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."hanging with the gang" oil on wood 2008

Andrew Pommier: Overactive Imaginings

The Vancouver-based artist has just created a series of shoes for Adidas but remains firmly dedicated to his surreal wildlife-inspired paintings.

When he is not cruising the mean streets of East Vancouver on his bike like a young Kevin Bacon from the movie “Quicksilver” you are likely to find Andrew Pommier at his art studio near his house. Other hangouts include the local skateboard shop Anti-Social, owned by his friend, pro skateboarder Rick McCrank. Unsurprisingly, skateboarding and art have always been major influences in Andrew’s life.

Andrew Pommier has established himself as a highly sought after modern artist whose resume has the power to impress the greatest of skeptics. His client list includes such companies as Nike, Rossignol, Virgin Mobile, Asahi, MTV Australia, RVCA Clothing, Stussy, Fourstar Clothing, Girl Skateboards, Toy Machine Skateboards and most notably, adidas who released a special “Andrew Pommier” series shoe.

Actually, he has three shoes: a slip-on, a low-top and a high-top, all featuring his artwork on the sides and his name on the back. The deal with adidas came about when their American staff popped into Anti-Social to check on regional sales. At the time Andrew’s work was featured on the walls, and the adidas management took note. They had heard of Andrew before and were so impressed that they decided to set up a meeting back in the US for a shoe. Andrew said that the process of designing the shoes and working with adidas was easier than expected.

Andrew does a lot of work for corporate clients, but the heart of his art is still his paintings. When you look at an Andrew Pommier painting you can’t help but be captivated by its simplicity and intrigue, and the narrative that it generates. His work has a distinctively Canadian feel, featuring broad landscapes, trees and wildlife. The characters and their bizarre animal-head costumes insist on the imagination and stir memories of youth and feelings of freedom and fun. The characters of the paintings are generated from sketches that Andrew is always working away on.

Whether on the phone or out with friends, he always has his sketchbook on hand, constantly putting images on paper, which often result in paintings. You can see the influence of his sketching in many of the paintings he does, where the actual sketches are visible through the paint.

While not a huge fan of academia, Andrew admitted that going to art college provided a framework that has greatly shaped him as an artist. He graduated from one of the most prestigious art schools in Canada, Ontario College of Art and Design. He credits his time at college with laying the groundwork for his skills that he now utilizes in his painting. His studies also gave him the enviable opportunity of moving to one of the hearts of the art world, Florence, Italy. The semester abroad program also kept him motivated enough to stay in school and finish.

While interviewing Andrew, I wondered what else could a young artist set his sights on. After all, he has his own shoe, he has had art shows all over the world and his art is continually being put on clothes and skateboards. Not one to sit still and be content, Andrew explained that his next year long project is to work on an upcoming show in France, which to him will be one of his most prestigious shows to date.