The work of Andrew Pommier, born in Ontario and now based in Vancouver, is rife with decapitated heads, deformed animals, human-animal hybrids, and death, yet executed with a humor and liveliness that has compelled a global audience of fans and clients. Naturally, he was a great fit for the Poketo x Club Mumble t-shirt and wallet series. Who is the artist behind these surreal snapshots?
What would you say is a common motif throughout your work, and what is this imagery inspired by?
People, nature and the randomness of life. It’s a cliche thing to say but I gather inspiration from my day to day. Books I read, conversations, riding my bike. My studio is in the worst part of Vancouver which is basically an open drug market that attracts many people at the margins of society-drug addicts and the mentally ill. So just getting to my studio is a wealth of inspiration.
You have illustrated for apparel, shoes, and exhibited your work internationally. How did you get started and where do you see yourself going?
It all started with skateboarding. I quickly realized being a sponsored skater wasn’t in the cards I became really interested in how one gets there drawings on a skateboard, some would say a lofty goal for a kid from a small mining city in Canada but over time and moving to Toronto I just tried to put myself in the right situations and tried to talk to the right people and as those types of things go one thing led to another and I finally caught a break and got on the right road. I wish I had a 5 year plan but I’ve never been good at getting my act together. I would like to do more art shows and travel.
What’s the story behind your wallet image?
I have been drawing this laying down figure for awhile. It was inspired in a small way by Henri Rousseau’s painting “Sleeping Gypsy”. Most of my paintings have a vertical so this is a way to create a horizontal piece of work. The animal masks have been a part of my paintings for awhile and lately I’ve enjoyed adding random objects around figures. It gives more items for one to construct a narrative. A narrative I haven’t put together.
What are you favorite things about Vancouver? Would you live anywhere else?
Summers there are good (when the sun is shinning of course) and the long days. The beaches are great when you are feeling beachy. There are some nice places to eat. There are enough creative people there to keep things exciting. Yeah I would live somewhere else. I just need a reason. I’m writing this from Berlin and this place is pretty great. I like Vancouver well enough but that tie is pretty easy to break. Make me an offer.
What do you like to do when you’re not making art?
Ride peddle bikes, read, watch a movie, tv, the internet, sadly, too much of that most of the time.
Part of the Poketo x Club Mumble project entails a re-release of Ground Beef, a skate zine from 1985, produced by my brother Tony Vadakan. Its contents explore art, friends, music, being young, community, and of course, skating. We sent you a copy… what kind of nostalgic anecdotes do you have about being young and skating?
Soon after I got a skateboard in 1986 I found out about Powell Peralta and I was instantly hooked on their graphics. We didn’t have a skateshop in our city but we had heard there was a shop that sold skate stuff the next city over. My mom was going there for some reason or another so I jumped in the car so I could go to the shop. My friend gave me money and a list of the stickers he wanted. I got dropped off at the shop and my mom said she would pick me up in 4-ish hours. She drove away and I went in. I spent about $25 on roughly 5 Powell stickers in the first 5 minutes. Pretty much all the money I had, as it turns out it wasn’t a skateshop just a sporting goods store that had brought in a set of wheels and a deck or two to capitalize on the growing trend, the rest of the stuff they sold was hockey and soccer stuff. Not a place to spend an afternoon. I kicked around for about 15 more minutes and then split. I never gave my friend any stickers and never paid him back. I was a Powell junky and there was no was I was going to share my score no matter how I got the money.
Thanks, Andrew! You can check out more of his work at andrewpommier.com, and be sure to scope his Poketo x Club Mumble t-shirt and wallet design. Any purchase of a wallet or tee shirt from the Poketo x Club Mumble series will include a FREE issue of Ground Beef Zine, while supplies last!