic designs full of energy, memorable with their bold shapes, vitality and dynamism.
The designer graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Growing up in an artistic family, graphic art has always been close to his heart: his father Henryk Tomaszewski, one of the founders of the Polish School of Posters, and his mother, Teresa Pągowska, a painter, were important figures in the Polish art world. He studied painting, illustration and poster design. Pągowski sometimes worked with his father; a result of this cooperation was, for example, the design for the cover of the Ty i Ja / You and I magazine.
His illustrations have appeared in prestigious newspapers and magazines like The New York Times, Le Monde and The New Yorker. He has worked on a wide range of graphic projects: from article illustrations, to logos, and even portraits, such as that of Osama bin Laden. In the 90s Pągowski was involved in the creation of decorative initials for weekly publications. The shape of the initials was supposed to indicate the content of the story, hence, for example, the double I at the beginning of a love story, in which the letters were joined together as a couple in a tight embrace.
One of the most significant projects in Pągowski’s career was his collaboration with the Japanese fashion house Comme des Garçons and its founder, Rei Kawakubo. In 2000 the designer developed the patterns used in their main collection.
There was a strong reaction from customers ranging from words of admiration to order cancellations by some department stores in Saudi Arabia. Rei Kawakubo loves such controversy. This was one of my first projects for CdG. And one of the most exciting ones. – remembers Pągowski.
In 2002 the artist created the famous PLAY logo for Comme des Garçons: the red heart with black eyes became a cult trademark of the brand. He returned to it in 2006 when he prepared a second, slightly modified version: this time the heart was thinner and the red was replaced by green. Since 2010, Pągowski develops print designs for the BLACK fashion line, used on all sorts of clothing and accessories. His prints are characterised by bold, thick lines, present in yellow and black squares and spots, as well as leering eyes and colourful flowers.
In addition, Pągowski prepared print designs as part of the Mondo Cane project for the Japanese brand Medicom. The black-and-white motif was formed by the silhouettes of several dogs, and then applied over materials and various items, from bags to slippers.
The designer is also associated with the Polish brand UEG led by Michał Łojewski, for which he prepared a special collection of clothes with human silhouettes against a white background characteristic of the brand.
Pągowski’s creativity has flourished in many parts of the world; he lived in New York for many years. However, since 2007, the vast majority of his commissions come from Asia: mainly Japan, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Orders vary greatly: from works for trade centres to projects for the Chinese sportswear giant Li Ning.
Recalling his teenage years in Poland Pągowski stresses the important role of shortage in the creative process:
Growing up in Poland in the sixties and seventies I learned how to make use of restrictions, or even how to enjoy them, as well as create images from scratch, and not just use existing ones (...).