RIP "The Pizz"
03:43 PM
The Pizz art.jpg
The Pizz.jpg
The Pizz hotrod.jpg
I was saddened to learn from Hi Fructose on Monday that the "Lord of Lowbrow"  "The Pizz" (born Stephen Pizzurro) had just passed (at only 57 years old). As noted by Hi Fructose, works by The Pizz "are considered as one of the original sources of 'cartoon expressionism'" and have graced various mediums -- from album covers to comics to boards to billboards to bodies...

The Pizz, heavily influenced by cartoonist Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, worked for Roth's Rat Fink comics early in his career. [Rat Fink-inspired tattoos are especially popular among California's Kustom Kulture crews.] He then rose to fame in fine art circles, showing in galleries like La Luz De Jesus (the "birthplace of pop surrealism").

In a recent August 21st interview with, The Pizz talks about his work and influences. Here's a bit from that:

You're a huge part of the Kustom Kulture, surf, skateboarding, tattoo and tiki community. Do you surf and or skateboard or do any tattooing? And or do you prefer to create awesome art that represents these movements?

Let's not forget hot rods and bikes! Mutually feeding off each other. I tattoo, it's fun. It's very, very, focused. I like something that I have to pay really close attention to, like driving really fast at night or using sharp or high-speed tools. Or flames. I'm a washout with surfing, I just flail as a swimmer. My eye to hand doesn't translate to athletics. Most artists I know spent all their early years cooped-up, developing their craft. Yes, I've designed a few skateboards, some surfboards, even skis and skipoles. I like seeing my stuff in print, whatever the surface, and I like the challenge of really odd fields, like skis. Tattoos are such a challenge, just from where they go on the body, how they fit into the topography. I gotta great coupla pals showing me what they know, like Opie Ortiz or Jack Rudy. Working on a skin canvas that grimaces and bleeds is far and away completely different than just making lines on paper...

Do the stories you tell with your art come straight out of your head or life experiences, or a bit of both?
Usually I'm working with a form of life experience, and it might be torqued-out and flavored with other stuff, like any good fiction. The best stuff is unmediated. You don't wanna overthink it. One of my ways to tunnel-in to that inner conscious is to crank up some music. If I'm just drawing, and there isn't a steady stream of verbiage counter-acting the flow, then it just pops outta nowhere. Music is excellent for creativity, talk-radio is good for nuts and bolts activity. Put on a record to get an idea, sketch it out. Talk on the phone while you're editing it, revising, clarifying. Talk radio for the mundane aspects of laying in colors...

Learn more about "The Pizz" on and Hi Fructose. Tributes to him, such as the tattoo below, can be found via #thepizz on Instagram.

The Pizz tattoo.pngTattoo tribute for The PIzz on Opie Ortiz's Instagram.

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