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Artist highlight: Phil Guy aka Burrito Breath

Words by Adam Jolley
Artist highlight: Phil Guy aka Burrito Breath

Inspired by the fun, goofy vibes of the 80s and 90s, US-based graphic artist Phil Guy is the mastermind behind Burrito Breath (@burritobreath) - artwork that's bound to put a big smile on your face.

Having designed everything from store-front murals to artwork for Mark Hoppus' guitar (Blink-182), we were thrilled to have Phil create a Halloween sticker set for Stories & Ink.

Here we take the opportunity to chat with Phil about influences, creative processes, tattoos, and, of course, we get to gander at some of his amazing art.

Hey Phil, how about a quick intro?

My name is Phil Guy / Burrito Breath. I'm a graphic artist based in Ohio - USA. I like to say I'm a freelance performer of the graphic arts; I do design / illustration work of all sorts large and small. I have been working solo doing this gig for the last 9 years. So far its the longest "job" I've ever held!

Burrito Breath art

Your work is featured across a real range of things, do you still get a kick seeing your designs come to life?

It means the world to me that people would like me to create artwork for them. I'm still so happy to see the work come to life in the final product/s, it only helps to keep me excited that it has been displayed in so many formats.

Seeing the likes of Beavis & Butthead, Blink-182, Gremlins etc in your work, can we assume you were an 80s/90s kid? 

I'm absolutely a late 80s/90s kid, I think there's something special for me about the era because so many new formats were in their infancy. There seemed to me more opportunities for new "weird" and "unusual" approaches to branding and design. I love the older Ed Roth / Impko decals and graphics, and they gave birth to a new generation of weirdo artists in the 80s/90s. At least in my eyes there was a further expansion of the genre.

Personally I see it all as something that each of us has in us a kind of goofy lighthearted aspect of ourselves. It's a bit hairy and kinda gross but funny and well intentioned. That's what I hope people take from my work, I just want to give people a chance to get a quick pause for a smile... hopefully not a wince.

Burrito Breath van art

Do you find themes in your work that keep cropping up?

Since I've been chipping away at making the freelance career work I've seemed to go through some different phases. I used to do a lot more chopper / motorcycle stuff, they were the first people to really give me a shot to kinda do what I wanted. Those same people came from the punk / skateboard scene which lead to more work for that genre. After working on a bunch of that stuff I found my way into doing a lot of cannabis projects.

I think the common thread through all of the stuff I've worked on would be a sense of independence and a diy work ethic. There's a strong gravitational pull into scenes where the rules are rather loose and self imposed than more formal settings. I think it lends itself to some more fun / unique approaches to the artwork.Burrito Breath art

Did it take a while to achieve your own style? 

As far as a style goes I'm still trying to hammer it out haha. I want to make stuff that has a recognizable feel, but also clearly shows the influence of the people that inspired it. I'll get there!

Favourite time of day and/or place to work?

My lifestyle is pretty "monastic" as some friends have called it haha. Luckily I work from home, I like to get up really early and keep a pretty regular schedule. I'm not too strict on myself but I've realized how very fortunate I am to be doing what I am and making a living doing it. I'm trying my best to not squander the opportunity and really do as much as I can with the time I've got. Life's a quickly passing dream and I wanna get as much of the good stuff while I can.

Burrito Breath art

Your artwork obviously makes great tattoos. Is it available for people to use?

I'm a huge lover of the tattoo world at large. As a collector I've been very lucky to find my way into the family and I've met some of my very closest friends through tattooing. I've never made flash exclusively, but have made some flash friendly art for sure. I love seeing tattoos based on the stuff I've drawn up. I happily welcome people to get images tattooed / recreate them for proper tattoos. My only ask is that I get some photos when they're done!