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Student films led to other projects that established their ongoing partnership.
“We’re putting together a grant proposal now because we want do to a trip to Ice Berg Alley, between Greenland and Baffin Island, this is where 90 per cent of the world’s icebergs float down. We want to do a documentary, do some kayaking, get lots of photos and inspiration and do a 24-piece painting installation with each illustrating a different hour of the day; like the sun rising behind an iceberg. It will be presented in the round like a giant igloo.
“Within the film we want to incorporate an awareness about global warming. Ideally we’d take the art show on the road and come up with a coffee table book featuring my art and Feet’s writing.”
While they wait on to find out if a trip to Ice Berg Alley will be on the agenda, the two men will be shooting the final installment of their horror trilogy this summer.
“It’ll be epic, we’re even going to have aerial shots,” he promises with a laugh.
Eye on the world
Underneath all of Thom’s numerous undertakings beats the heart of a far greater idea.
“One of the big goals for my artwork is that I want to use it to help other people.
“I want to travel around the world and see people who need things like wells, farming equipment… I want to go to these places, create paintings and make prints to sell to help finance these kinds of projects. There’s a lot of opportunity here. Thanks to the Olympics it’s going to be great, the world is going to be watching.”
Chili Thom has given Whistler a lot, and Whistler has given him a lot back, including his name.
“It’s a nickname. Darcy Taylor at Sushi Village came up with it,” says Thom, whose birth name is Michael. “There were a bunch of others guys with the same name so, as the new guy I needed a nickname. Darcy asked me where I was from, I said ‘Chilliwack’ and that got him going, ‘Wacky Thom, Thom Whack, Mike Wacky, Chili Mike… Chili Thom.’ It stuck. Now my parents even call me Chili. It’s good. It’s completely my name now.”
Thom is a rarity, an open and spiritually grounded artist who embraces the challenges of living a life committed to his dreams. A thankful, thoughtful man, he is, as his cell phone message suggests, “out living the dream.”