The walls of our restaurants are filled with one-of-a-kind Zachary’s Pizza Art. We held our first art contest in the late 1980′s and the tradition has continued every couple of years since. We love our art and the artists. We are excited to be able to use our blog as a medium for our community to get to know our artists better. Meet Stew Ellington!

For the first 30 years of my life, art was hugely important to me. At one time I had wanted to be an artist for a living. I made art in all sorts of media and in 2001 earned a master of fine arts degree in painting. After earning my degree, however, I completely lost interest in painting and avoided it for about 15 years. In fact, the poster I made for the Zachary’s contest is the first painting I’ve done since grad school! In the meantime, I’ve filled in the creative gaps of my life with photography and writing; I’ve designed and published two cocktail recipe books, among other creative projects.

I had wanted to enter the Zachary’s poster contest for years but could never think of an image I wanted to use. Plus, I was loath to pick up a paintbrush again for fear I would have lost my skills! Finally, it occurred to me I should just paint something I’m passionate about and make it work for the contest, and I happen to love vintage Italian Vespa scooters. The idea to create the front wheel out of a Zachary’s deep-dish pizza popped into my head and, eureka! I was on my way. I crossed my fingers and hoped I could still pull off a reasonably convincing painting after a 15-year hiatus.

I love how the Italian-ness of the scooter reflects the Italian(ish)-ness of pizza. I had a great time creating my poster in the style of vintage Vespa ads from Italy, with lots of bright, primary colors and cartoonish renderings. The official slogan of Vespa, “Not just a scooter… a lifestyle,” lent itself well to referencing Zachary’s pizza and providing a title for my piece. I’m really glad I was able to break my painting dry-spell with one that was so purely fun to do. Thanks, Zachary’s, for the opportunity and for years of awesome pizza! I’m so glad to finally be a part of this community event.