Riccardo Bucchioni is an Italian artist and designer with an unhealthy obsession with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. He loves punk rock and creates awesome designs for punk rock bands. He also designs pop culture t-shirts.
Riccardo draws what he likes and you will mostly be able to see his art on daily t-shirt sites like Ript and TeeFury. He says he’s too lazy to post his designs elsewhere. I guess he’s too busy taking walks with Vlad the Greyhound.
Riccardo Bucchioni Interview
I see on Twitter that you are based in La Spezia. Born and raised?
Born and raised. Actually, I still live in the house my parents moved into once they got married.
I looked up picturesque in the dictionary and there was a picture of La Spezia. Is it as beautiful as it looks on the internet?
Probably you saw mostly pics of the five lands which are near La Spezia and they’re a stunning beauty, La Spezia is not that pretty but it’s still a small beautiful city.
What do you like most about where you live?
La Spezia is not such a big city, I like that the most, it offers almost everything but without the chaos of a metropolis. Then, we’re near to the sea, it doesn’t take long to reach beautiful places on the coast and enjoy the silence of the bay or a beautiful landscape hearing the waves crashing on the rocks. I really dig the quiet you can find around here. I’m probably getting old.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I don’t have so much free time, hahaha.
When I do, I like to hang out with my girlfriend and take walks with our adopted greyhound Vlad, watching movies and tv series, listening to punk rock and obviously draw not commissioned stuff, painting canvas and doing custom toys.
About the Artist
Do you have any formal art training or are you self-taught?
Both. I attended an art school and after that, I had a three years course in a comic book artists’ school. I learned the basics in those schools, on the digital side I’m self-taught/self-made, I spent nights over nights on learning programs and trying to understand how to make them fit my needs. Let’s say it’s a 50/50 training. Experience is the best school.
Can you tell us a little about the monsters on your Flickr page?
Those monsters are custom toys, most were blanks sent me by Dudebox, a UK based company which is now closed down. They produced vinyl toys some years ago, and I’ve got some production pieces in their line too, plus they sent every artist some blanks to customize and to sell’em on a special section of their website. I still have most of them lying in a box at home. Anyway, monsters are a big part of my life, I’m a huge fan of the “classics” from Universal and also a fan of the horror flicks from the 80’s. I also got some monsters tattooed on me, so I can keep ’em with me forever ☺
Where do you usually get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes always from a mix of random things, it may be something I see while I walk around, a situation I see in a movie, something I read, some art I browse on the web or also some of my fave artists from the past. Sometimes it’s just something that tingles in my brain, you know, like Spidey’s spider sense or something like that.
Could you describe your typical design process from concept to completion?
I always start with very rough sketches, using cheap markers on a sketchbook, to get an idea of space occupation, basic layout, poses and all that stuff. Once I get something I like, I use a crayon to do some rough pencils, which I use as a base to reach the “final” pencils using a 2B pencil usually. Once I’m happy enough with, I start inking, by hand or digitally depending on what I need. I prefer doin’ it by hand, with inks and brushes, but I can’t always do that due to deadlines and short times.
About the T-Shirts
How did you first hear about daily t-shirt sites like TeeFury and RIPT?
It all started with Threadless. I used to submit in there since 2005 or something, then when similar websites spawned around I kept ’em as a sort of “plan B” for my submissions.
Some of those sites directly contacted me to know if they could buy/sell my t-shirt designs, nowadays I barely submit to Threadless but I constantly submit to Ript or Teefury.
Do you remember your first print? If so, what was it and how did you feel?
Hahaha yeah, I surely remember. I was overexcited about it! It was one of my first attempts at “sellable” t-shirt designs, most of the websites were limited to 4 colors and I was a rookie on the field, it was called “follow the white rabbit” and it was a mix up / collage of free dingbats featuring some bats chasing a white rabbit in a forest. It was printed by noisebot.com. Seeing it nowadays makes me kinda laugh at my work by that time.
You have had t-shirts printed by TeeFury, RIPT, teeVillain, and ShirtPunch. Who do you usually submit to first? Why?
It depends on the t-shirt “subject”. When I do some movie parody or related drawing I usually submit it to Ript first, to Teefury later. If it’s something more “cute” or more “artsy” I usually submit it to Woot.
A lot of designers sell their work on TeePublic, RedBubble, Design by Humans, NeatoShop but you don’t seem to put many of your designs in these places. Is there a reason for this?
I’m lazy. Hahaha. I opened a Society6 shop but I think I sold just one item in 6 years.
Of the t-shirts that you designed, which one is your favorite?
Probably the “heard you were dead” t-shirt for Screeching Weasel.
Besides their being my favourite band, I was in the need of a logo for the “heard you were dead” tour, their logo is pretty famous in the punk rock community (and one of the most tattooed too – I also have it tattooed on my arm) and I got this random idea of doing a Jolly Roger having the Weasel head as the base. Ben (SW leader) loved it immediately and now they often use it for promoting shows etc. It makes me feel like I’ve been able to give a personal twist and contribution to something that was already working perfectly.
Do you wear the t-shirts that you have designed?
Yeah, it happens, but not all of them. There are some tees I’ve designed that I’ve never worn.
Have you seen somebody wearing one of your t-shirts in the real world?
Some friends regularly buy my tees on the web, so yes, it happened to see people wearing my stuff, also when I go to punk rock shows I always see different t-shirts I designed for bands around me. It’s something that always makes me feel strange, but it’s also flattering on one side. I also have some “fans” that send me pics wearing my t-shirts.
Photoshop or Illustrator?
Pencils and inks, then Photoshop for sure, I suck at vectors.
About the World
What is the most exotic location you have been to?
I don’t travel too much, never did, so I think it’s Monterosso, one of the five lands, a place I love since I was a little kid.
Where would you most like to visit? Why?
My dream’s to visit the US one day, never been there, plus, when I was around 12, my dad was offered to move to the US for work, but it never happened, so it’s a mix of curiosity and of “culture” due that 95% of the things I like and influenced me, come from the United States.
About Other Designers
Which t-shirt designer(s) do you admire the most?
I don’t follow the Tshirt design arena as much I used to, from what I see around, I love the solid style of Beastpop, he does really vibrant tees, I used to be a huge fan of Travis Pitts (Travis76 on Threadless), I’m sorry he almost quit at t-shirt art (he does amazing dystopic future and stuff nowadays though) and of Olly Moss, Olly’s a true genius. I also dig the retro touch and feeling of Gimetzco.
Have you done any collaborations for t-shirts? If so, who and what did you design? If not, who would you like to collaborate with?
I did it once with my e-friend Leon Ryan, an Australian artist. It was some kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thingie for a “Threadless Loves Science” competition. We got a poor score so we stopped doing collabs.
Any advice for new designers/artists?
Do always what you like to draw/compose. Spend all the time you need to be satisfied with your work, once it gets boring, quit it.
What are you watching on TV at the moment?
I don’t watch TV too much nowadays, when I do I watch lotta MMA fights with my gf, and we’re waiting for the upcoming Game of Thrones series.
What’s the last movie you saw in the cinema/movie theater?
Trainspotting 2 (I can’t call it “T2”, there’s only one T2 for me, and it has a Terminator in it).
I didn’t have great expectations about it, and I found it a pretty enjoyable and well-directed movie instead. It has been a good unexpected surprise.