San Francisco artist Ferris Plock is that amorphous age between grown-up kid and adolescent adult. The longtime staple of the Bay Area’s skate art scene paints and illustrates tableaux that are both goofy and incredibly detailed, often involving intricate patterns, gold or silver leafing, and bright pops of color. A conglomeration of pop culture references inhabit his worlds -- from skateboarding to drive-in snack bar promos and Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblocks -- but as far as themes go, food is a biggie.
In his anthropomorphic fantasies come to life, ice cream cones and pretzels pose as skater dudes, while pizza and tacos grow amphibian extremities. The guy who turned his former ‘hood, the Western Addition, into the “Spaghetti Western Addition” for an illustrated series of meatball-and-cowboy shootouts often populates his alternate realities with cheap eats.
So it makes perfect sense that he’d one day stumble into a lowbrow version of food styling — shaping bits of breakfast, lunch, and dinner into funny monster faces that his two sons, Brixton (6), and Angus (3), would eat, and that his wife, the equally talented artist Kelly Tunstall, would embrace as well. After four years of placing sushi, cheese puffs, sausages, strips of chicken, apple slices, Japanese rice crackers, and pretzel buns just so on his family’s plates, and then feeding images of these tasty visages to his 15,000 followers on Instagram with the #foodfaces hashtag, Plock and Tunstall are releasing an unconventionally awesome art book and kid’s cookbook combo called Food Faces.
Plock and Tunstall have long been collaborators, and both are set to be artists-in-residence at the de Young next year. Tunstall’s starry-eyed mermaids and stylish creature charmers exist in her paintings and 3-D printed sculptures, her murals for restaurants A16 (where Plock designed the pizza boxes) and Bar Crudo, and in pieces the couple creates together as KeFe, Inc. But this book brings in a third party, photographer Howard Cao of Form & Fiction, under their larger Day Dreamers Limited umbrella. And as a trio, they’ve elevated Plock’s inspiring 30-minute parenting hacks to get his kids to finish meals into expressive beasts with names as colorful as the plating.