The art world’s heart has a hole in it today. Lowbrow artist The Pizz (Stephen Pizzuro) has died at age 57, a tragic loss of a great underground talent. We send our sympathy to his family and friends. From The Pizz’s self-penned bio on his site.
It’s been the definitive long and strange trip from hashing out those notebook masterpieces in the back corner of the classroom to rightfully assuming the title of Lord of Lowbrow. From doing Rat Fink comix for the legendary Big Daddy Roth hisowndamnself, transforming the lowly skateboard deck into an artistic canvas in ways unforeseen, splashing flash on the walls of tattoo shops the world over, delighting the kiddies and authorities alike with a set of trading cards featuring your favorite mass-murderers, burrowing into record collections around the globe via Sympathy For The Record Industry cover art, conquering the realm of canvas and paint, packing’em in for shows at the world HQ of lowbrow art galleries, La Luz De Jesus in Los Angeles, no less than 6 times, to foisting his tome Atavistic Avatar upon the masses, the fuzzy-chinned one has been quite the industrious vermin gnawing at the cheese of established convention.
From The Pizz
The Pizz’s odes to internal combustion chariots, beatnik hip, the glorious form of female, and the gods of tiki are pulsing down the wire to your hard drive. The keys to the kingdom are in your grubby mitts as the Lord of Lowbrow enables you with 24/7 electronic access to his cyberspace empire. Burn your retinas with the diabolical imagery rendered from the hand fed by a cranium fouled with visions of sick sleds scraping pavement, buxom babes bursting forth from their garments, bongo-beating beatniks bathing in bacchanalia, and Polynesian pleasures aplenty.
More on the Pizz
The Pizz grew up creating art – he once said that he began drawing since he had a pen in his hand. He caught his first big break working on Rat Fink comics for his personal inspiration, cartoonist Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, before going on to design cover art for punk label Sympathy for the Record Industry, and eventually entering the gallery world with fellow notable artists like Robert Williams.
For over 20 years, The Pizz’s brutal, colorful, and enthralling graphics presented a surreal alternative to our consumer-driven pop culture. Using the sensibility of cartoons, his paintings pop with the things he loved: eye-catching pinups, pimps, perverts, pirates, post-apocalyptic demigods, motorcyclists and fast cars.
His Last Statement
The Pizz’s last artistic statement was a bleak black and white photo of an unmade bed in a Long Beach hotel room near the airport. Its sheets and blankets twisted and bunched, a sign of a restless sleep, perhaps, or maybe just staged to look like it.
On the wall behind the bed the artist spray-painted the word “Ozymandias,” the title of a Shelley poem about the hubris of kings and the inevitable turning-to-dust of their magnificent works and empires.
The Pizz posted the photo on Instagram on Sunday and then wrapped a towel around a .357 handgun and shot himself. The Long Beach artist was 57.