Peter O’Toole X Heavy Crates

Peter O’Toole is a freelance graphic designer / illustrator based in Huddersfield, well known for his bold vintage style. Lending his 50s inspired artworks to collaborations with various street wear brands. Peter has been working with some big names over past few years and gained notoriety in the art / design scene with shows and exhibitions around the world.

We sent John Hanson a self-confessed super fan and newest addition to the Heavy Crates team to go say hi…


So Peter really happy to get to ask you a few questions about this upcoming line, your designing for Heavy Crates and find out a little more where your coming from.

I’m a big fan and proud owner of some of your prints, mugs, what ever I can get my hands on. I’ve kept up to date with all your collaborations, from working with big established brands like Clarks Originals, Adidas how have you come to be working with Heavy Crates on this project?

Well when I was at uni, a friend (Ollie Smith) and myself started a magazine called ‘dirtcheap’ and a live art night called ‘fresh kids’. We created it out of fear (and probably a bit of desperation) that there would be no outlet for inexperienced designers and artists to get exposure straight out of uni. The premise for the mag was to promote artists like ourselves, unknowns trying to get known. Social media was just taking off so we had this opportunity to see and get peoples work from all over the world in there. It started online and eventually manifested into a printed magazine. (Although we only did 1 issue as it was self funded and expensive!), for the first few issues we called on favors from friends, Ollie knew Tony from Hebden through graffiti and he was dj’ing in the US and all over, so we thought he would be perfect for an interview!

Since then I stepped away from the magazine and night to concentrate on my freelance illustration career, and Ollie is also freelance illustrating but still running nights here and there, one of which I bumped into Tony at last year after not seeing him for a while! We always kept in touch through social and he was having a re-organisation at Heavy Crates and wanted a different approach on some tee designs, that’s when he called me.


Could you talk us through your designs and how you got there?

Tony approached me and gave me a lot of freedom to do what I felt looked right for the brand. I know their existing designs are heavily graff influenced and that’s natural due to the nature of the music they put out. I actually started taking art seriously at school when I got into graffiti, it was something I could relate to and all of a sudden art made sense to me. I was rubbish at graffiti and wasn’t down with the risk factor neither so I focused on more of a retro style.

I actually started taking art seriously at school when I got into graffiti, it was something I could relate to and all of a sudden art made sense to me.

My way of working harks back to a bye gone age. So how would this relate to a hip hop label? Well first off the guys at heavy crates are into all types of music and Tony was well into the old studio 1 style sleeves, 50s style stuff. I think he mentioned my logo looked like something from them days (which it was completely inspired from) So I basically re-imagined the label as a vintage label, I came up with three designs, pretty bold and simple, minimal colours, a bit of wear and tear, and that’s how I got there!


With your experience in the fashion industry and creative eye, what would you like to see coming from Heavy Crates Apparel in the future and would you be interested in working with us again?

I think you guys should do more stuff like this! Keep the graffiti tees coming as there’s always a market for that but do some different stuff too, a lot of middle-age folk probably wouldn’t get away with wearing graffiti on a tee as it might come across as some kind of mid life crisis but they could wear something like this as its more reminiscent of what they grew up with, variety is the spice of life! and of course, I’ve talked with Tony and we have a few tricks up our sleeve, sleeve been the key word there…




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