MEET THE LOWBROW CHALLENGE WINNER!
Who can resist a little brain-stretching, off-the-wall, unexpected, tongue-in-cheek, uber bizarre lowbrow art!? Our community can’t, that’s for sure! We figured as much when we launched the Lowbrow design challenge, and as to be expected, we received some wacky submissions (you guys… are wild). Per usual, choosing a victor wasn’t easy, yet “Reaper’s Pizza” by Tony Riff rose as the grand prize winner. We caught up with the English designer and learned a bit about him, his design, and the last pizza he’d eat before… well… a potential demise via Reaper’s Pizza. Read on to get the scoop, and shop Tony’s brand new design here!
Congrats on your winning design “Reaper’s Pizza” for our Lowbrow challenge! Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks! Whenever I’m faced with this question, my mind automatically goes blank, so don’t expect too much from me. For starters, I’m from London. I’m 29 but I get I.D.’ed at bars a lot, mostly because I can’t grow a beard, which is probably for the best ‘cos I don’t think one would suit me. But, it would be nice to have the option. That’s pretty much everything you need to know about me so far. Oh, and I draw sometimes.
“Lowbrow” really leaves a lot of room for interpretation. What different types of direction did you consider for your design?
I think my work fits pretty well into the whole “lowbrow” camp already, so I just had fun with it and drew some freaky stuff. A lot of the time I’m happiest with my work when I just go with the flow, so once I had a base idea for a design, I added stuff as I went along in the beginning stages.
How did you ultimately land on “Reaper’s Pizza”?
It all stemmed from a really loose doodle I did of the Grim Reaper with a pizza replacing the scythe blade; honestly I can’t remember why I doodled it, but some of my favourite ideas have all come from things I’ve just randomly doodled without giving much thought. So, after a while I started thinking of ways to make the design more interesting and fleshing it out a little, like having him riding a scooter, etc.
Why does it fall so perfectly in line with the “lowbrow” theme?
I guess it’s just the absurdity of it, and the fact that it could be something taken from a bizarre B-movie or comic book in an alternate universe. To be honest, I only thought of the design in that way once this dude on Tumblr reblogged my pic on his page and added this cool movie style narrative to it:
“Everything’s quiet in the small town of Edenton. That is, until a group of libertine teens catch wind of —and place an order for— the best pizza in the world. But the pizza delivery boy doesn’t accept the usual change for the tip. The timer starts after the final slice has been consumed: are they willing to give up their mortal souls for the most delicious bite known to man? Sharpen your pizza cutters and prepare yourselves for the heart-pounding, gut-wrenching Pan Pizza Pandemic that is Reapers Pizza!!”
I always love seeing other people’s interpretation of something I’ve done. A lot of the time I’ll just think of it in a purely visual sense, and then someone comes along and adds something to it or makes an observation that helps me see it in a totally different way.
Please take us through the process of your design. Feel free to share any WIP’s!
This design was mostly hand drawn in my sketchbook, apart from the background elements and colour. I wanted to give a slightly loose sketchy feel, compared to most of the clean line-work I do, so it was a pretty straight forward process: pencil sketch, pen drawing, scan it in, add some colours on photoshop, bam! Sorted.
The Grim Reaper is typically depicted in dark, eerie colors, but Reaper’s Pizza has more of a bright, neon scheme. What made you choose this colorway?
I love messing around with dark concepts and elements and adding a bit of humour and fun to it, and the colours really add to the overall mood of what I was going for.
Why did the Grim Reaper decide to take on a second job selling pizzas?
I like to think that was ol’ Grim’s job before he got into the whole “harvesting souls” gig. Gotta start somewhere, right?
Does a visit from Reaper’s Pizza mean you simply get to die a little more pleasantly - for example, while eating pizza?
It means you get a free pizza, but one of those slices is cursed and will send your soul into eternal damnation. But hey, that’s a risk I’m willing to take for free pizza.
What type of pizza would you order if it were to be your last?
Anything with lots of meat, peppers, and bbq sauce. My needs are simple.
Any other shout-out’s?
Shout-out to that random dude I saw wearing one of my Threadless shirts a few months ago, and everyone else I’ve never ever seen before that happens to be wearing one of my shirts. You know what? Screw it, I’ll send a shout-out to everyone, even if they’re naked (especially if they’re naked).