A&E » Arts

The Weirdos

Four-man group show at this week’s Function Junction Block party showcases Whistler’s finest underground artists



WHAT: Function Junction Block pARTy

WHERE: Millar Creek Road, Function Junction

WHEN: Friday, Aug. 5, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m


This Friday is the third annual Function Junction Block pARTy, the ArtWalk event that lures people to the south end of town to showcase all that is wonderful along Millar Creek and Alta Lake roads. This year will feature live music from King Rails, Jon Burr and Watasun; live painting by Lauren Ritz, Stan Matwychuk, Liks, Taka Sudo and Andi Anissmoff; and plenty of art by other Whistler artists, as well as food and drink.

But perhaps the most intriguing portion of the evening will be the four-man group show featuring four of Whister's resident weirdos. They are:

Dave "Pepe" Petko

Some local artists consider him to be the grand master of underground art in Whistler. He's notorious for a lowbrow and surrealist style, for his abstract critters and, of course, for his work as a tattoo artist at Black Ohm Tattoo in Function. He's also one half of the now-defunct Blind Mute Productions

His work at the group show: a series of small charcoal sketches of abstract creatures enclosed in little ornamental frames he's been collecting from gift shops and second hand stores for years.

On why he doesn't paint mountains or bears: "I can go outside and see that stuff. I don't know. I'd rather make some abstract thing up, an abstract landscape or an abstract creature or something. Use my imagination."

Arne "Poo Font" Gutmann

Look, he's not all about excrement, all right? Gutmann plays with a variety of mediums - homemade paper, canvas, lens and film. He's inspired by the abstract, shooting familiar subjects from peculiar angles and, like his now infamous font, leaves the audience a little disoriented.

His work at the group show: an abstract photography series called "Colour and Texture." It will feature photos he's taken of Whistler, albeit from a much different perspective than we're used to. He says, "When I studied, my photography teacher was just great. He'd always inspire us to, instead of just looking singularly at an image, to look at it almost multi-dimensionally. Look at it from all around, change your angle, your perspective. See it in a different light."

On why he doesn't shoot mountains or bears: "Everybody does it. This is the most saturated, extreme environment in Canada for that type of photography. I figure if I do it I'll just be adding to it and it's not going to discern me from anybody else that's doing stuff. I'd rather focus on what I enjoy doing - the abstract, the unusual - than the mainstream."

Randy "Randoid" Smith

The other half of Blind Mute Productions, Smith's the owner of Podium Auto Detail, known to sport a  "Hippy Killer" baseball cap and a Hindi aum tattoo on his chest. He paints hot rods and zombies, and he'll trade you a finished canvas for a fish burger.

His work at the group show: a collection of his newest paintings will be available for purchase, some of which have been exhibited at others shows and some which are brand new.

On why he doesn't paint mountains or bears: "I don't want (to make) like cookie-cutter Whistler paintings. I mean, not to knock any of those painters because they do well with that, they're good at what they do - for the most part they use really good materials and things, so they're not selling you a piece of shit - but old people like that kind of stuff in their house and I don't give a shit about old people's houses. I just want to paint what's fun and if it doesn't sell I don't care. When I'm dead it'll be worth a bunch of money."

Scott "The Incredible Amoeba" Johnston

He likes his horror films. Most of his work contains some element of the genre, like Frankenstein's monster or a pretty little lady missing a nose. It comes down to an obsession with pop culture - he's both inspired and disgusted by it. For the Amoeba, There's no better way to illustrate that than by illustrating a hairy, instantly recognizable monster.

His work at the group show: a combination of old and new paintings, some of which he's been rushing to complete specially for the occasion. As always, they'll all be painted on wood, old wine boxes or plastic. He never paints on canvas.

On why he doesn't paint mountains or bears: "Boring as hell. I can't imagine that. That's sort of why I quit art school, because it was like, 'Draw this bowl of fruit or paint this pear.' It was horrible."



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