A couple months after opening, my pug-obsessed sis in law demanded that I add pug pins to the shop. Thus began my journey of searching the internet for a worthy design. The search brought me to Etsy, where I discovered two adorable pug designs in colorways that represented the classic pug look - fawn and black. Right away, I knew I had to get them for my site. I emailed the seller and asked about carrying it on my site and to my delight, he said yes! Fast-forward to today, not only have we added many of his designs to our website, I'd like to say that I've made a friend!
Enough about me. Now onto Peter! He owns Pugnacious Pins, an enamel pin brand that specializes in pug-themed and pop culture inspired pins. Pugnacious Pins is LGBTQ+ owned and AAPI owned, so what better month to feature this brand than during Pride Month! Read on to learn more about Peter and Pugnacious Pins.
Tell us about your brand and how you got started.
I've always enjoyed drawing since elementary school, but never thought about it too seriously for most of my life. Growing up, making art for a living wasn't an option I had in mind, but I had a lot of fun with trying out different things, from painting to sculpture to wood burning, and back in 2016 I got into making custom charms for friends.
I had my two dogs at the time that I wanted to make pins of, and even though I had never done anything like it before I decided to give it a try, and things slowly took off from there! I've been making enamel pins of the things I love, which of course includes pugs, but also lots of pop culture as well.
What inspires you and how did you develop your artistic style?
Many artists will stick to one particular style, but I've always liked being able to experiment with new and different things. I've experimented over the years with different styles and looks and just kind of go with what I'm drawn to at the moment. Sometimes, that may be things that look more realistic and sometimes it's something that's a bit more easy going and goofy.
How did your love of pugs begin?
Growing up, my parents didn't let us have a dog, so I wasn't too much of a pet person even though I've always loved animals! I like cats, but I'm pretty allergic so I knew that once I had my own place, I wanted to get a dog. I just so happened to get my boy Archie the pug and I've loved them ever since! I adopted another pug from Pug Nation Rescue of LA and have worked with them for a number of years now from participating in events to making donations. Just this year, I also fostered two pugs with Pug Rescue of Korea and have been helping them with art and other side projects as well! I'm a dog lover in general, but pugs will always have a special place in my heart.
What are your brand values and how do they shape your brand and what you decide to create? How does your identity of being AAPI and LGBTQ+ inspire your brand and business?
I think identity and how you want to represent yourself are big questions that every artist ends up asking themselves. I totally understand why many people choose to separate what they believe in from their work, but I absolutely believe that art is activism and it's not something that I shy away from. If you believe in your convictions, you shouldn't have anything to feel embarrassed or apologetic for, and that's why I often create pins that reflect feminist, pro-BIPOC, pro-queer messages. I've been really fortunate that these are also messages that resonate with many others.
What message do you want to share during Pride Month this year?
Pride and representation in general isn't about putting any one group of people above anyone else. It's saying, "Hey, the world can be a shitty place and oftentimes you can be treated badly just because of who you are. Let's remember to celebrate the good things." There have been over 500 pieces of legislation this year that have targeted trans people and the queer community in general and it's not ok that certain political groups are yet again trying to attack basic human rights. Pride is a reminder that equality will always be an ongoing fight, but
that it's also great to celebrate the changes that have been made.
Any last words or info you want to share about your business, brand
Adopt, don't shop! Ignore people who tell you that you can't have dessert before dinner. Take as many naps as you can.
Well said! A big thanks to Peter for sharing his incredible story and inspiring messages! You can shop Pugnacious Pins on our website and learn more here: