Pizza Friday—An Interview with Tom O'Toole & Thomas Bradley

Our July sketchXchange features two local young guns, Tom O’Toole & Thomas Bradley.  Both are illustrators, designers, and all around creatives who moonlight in their spare time as Pizza Friday. Their collaborative work is candid, humorous, and often type driven—with a little mischief thrown in on the side for kicks.

We hope you will join us for this special sXc with Tom & Thomas as they share with us their sketchboks and inspirations, and if your attending ICON8 come have a drink and draw with us!

When: Friday, July 11, 2014

Time: 7:00 – 9:00pm

Check-in begins at 6:00pm. Doors close at 6:45pm.

Place: Tillamook Station, 665 N Tillamook Street, PDX 97227

Cost: $5 suggested donation at signup

Registration is now open!

RSVP on Eventbrite

Space is limited. Be sure to register early!

I love visiting studios of the artists we feature. The studio of Pizza Friday is not your average place, well maybe it is in a Portland way. Their studio is tucked away in the the 100+ year-old John Deere Plow Company building now know as the Portland Storage Company. Yep, a you-store-it building that also masquerades as art studios on various floors. Pizza Friday is located on the 7th floor and the freight elevator heading up is an experience all on it’s own. Once there, unit 7K stands out in a bold statement true of those behind the door.

I’ve known Tom for many year’s, but this was my first time to visit with Thomas and learn about the work they do together. Sitting side by side I could see how one compliments the other and although they are different there are many similarities—their names, their profession, and their history and influence in graffiti art.  

YPE How did you come up with the name Pizza Friday?

TB I think it was a combination of words that worked really nicely together, it evoked a sense of fun. We didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously to begin with.

TT We have always had a similar sense of humor and have always talked about stuff typographically— we like good words, not because of their meaning but because they look good together or have certain connotations that we like. There was some conversations floating around on other words, but then it was oh fuck, Pizza Friday! That’s great. 

TB We made sure that we didn’t want this to have anything to do with pizza physically…but actually the first few meetings we did took place on Friday and pizza was involved.  

TO Everybody seams to have personal antidotes that are positive when it comes to Fridays and pizza. It’s just kind of a win win.

TB I would much more gravitate towards the vibe of Friday than pizza personally because Friday is wonderful but it also brings to mind a celebration. In the graphic design industry a lot of us work that 9-5 or more, Friday is something to look forward to.

TO Also pizza. Everyone has memories of being served pizza in elementary school on Fridays. Shit, you get pizza on Friday and you get the weekend.

YPE How long have you been Pizza Friday?

TB/ TO We’ve been doing projects together for six years. The first project we did together was a wedding invitation and then the collateral for Dig A Pony. We call ourselves an art gang because it’s a way of being less formal than being a studio or a company. It’s more organic and not that official. We just like to work together.

YPE How do you work full-time at your day job, then go to the studio to work afterwards?

TB Sometimes it’s great and other times we can’t be bothered to do it. There are only few occasions when we have to come in to get shit done. 

YPE Do you use the studio for other things beside design projects you’re working on together?

TO Yes, we both do personal projects and freelance work on top of all of our other “rent money” jobs. We also collaborate on projects with our other studio mates. We’ve done projects that involve apparel, products, and random shit. We work on the space together and also use it as an afterparty to hang out with friends sometimes.

TB Sometimes we just come up here at night, get weird, drink beers, and carry on.

TO That’s what the fog machine is for.

YPE How do you guys get projects together? Do you create projects to do?

TB A lot of times we will be asked to contribute to an art show or one of us will be asked to do something and it will end up being a collaborative piece because we’ll just talk about it together, then end up making it together.

TO There’s not really any hard and fast ways that it happens. It’s either somebody will come to us and want Pizza Friday to do something or someone will come to us individually and we will want it to be a Pizza Friday project. Or it will be one of our own projects and we just talk about it together so much that it will end up being a collaborative piece. We tend to do that often. Bouncing work and ideas off each other. It always ends up being a collaborative process even if it doesn’t end up being a PF production.

YPE Is that across the board for commercial work and fine art work? Are you mostly doing fine art or both?

TB We try to blur the lines between both when we get the chance. For instance, this weekend we just painted a massive mural for a client and that was a combination of both.

TO That was flexing fine art muscles for a commercial project which is obviously the most fun way you can combine the two.

TB We love finding excuses to get paid to make art and dick around. 

TO If it can come down to making letters and illustrating things and doing non-linear layout and graphic design we will absolutely do it. 

YPE What do you have to do to become a member? Is there an initiation into the art gang?

TO You just have to be our friend and want to do work with us, and we want to do work with you. All of our studio mates are honorary Pizza Friday members even if they are not on our website. 

YPE Have you ever thought about quitting your day job and doing this full-time?

TO We came to the conclusion that this is supposed to be the fun stuff—maybe it’s what our business model is.

YPE Yes, only work on fun stuff. 

Tom O’Toole’s full-time day gig is at Cinco Design where he works as a senior designer. His clientele includes working with VANS, Nike, and Cover Oregon to name a few. Thomas Bradley is currently working as an independent designer. His clients include NEMO, W+K, Roundhouse, Nike, Plazm and more.

Together they are Pizza Friday! They work on fun stuff that is type and illustration driven. Be sure to check out their shop for your Pizza Friday swag.

Some photos courtesy of Pizza Friday.

We hope you will join us for this special sXc with Tom & Thomas as they share with us their sketchbooks and inspirations!

When: Friday, July 11, 2014

Time: 7:00 – 9:00pm

Check-in begins at 6:00pm. Doors close at 6:45pm.

Place: Tillamook Station, 665 N Tillamook Street, PDX 97227

Cost: $5 suggested donation at signup

Registration is now open!

RSVP on Eventbrite