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Q Pop Brings Funky Pop Art to Little Tokyo

By Lauren Mattia
Published: Monday, January 31, 2011, at 03:42PM
Lauren Mattia

Q Pop exhibits a wide array of cartoon-inspired art



Some may think that working to create the animation for cartoons like SpongeBob Squarepants and the PowerPuff Girls may be all fun and games. But after years creating cartoon art, Chris Mitchell was ready for a career change.

"I was tired of working in the animation industry," said Mitchell. He and co-owner Miki Paneepo finally turned their dreams into a reality in the form of Q Pop Shop, which soft opened in November.

The idea behind Q Pop was often a topic of discussion for the duo, but after an inspiring trip to Japan and Thailand where they were inspired by the countries' "creative energy," they decided to turn the idea into a reality.

"We've gotten a lot of positive response," said Mitchell. "We have a lot of people coming in saying 'this is exactly the kind of shop that I've wanted to be in Little Tokyo.'"

Mitchell, who is part Japanese, saw Little Tokyo as the perfect location for Q Pop. "I thought there needed to be more Japanese stuff in Little Tokyo," he said.

To celebrate its contribution to the neighborhood's retail growth, Mitchell and Paneepo hosted a grand opening party on Saturday night with a culmination of live music, art from 40 different artists, and Japanese refreshments. Although the couple is still navigating the ins and outs of opening their shop, over 400 people attended the "What is Q?" event, which runs through February 11th.

The shop's aesthetic is the brainchild of interior designer and artist Justin K. Thompson and is as unique as the items sold within it. The bright colors and illuminated display boxes compliment the funky art, clothing, and kitsch.

Also adding color and conversation to the store is a collection of murals from local artists like Kevin Dart, Chris Turnham, and Elizabeth Ito.

While Mitchell is no longer working to create the art behind cartoons, his dedication to foster the both local and global art makes the shop a pop-infused gem in Little Tokyo.

Q Pop Shop / 128 Astronaut E S Onizuka St / (213) 687-7767

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