Paul Smith, owner of Zombieteeth Clothing, was always interested in drawing. “I started drawing when I was quite young. My grandfather was quite an accomplished artist, and I was always interested in watching him paint.
Paul Smith, owner of Zombieteeth Clothing, was always interested in drawing. “I started drawing when I was quite young. My grandfather was quite an accomplished artist, and I was always interested in watching him paint. His art was more realist while mine was more into drawing cartoons at the time.” From Derby in the United Kingdom, teenage Paul often drew representations of songs. “My art then was quite simple. I was a huge fan of Nirvana, and would often draw pieces of their songs. One that stands out to me was for the song ‘Bleach.’ For it I just drew a bottle of bleach. I did however expand more into graphic arts as I got older. My graphics were Marvel, DC, and Star Wars based until i realized I was doing these types of designs to appeal to the masses not for the joy of the designing.” Paul’s creations now highlight popular culture, such as Bob’s Burger, Rick and Morty, and Daria. His designs are often dark, punk and gothic. His website reads “Just a guy designing things he wants to wear for himself.”
A large majority of his line also center around social issues, such as mental health and women’s rights. Both causes he feels quite strongly about. “I became a single dad when I was 24 to two very young children, 2 ½ and 18 months old. I had to take care of my kids and due to this, I wasn’t able to do the same things that my friends were able to do. I then saw my friends disappear from my life, and it led to me feeling alone and depressed. I understand that my friends and I were just in different places in life, but it was a bit of a dark time. I became angry and I used my art as an outlet for those feelings.” A huge supporter of mental health awareness, Paul is quite outspoken about letting people know the importance of not ignoring someone when they appear to be in a dark place. “A big thing I want people to know is to be kind, be there for those who may need you. When you see someone who seems depressed, reach out to them, even if you don’t really know them. You would be surprised at how much just one message asking them if everything is ok can mean to them in their time of need. I remember being in that dark place, I had made a small post on my social media page about it. A person I had never met reached out to me to check in. It really struck me that even folks who didn’t know me cared enough to want to talk to me. It was a good feeling and one I like to pass on.”
His commitment to supporting women’s rights is unwavering. A few years ago, Paul started to volunteer for a local roller derby league. His experience opened his eyes to the way women were being treated through conversations with his newfound friends. “Not only would I hear about how my friends were being treated outside of the league, I also saw it in my workplace. Men would make quite disparaging comments towards women and in an effort to stop them, I will let them know that what they are saying isn’t right.” Paul has worked on several projects in support of women. “In 2019 I got in contact with Mable Syndrome and Stacey Dee from Bad Cop Bad Cop to design a shirt that said ‘I Touch My Boobs’ in support and to help fundraise for Breast Cancer, especially since I knew Stacey’s story. Instead of just standing by and doing nothing, I was able to take that quote and make it into something that was positive. In the end, we were able to raise $610 and it felt good.”
From there in speaking with Stacey Dee, Paul noticed that the Sidewalk Project, a not-for profit charity which supports homelessness in Los Angeles, did not have a t-shirt design. So he created one for them. “They really loved it! They were able to use it for merch, which in turn helped support their charity.”
Designing shirts isn’t all that Paul can do. He is quite a renown photographer, snapping many of his favorite bands in the process. “Photography actually came to me by chance. In 2018, my friend had mentioned that she wanted to get back into music photography. So I made contact with Bad Cop Bad Cop as I knew where they were playing and I really wanted to meet the band. My friend sadly had to cancel due to other work commitments, but not wanting to miss out the opportunity to meet them, I tried to find somebody else to take her place. Nobody was able to do it due to conflicts in their schedules and I was starting to lose hope, when another friend of mine said, ‘why don’t you just go and photograph them yourself?’ I had no experience with a camera. My friend gave me a crash course on how to use one and I went to the shoot under the pretense that I was the photographer friend’s assistant. The pictures came out looking great!” Paul has photographed other bands, such as Pears, The Bombpops, Less than Jake, Maid of Ace, Bandaid Brigade, and The Barstool Preachers.
Paul is very thankful for the connections that he’s made throughout his career. Notably, Paul’s art is on the cover of the new Bandaid Brigade album ‘I’m Separate’ which was just released this past January. He just recently received his first copy of their vinyl with his cover art on it. “Dreams do come true!” Paul will also be joining The Barstool Preachers at the end of the month on a 3-day tour to photograph their shows. “TJ and the boys have been amazing. I recently designed a ‘Peanuts’ parody of them. The boys then used the design to help sell merch and raise money for the Australian Bushfire fund. Over $1300 has been raised from their fans. They have been such a big supporter of my work, even outside of this we have forged friendships. Just recently it was TJ’s birthday and he had asked me to come out to hang. I was expecting a large crowd of folks. When I got there, it was just the guys and their partners. I was in disbelief. Why would they want to hang out with me? I still have some Imposter Syndrome when it comes to hanging out with them.”
We also needed to sneak in the fact that he recently designed our logo for Camp Punksylvania. He even took it a step further and created another one just for Bree and her obsession with #TinyHands. They are both amazing and we love them. Thank you so much for doing that for us, Paul!!!
Love or hate his message, Paul is indifferent to those who do not support it. “When I first started making clothes, I cared a lot about how others saw my work and tailored it into my designs. Now I don’t really care about how others perceive my message. I want to be able to use my art to get these messages out. If people don’t want to buy my designs because of it so be it, I don’t want to appease them anyway.” Paul’s shirts can be found on his website. Go like his Facebook page, and follow him on Instagram.