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Pop art exhibition opens at PD’s Hot Shop in Qualicum Beach

Exhibit includes Japanese metalwork, graffiti art and painted records
An art exhibit is the latest draw curated by Peter ‘PD’ Ducommun at the Pop Cult Museum housed in PD’s Hot Shop/Skate Vancouver Island in Qualicum Beach. (Kevin Forsyth photo)

A new exhibit in Qualicum Beach might just convince you there’s no difference between art made with a spray can and art made with a paint brush.

Popular Culture: Your Art is Showing includes Japanese metalwork, graffiti art, painted records and everything in between at the Pop Cult Museum inside of PD’s Hot Shop/Skate Vancouver Island.

“When I said I was going to have an art show, the first question most people ask is ‘what kind of art?’” said Peter “PD” Ducommun, owner.

Terms like “low-brow art” and “street art” are used sometimes, Ducommun said, but “they all seem a little bit demeaning — or somehow it’s not real art.”

The exhibition has works by Dash5 Bionica, Klutch, Rachel Hayward, Mr. Chi Pig, The Boy, Junklaw and other guest artists.

One piece by Junklaw depicts Zatoichi, a fictional blind swordsman of Japan’s Edo period. It was created in honour of Skull Skates’ 40th anniversary. “Happy 40th anniversary” is engraved into Zatoichi’s samurai sword.

“He’s a bit of a madman,” Ducommun said. “He’s like several of the people I’ve met in Japan, they hardly ever sleep. It seems like they only get a couple of hours a night.”

Junklaw repairs huge machines, like earthmovers, by day and then works on his metal art by night, creating masterpieces out of junk leftover in his work space.

Another piece shows Goofy with a needle in his arm, painted by The Boy in Vancouver around 25 years ago. There’s even art by Mr Chi Pig (Ken Chinn) from the world-famous punk band SNFU.

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One favourite is by an artist named Neos, a member of the graffiti crew Dash5 Bionica with Ducommun and others.

“All of these pieces represent a time when they were just really creative and producing and putting themselves out into the world, which is a pretty special thing.”

Several works were created by Ducommun, and many of them feature a character called Mutant, who embodies the anxiety felt by modern humans crowded into cities.

“My theory is too many straight lines in a city. Everything is right angles and I just don’t think that’s good for natural beings,” he said.

Ducommun is hesitant to call himself an artist, feeling more akin to a designer.

“Designing is just one of the many things I do,” he said. “And maybe that’s a weird criteria, but it just seems to me like an artist is somebody who’s really let everything go and put everything they have into art.”

The exhibit includes quite a few books that cover some of the masters from the history of art. Visitors are invited to flip through them and consider why society is comfortable labeling some things “art”, but not others.

“Often times if you start to delve into some of these older forms, they weren’t respected when they came out,” Ducommun said. “But over a period of time people looked back and went, ‘oh wait a minute’.”

Popular Culture: Your Art is Showing is on display until March 16, 2024. PD’s Hot Shop/Skate Vancouver Island is located at 164 2nd Ave W in Qualicum Beach.

Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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