Antisocial is the quintessential skater’s skateboard shop. A fixture on Vancouver’s independent retail landscape for over seven years, the store is co-owned by pro wunderkind Rick McCrank and general ruler Michelle Pezel, who you’ll find perched behind the counter most days. We pinned Michelle down for an interview and she hated every second of it.
When did you start skating?
I haven’t started yet. Ha. Really, at 15, say summer going into grade 9. Late go-er.
Why did you name your shop Antisocial?
Thats all Rick. Me and my friend Laura were going to open a shop together and I started bringing Rick to our little meetings. He got into it and he thought all our names were silly. Laura went on to art school and Rick opened the shop with me. He just said the name Antisocial when we were brain storming and that was it.
How long have you been open?
We opened March 15, 2002.
If you can describe yourself in one sentence what would you say?
That’s hard to do. A structured sentence? I’m no good at those. I’m a nail-biting, hungry person who gets sensitive and likes to ride skateboards.
What are the best and worst aspects of owning your own store?
Best: You can be late, ha. No, just D.I.Y. It’s taught me lots and lots, let me try so so many things (like drywalling and painting and graphic design, troubleshooting to the max). But what I what I like best is the kids! Big or little…
Worst: You are the responsible one. You still feel pressure whether it be outside or in here, you take your job everywhere, it’s your life (I’m not sure if that should be a worst but it’s a difficult part of the endeavor…if you don’t have the energy it don’t get done).
Why did you move the store into a different location?
Our rent was increased beyond our means at that point in time.
Did you always consider having an art gallery when you opened Antisocial?
Do you miss having the skate ramp in your store?
Yes yes yes! But we didn’t have one the first 5 years we were open so I think it’s okay. It was a supper sweet bonus for 2 years.
What do you find special about your store?
There something special about all shops…but the things about our shop that that feel special to me…it’s a harder one since we moved but…good vibes, no pressure sales, skateboarding only but that includes lots of the things that come along with skateboarding, mini art gallery.
What was the last piece of art that captivated you?
Artists that my eyes and heart like…Mel Kadel, Lori D, Maya Hayuk, Margaret Kilgallen… love the ladies.
What was the last movie you watched?
As of today, ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou’.
When did you become a vegan and why?
I believe in the summer of 2001. Why? Why not! “You are what you eat, you are dead meat!” Animals are my friends, I don’t want to eat them. It’s just a feeling, and when you get it, it’s on!
When did you start riding motorbikes?
2003. My first bike was a 1978 Honda CB350 four. Fun!
Do you prefer riding alone or with people?
I like to do many things in life with friends, indeed, indeed.
What kind of bike(s) do you have right now?
I have a 1976 Honda 400 four, a 1974 Honda Xl175, and a 1977 Yamaha XS650.
Where did you go on your last motorcycle trip?
MONTANA. I recommend it. Lovely place.
Who was the first artist to show at Antisocial?
In the old space, 2002, it was a group show with Katie Piasta, Laura Piasta, Andrew Dadson, Mat Aiken, Shayne Ehman, Jeff Halliday, and Human 5 (Jaret Penner, Simon Redekop, Mike Swaney).
Who is the next artist to show at Antisocial?
Who knows…maybe this young fellow Toby Reid. Lots to follow this fall. Just getting back into the swing of things since the move.
Can you tell us more about the ‘I Love Lee Matasi’ shirts you made? Where do the proceeds of shirt sales go?
LEE MATASI was a dear friend of ours and Vancouver’s whos is sadly missed due to a terrible act of violence causing his death in December 2005. Back in 1998/99, Lee founded Leeside Tunnel located under Hastings and Hwy 1 bridge. Since then Leeside has always been a active place for young and old skateboarders and graffiti writers to create freely, but due the the fantastic amount of skateboard parks and spots in Vancouver it wasn’t heavily used so about 2003 all the wooden ramps at Leeside were lit on fire and the city decided to clean it out and fill the whole tunnel with compacted gravel. When it came to our attention at Lee’s memorial that Leeside was unskateable for the last year, we took it upon ourselves (everybody knows who they are) to empty the tunnel and get our stoke on for the love of Lee and for the skateboard community to come together and build a space for us, from us, together. So over the last 3 years we have been fundraising, we made t-shirts, built ramps with all the proceeds going to Leeside. There’s been BBQs, music shows, wheels made by MOMENTUM, we sold 130 sets, EMERICA’s Wild In The Streets event was dedicated to Leeside, raising us a bunch of money. We are always accepting donations (cash, concrete, wood, rebar, granite) at Antisocial or at the Hastings-Sunrise Community Centre (Leeside Tunnel project). We have new website coming soon too www.leesidevancouver.ca.