Pizza Cartoon

about Scott Wiener and Luca Ciancio

There’s a kind of art that is not on canvas, paper or other recognised mediums, but on a steaming box that in most cases will be crumpled up and threw away in a matter of hours or just a few minutes, without even being viewed. However, that illustration, by a magical and fascinating reason, will have given its essential contribution to one of the most performed rituals of our time: that of pizza. If you come from cities like Naples or New York, you won’t be too surprised but, maybe for the first time, you’ll know a world of characters and their feelings, slices, fragments of real life lying behind all this.

In 2013, Scott Wiener, a “professional pizza enthusiast” — he currently has about 1500 pizza boxes in his Brooklyn apartment —, published Viva la Pizza! – The Art of the Pizza Box, a book with more than one hundred weird and wild box designs with curious history of the pizza box. He began his collection through his own travels in the US and Italy. But, as it grew, friends and acquaintances began sending him boxes from all over the world, including an “Octobox” from Brazil, a box with a detachable coffin from New Zealand’s Hell Pizza, and a prototype for an inflatable pizza ring from Denmark that Scott considers a little ridiculous, since you need a pump to inflate it.

According to Scott, the most beautiful boxes are those from Italy, where back in the ’90s it was thought to replace usual writing like “Pizza” or “Wood-fired oven” with real illustrations. In particular, Scott has been fascinated by the chromatic and compositional richness of the boxes by Luca Ciancio because they “tell a story”, whether classic or modern, realistic or comic. Since 1998, Luca made over 250 artistic illustrations for takeout pizza cartons. His technique is traditional watercolor or tempera, because, as he says, “pizza is something ancient and traditional and it is only right that the cartons keep this feature too”. He also created Super Pizz, a nice character having his adventures inside a pizzeria.

It’s safe to say many people like pizza. In fact, it might even be many people’s favorite food. Even so, what it is about pizza that makes guys like Scott and Luca love it enough to dedicate their lives to it? Scott says it’s because pizza brings people together, and everyone, no matter who you are or where you come from, can enjoy it equally. So, even if you come from cities like Naples or New York, maybe now you will give at least a look at your pizza box before throwing it away. Maybe you will start your personal collection or consider using them to decorate your pizza nook.


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