Why are Sushi and Pizza so popular in food art and food culture?

Pizza cat tshirt

07/14/2015 • Food Culture

Sushi have gone from something exotic from Japan that taught us to eat raw fish to something we see everyday, in supermarkets, the store on the corner but also in food art and food culture. Pizza have been around for a longer time, first from Italy and now, well everywhere. But how did Sushi and Pizza become the food everyone wanted to make art out of?

Since ateriet was started in 2014 we have written a bunch about sushi and pizza in all sorts of ways, one of our first posts was actually about food made out of Lego where a plate of sushi made of Lego was one of the things that made us write the post in the first place.

sushi lego

But that’s not all, we’ve been adding up those sushi or pizza related posts ever since and we even disregarded some cool stuff that we’ve seen around when traveling and hanging out online that would normally qualify for a post. But since it was about sushi or pizza we said to ourselves, we can’t constantly keep posting stuff about those two all the time. Nobody wants to see another instructional movie about how to eat sushi or a collection of pizza clothing. But we posted both of these and as it turns out you do want to read about it. Question is why are these two so popular?

When trying to figure this out we made a search at Etsy to see if this claim had any truth to it. For you who don’t know Etsy is a ecommerce marketplace for both artist and companies where you can shop almost anything. A lot of the items are handmade or made by small companies and producers. The common ground is that it is unique and very individual. We recommend it if you’re on the lookout for something to that friend who “has everything”.

We did a search to find out

Now for the search. To see if our claim about the art and pop culture popularity we searched for Sushi, Hamburger, Taco and Pizza at Etsy in all their categories. But we didn’t limit ourselves to Etsy. To make it complete we went for the almighty Google as well. But instead of just writing the name we added “art” for each search.This is what we came up with.

Pizza: 7860 hits  on Etsy and 207 million on Google
Sushi: 5890 hits on Etsy and 92,1 million on Google
Hamburger: 2349 hits on Etsy and 40,8 million on Google
Taco: 1771 hits on Etsy and 35,9 million on Google

blue pizza

Pizza is the King, Sushi is the Prince, Hamburger and Taco couldn’t even stand a chance. That feels a bit weird since both the hamburger and the taco have been so hyped the last few years. There haven’t been a restaurant that haven’t made their own gourmet burger and not a corner in the world have been free of a taco truck.

But we did some thinking of our own to why just these two items have become so popular to use in art and food culture. This is what we came up with.

It’s easy to draw both sushi and pizza

Try to draw a piece of sushi and then a pizza. Then draw a burger and a taco. I’m willing to bet that almost anyone could identify the sushi and the pizza, probably the burger too but the taco might be a bit trickier. The point is, both sushi and pizza are easy to draw and they look pretty cool even if you’re not the greatest artist. Although some make it look really good. I myself can draw a decent piece of sushi but ask me to draw a taco and I’ll give you a pancake with vomit on top. Guess which one I will try to sell on Etsy.

sushi illustration

We take it home

Both sushi and pizza are great for take out, which means people have pizza and sushi laying around in their apartments just waiting for us to draw it. Sure we take home burgers and tacos too but it doesn’t hold up taste wise as good as pizza and sushi. Why? Because of the temperature difference. Everything on a pizza is hot, everything on sushi is cold or at least cool. What makes a burger and taco great is the difference in texture and temperature. That’s one of the reasons you should go for the sushi and pizza when doing take out, and most people seem to do just that.

It looks kinda good, even when it’s not

A two day old pizza will still look tasty if you reheat it, a dry piece of sushi will also look pretty ok. A soggy burger from a brown bag looks like, well a soggy two day old burger from a brown bag. So if you’re an artist hanging around at home looking for inspiration you will most likely choose to do something out of that stinky piece of sushi instead of the burger. Just look at these cool pizzas, that wouldn’t work with a taco would it?

We all love it and eat it all the time

We love sushi and pizza. Everyone loves either sushi or pizza, most love both. Show me someone who doesn’t love either and I’ll show you a dead soul. If you want to make a piece of art and use food you want to it out of something we all recognise. Andy Warhol made cool cans out of Campbell’s Soup Cans not some artisanal charcuterie. Meaning to make it popular you need to use something we all know what it is and like.

So that’s it, now you know why you keep seeing all those posts about sushi and pizza all over the place. If you haven’t read everything we’ve posted on sushi go nerd out here or if you’re more of a pizza guy or girl take a look at our pizza coverage. Both of these will keep getting stuff added to them since we seem to never get enough of neither sushi or pizza.

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