☛ Hawk Krall: “The Dirty O” (Pittsburg), giclee prints, 11″ x 14″, December 2011. © Hawk Krall
Hawk Krall is an illustrator living and working (mostly) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s also a food writer for Drawing For Food (which he co-founded along with Kris Chau) and Serious Eats where he has his weekly column about hot dogs, Hot Dog of the Week.
The “Dirty O” painting was made to illustrate a review he did of this restaurant over at Serious Eat:
I’ve been hearing about this legendary hot dog joint, opened by Sid Simon in 1960, for years. But for some reason it was never too high on my list. One glance at the incredible hand-lettered signs, coolers stocked with 40s of malt liquor, and a mountain of extra long dogs lined up on the grill, and I had a feeling this place would blow my mind. (Serious Eat: “Hot Dog of the Week: The Original Hot Dog Shop, aka ‘Dirty O’ in Pittsburgh” by Hawk Krall, December 2, 2011).
Make sure to follow the link to Hawk Krall’s blog to see the process shots of the “Dirty O” painting:
Unfortunately I don’t have the time to do a full-on painting every week for Hot Dog Of The Week (my column on Serious Eats).. these things take me at least a few days to finish… but every once in a while there’s a place so awesome that it really deserves an illustration. The Dirty O was one of them, awesome food along with awesome hand painted signs covering every inch of the place. They also sell beer and greeting cards. The vibe was more Philly Cheesesteak stand than hot dog joint.
In a recent interview, Hawk Krall explains his passion for the hot-dog in all its forms:
“More so than the dogs themselves, I love the old-school hot dog locations,” says Krall. “They’re really unusual, particularly the decor and the lettering used on the signs. There aren’t many hot dog chains, so each one’s unique and funky in its own way. It’s like going to a folk art garden, but with hot dogs.” (metro: “Hawk Krall draws inspiration from Philly” by Elliott Sharp, July 5, 2012)
Prior to do illustration, Hawk Krall use to work as a cook:
[He] has cooked in all kinds of kitchens, from down-and-dirty dives to fine-dining establishments. It’s where he first fell for dogcraft and the innumerable variations therein, leading to a regular gig as hot dog columnist for Serious Eats. (COOK: “Hot Diggity And Hawk Krall Go Wiener-Crazy At Cook” by Drew Lazor, August 2, 2012)
Earlier this year, he gave a more elaborate to Geekadelphia:
You seem to be quite the foodie, specifically hot dogs, what’s the story on that? How did you become such a fan of them?
I grew up near a short lived outpost of Levis’ Hot Dogs in Jenkintown that got me hooked on the fish cake combo thing, especially years later when i realized how unique it is. Also my parents were (and still are) big on combing small town Pennsylvania for old diners and abandoned amusement parks and checking out the local food was always a part of it. I’ve always loved all types of food – not just hoagies and hot dogs – and also worked as a line cook for 6 years.
The world of hot dogs just seems to have this stubbornly regional and individualistic spirit that keeps it interesting. Every small town with a crazy hot dog shack thinks it’s the best in the world, every place has a legend about their chili or relish recipe being won in a poker game in Detroit from an old Greek man. I like fancy restaurant food too but feel like there’s plenty of people writing about that already, although I wouldn’t be opposed to doing a giant painting of tripe & tongue from Han Dynasty or something. (“Geek of the Week: Hawk Krall, Illustrator and Hot Dog Writer” by Michaelangelo Ilagan, May 2, 2012)
For more see the following links:
Serious Eat: “The Hot Dog Hall of Fame: 20 Hot Dogs We Love in America” by Hawk Krall, July 20, 2012.
He recently did some illustration for the magazine Lucky Peach (edited by McSweeney’s), Issue 4: “American Food” (Summer 2012). See also on his blog: “Marc Maron & Lucky Peach” July 3, 2012. For more information about the nice magazine Lucky Peach see The New York Times: “Bringing Comfort Food to Print Fans” by David Carr, July 31, 2011.
From July 6 to 28, at Space 1026’s gallery, Hawk Krall displayed a new collection of black-and-white illustrations inspired by the city where he lives, Philadelphia.