Whistler artist Chili Thom's reigning title as Best Artist caps off a year of wins for the ubiquitous painter.
In 2012, Thom scooped up a "best in show" award at a Federation of Canadian Artists exhibition, won a street banner contest in Squamish with pal Kristen Dillon and recently scored a spot in Whistler Underground's upcoming display.
Still, one accomplishment stands out: his involvement with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation's Art for an Oil-Free Coast project. "I have been doing my best to raise awareness about the hazards of the Enbridge Pipeline proposal and to try to let people know that their opinion and voice does carry weight," Thom says. "It was an honour to be invited on their project as well as being in a film, a book and an art show with such legendary Canadian artists like Robert Bateman and Roy Henry Vickers."
The art book, called Canada's Raincoast At Risk, is filled with mostly original work from around 50 artists depicting different animals, people and landscapes that make up the B.C. coast. For his contribution, Thom offered up "What Lies Beneath" a snapshot of the ocean at sunset with a peak beneath the undulating waves.
As for his Best of Whistler honour: "It lets me know that all my hard work has paid off," Thom says. "I feel like it (shows me) I have not become complacent with my art and that my ever-evolving style still speaks to art lovers."
Second in the category this year was the lovely Vanessa Stark with Andy Fenwick taking third.
This should come as no surprise. The Hairfarmers have been voted Whistler's favourite band for years running and they continued their stronghold on the title in 2012. "Our fans love to have fun," says Doug "Guitar Doug" Craig, one half of the beloved duo. "They are interesting people and we are truly blessed for having such a diverse crowd."
The hardworking pair can be spotted gigging around town regularly, sharing their take on a variety of covers and offering up some of their rockin' originals too. "I'm very proud to be in this band and, mostly, being a part of this amazing place. Whistler is great town."
Coming in second is Whistler's other beloved duo, Ruckus Deluxe, whose guitar and fiddle pairing can frequently be heard at their home base, the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub.
Best arts & culture event
Locals take the Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival's motto to heart.
"Party in April, Sleep in May," the massive 10-day event tells us. Combining winter sports, art and music, this fest is a fav for Pique readers, who voted it their top arts and culture event of 2012. This year, the festival brought us concerts by Dragonette, Cat Empire and The Dudes, along with a killer film competition and action sports photo showdown. Runner-up: inaugural music and yoga festival, Wanderlust.