Today I’m really stoked to present to you my interview with the awesome Phil Guy! He’s one of the most prolific artists working in the scene today, and even if you aren’t familiar with his name, you no doubt have been rocked by his work for quite some time now.
He’s the dude behind Show Class Magazine’s People’s Champ posters for Born Free 5, as well as countless other Show Class logos, covers, and iconic design work. He’s also teamed up many times with Death Science and Heavy Clothing, most recently with their joint “DS Lab” limited edition poster, and the Death Science “Trike Bride” t-shirt.
Have you’ve seen that Butcher Chop “Chopper Wars” poster? Phil Guy. The “Revenge Run” 4 or 3 poster? Phil Guy. The 76 Cycle logo? Yea, Phil Guy. He’s one hard-working man, and a helluva good dude too. So you know his work, right? Whadda ya say we learn a bit about the man?
Where are you based, Phil, and what’s the name of your art studio?
I have been living in San Francisco, California for four years now. The name I use for my freelance work is someguy design. I also work a regular 9-5 as a production manager/designer for a local print shop.
Where did you grow up, and what lead you to become an artist?
I was born in a small town called Uhrichsville, Ohio. It’s a different world from San Francisco, but I still like going back. It was a decent place to grow up, but I never wanted to live there longer than I had to. The art stuff came from being a quiet little kid, I liked cartoons more than other kids and way more than sports…once I started drawing something clicked…I’ve been hooked ever since.
Who were some of your favorite artists growing up, and how have they influenced your work (if at all)?
I’d say one of my favorite artists growing up was Derek Riggs, the guy who created Eddie for Iron Maiden and all of that amazing Maiden album art. I used to try and redraw all of the Iron Maiden album covers my uncle would give me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve drawn the album cover for “Piece of Mind”…its such a good cover. I was also a huge fan of Rick Parker. He did the art for the Marvel comic’s Beavis and Butthead comic books. Those comics are filled with really killer line work and little gross details… I’m a sucker for anything funny…those things are fuckin’ hilarious, to say the least.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I get a lot of inspiration from old comics and magazines. I also collect old matchbooks and decals. I’ve been told before that some of my work looks like it might have been done a while back which I think is a huge compliment. I’d take a rough edged imperfect drawing over a clean Adobe Illustrator graphic any day.
Do you have a favorite medium to work in?
I recently got the chance to paint a gas tank, and I fell in love with One Shot sign painters enamel. There’s somethin’ different about a paint brush loaded up with paint. Right now that’s my favorite, but my go to would be pen & ink.
How did you get involved with the motorcycle scene?
I’ve loved motorcycles since I was a little kid. My dad always had a bike, and the first one I can remember was a brown ironhead Sportster. The thing was so loud when he would ride into our driveway it would shake the cable loose on the TV and fuck up the reception…it was so cool to me. I fell in love with motorcycles at an early age. Got my first dirtbike around 12 and it was on. I wasn’t really involved with the current chopper culture until I was reading Death Science blog one day and they were looking for shirt art. I’ve always wanted to draw rad Easyriders mag type shit, and that gave me a chance to do just what I wanted. Tim was really stoked on the ideas I sent him, and from that first drawing on we’ve become good friends. I owe a lot to Tim, Death Science, and Show Class. They gave me a chance to make drawings I wanted to make, and really grow my skills.
Are there any new artists that inform your work, or inspire you to work harder?
There are a lot of talented artists out there, and recently I’ve been finding more and more inspiration from guys who are making work I wish I could call my own. There are a few guys who I check in on daily if I can, they keep me motivated to make more and more work. Off the top of my head a few guys to check out would be Dresden the Barbarian, Burney (batdog) from Austin TX, sketchytank, Johnny Sampson, tallboy, Alexis Ziritt, Matt Kerley, Gorgeous George….way too many to name…sorry to those I left out. There are so many guys out there that I’ve been lucky enough to get a kick in the ass from. I also owe a big debt of gratitude to my friend Mike. Most know him as Mike Giant, that guy has been a huge inspiration to me. He gave me a job when I first moved to the city, and he showed me how much work it takes to be an artist. He’s always encouraged me to draw as much as possible and I haven’t forgotten it.
What are you working on next? Any upcoming projects or shows?
Right now I’m working on as many new projects as I can, it’s all stuff that I’m really happy to be involved with. And I’m always hoping to take on more! Right now I’m inking in a graphic for a Mastodon T-Shirt, which I still can’t believe I got the chance to do. I’ve been a fan of the band for years, and its a dream come true for a heavy metal kid. I’m hoping in the future someone will ask me to do a show. I’d really like to have an opening in a donut shop at some point, but no cops, just apple fritters…I love apple fritters.
If you could travel through time, where would you go?
I once saw a video of Sabbath playing Paris in 1970, that would be the first stop. I’d also like to have met John Candy before he died…Uncle Buck is one of my favorite movies of all time.
I’d like to thank Phil for taking the time to talk with Doom Cycle, and for hand-picking the designs you see here to accompany the interview. If you’re not yet convinced on what a stellar dude he is, I need to point out that he even hand drew the Doom Cycle logo you see on the top of the site! Didn’t mention a word about it - just dropped it in the folder along with his art. How fucking cool is that?! Phil Guy rules!
Make a point to support all the places mentioned here in this article to help keep Phil’s work coming, and if you have a shop, club, business, or event that could use some killer custom art, make sure to get in contact with him. You’ll be really happy that you did.
Keep your eyes peeled to Doom Cycle for more Phil Guy news in the future, and don’t forget to scroll down the page for even more Phil Guy art!