A mural by a late Whistler artist has apparently been vandalized, sparking outrage among residents.
Years ago, local painter, filmmaker and environmentalist Chili Thom was tapped to create a public mural with fellow artist Stan Matwychuk on a Lorimer Road underpass near the village skate park.
Recently, Whistler DJ Ace Mackay-Smith learned that the piece was spray-painted over with a pair of tags written in gold-coloured lettering. She then took to the popular Whistler Summer 2017 Facebook page to express her frustration that someone would tarnish the work of one of the community’s most beloved figures.
“If you are unfamiliar with the history, just (G)oogle the artist Chili Thom to understand how big a role he played in making this place what it is,” she wrote, addressing the tagger directly. “And when you mess with an artist's artwork and he is no longer on this planet to fix it, you are really turning yourself into a serious douche.”
Cpl. Diane Blain with the Whistler RCMP said officers would follow up on the incident and work to determine if the tags can be linked to a recent spate of graffiti that hit the resort.
On July 12, police released a photo of a male and female suspect believed to be associated with the tag “Molotov” that had been spotted in the village and Creekside areas. That followed a late-June report of an individual who was seen tagging signs with black spray paint in Creekside.
Thom was a longstanding fixture of Whistler’s arts community, both as an active painter and filmmaker and through his involvement with Arts Whistler and other cultural organizations. He died in November 2016 after a long battle with cancer, and was immortalized in a retrospective at the Audain Art Museum that concluded in June.
Anyone with information on the tags is asked to contact the detachment at 604-932-3044 or Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
RCMP reminds public to secure bikes after several reported thefts
Police are urging the public to properly lock up their bikes after the local detachment received “a number of bike theft complaints” in the past week.
“Some of these bikes, of great value, were left either insecure and/or poorly secured,” said Blain in a release. “The Whistler RCMP wants to remind everyone to properly secure their bikes, keep a photo of the bike handy and record the serial number.”
A lock failed to prevent the theft of an expensive bike from the village on July 27. Shortly after midnight, police said the red and black men’s Giant Glory model bike, valued at $7,000, was taken from Skier’s Plaza after an unknown male used bolt cutters to break through the lock.
The male suspect was captured on security cameras and described as 5-10 in height (178 cm), with a slim build, wearing a blue hat and black shorts.
Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact the Whistler RCMP or Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers.