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The Rat Pack coming through the art ranks

WHO: Artists on Show WHAT: ARTrageous 2003 WHERE: Chateau Whistler WHEN: Saturday, July 5 Meet Whistler’s very own "Rat Pack": Dave Petko, Scott Johnston, David Currie, and Chili Thom – four young locals who are on the tips of eve

WHO: Artists on Show

WHAT: ARTrageous 2003

WHERE: Chateau Whistler

WHEN: Saturday, July 5

Meet Whistler’s very own "Rat Pack": Dave Petko, Scott Johnston, David Currie, and Chili Thom – four young locals who are on the tips of everyone’s tongue in Sea to Sky art circles. They may not be doing the rounds of Vegas casino lounges like cocky Frank Sinatra’s and Dean Martin’s, but they are the fresh blood rising through the ranks of the local art scene to an appreciative audience of all ages.

Word has it these guys are destined for big things thanks to their youth, their confidence and their natural gifts with a paintbrush.

Whether it’s on canvas, on nightclub walls, at parties or even on skateboard decks, wherever they choose to work, they are certainly making the right moves.

And Petko, Johnston, Currie and Thom are starting to garner worldwide acclaim for their unusual, bold and daring collections. At home, they have everyone wondering just how far they’ll go.

"This young crop of artists is really exciting," said Whistler Arts Council executive director, Doti Niedermayer.

"Whistler has always attracted creative people but it’s rare we tap into a group so young and yet so eager and talented. I believe all four of these guys have the ability to go all the way if they make art their career choice. They are all doing things we’ve never seen before. It’s fresh and exciting."

Petko is perhaps the most buzzed about name in the group. His abstract paintings and colourful skate decks demand a second look. You may have seen his stuff on the walls of the Amsterdam Café recently and he’s definitely one to watch. "Dave doesn’t follow the rules. His work is so different and so vibrant," said Niedermayer.

Johnston is making jaws drop with his myriad of colour and lines in acrylic and oil. "Scott’s work is intelligent and unusual. He often puts comments about the world today or the environment in his work which really makes you think," said Niedermayer. His work is housed in several Japanese galleries, including the Niigata Kaede Gallery, Eya Gallery, and Immigrants Gallery Tokyo. His latest project is Amoeba, his design company, where he paints on canvas, skateboard decks and mugs.

David Currie is a local Whistler artist whose paintings mix West Coast

landscapes with Pacific themes. His paintings are full of colour and are

painted in a mosaic style that will brighten any room. "David is setting new trends when it comes to painting landscapes. Very unusual and eye-catching work," said Niedermayer.

Chili Thom moved to Whistler in 1995 and took up painting in 1998. In five years, he’s managed to sell and shift his pieces into homes all over the world and has an art installment and decorations business with his wife. His Fantasia-inspired landscapes of B.C. stem from a deep passion for the mountains. "Chili takes familiar images and turns them upside down. You can’t stop staring at his takes on mountains and forests. They are captivating," said Niedermayer.

You don’t have to move in art circles to appreciate the works of these young artists and many others at ARTrageous this Saturday night, July 5.

All four of the freshly dubbed Rat Pack will be displaying their works along with many other impressive artists and performers. DJ’s Chili Thom and Digglesworth will be spinning party anthems, Rumba Calzada will get you moving your hips and the Tragically Hick will get you heel and toeing. Flamenco guitarist Juan de Marias will be weaving his way through the crowds.

Look out for the hilarious ramblings of the "Art Professor," poking fun at art academics with his snobby critiques. Michele Bush will be administering quickie weddings with Elvis and Sandy Northrup will be juggling.

If that’s not enough to get you off the couch, here’s a peek at some of the other artists on display at ARTrageous.

Norma Jean Bone is presenting her black and white graphite images of multicultural people. Her life-like portraits netted her the People’s Choice Award at the Burnaby Arts Council Art Show in 2000.

Ruth Buzzard is displaying photographs of colourful rock formations. The veteran photographer loves capturing the desert arches, canyons, Zion, and the red cliffs against the blue sky of Utah.

Jeannine Bradshaw will unveil a distinct jewelry collection from her Bella Meka Boutique in Squamish. Bradshaw combines diverse materials with original combinations of semi-precious stones, pearls, and sterling silver.

Dean Cote will display his best photographs. An artist inspired by nature, Cote tries to build an emotional and spiritual component into each image. His latest project is working on a book featuring fine art prints and a collection his writings.

Julia Dahl will show her landscape photography.

Robin Dutcher, the owner of Black Ohm Tattoos will feature her work in tattoos, acrylics, pencil illustrations, and charcoal works.

Anette Effe will display her unique works in mixed media.

Kirk Farrell, works in pen and ink drawings, oil paintings, tattoos and

Graffiti, and likes "fast times, originality and a brand new style".

Jon Faulkner’s action and wilderness photography features everything from sunsets to sports. He’s also one of the founders of the Viseye Gallery in BBK’s Pub.

Monica Geniele. With her work in oil on canvas, it’s obvious this Montreal native is inspired by nature, movement, and spirituality. Her artwork combines a variety of textures and earthen collage materials that capture the magic and essence of her surroundings.

Arne Gutmann is experienced in all aspects and formats of photography. Arne particularly enjoys people, action, and nature. His work is published

worldwide and he has participated in both solo and group shows.

April Hylton’s handmade jewelry is made with various metals, beads and semi-precious stones. All pieces are unique and her skills are self-taught. She is a bartender by trade, yet her passion is to be creative.

Sharon Jensen’s realistic paintings reflect the beauty of the Whistler landscape, from the majestic mountains to the smallest alpine flowers. By

taking her paint box on vacation she was also able to capture scenes from the

Gulf Islands and other B.C. environs.

Tess Klein works with crocheted jewelry, sterling silver and semi precious stones or freshwater pearls. She has been featured in InStyle magazine, the TV show Friends, and the Chris Isaak Show.

Jean Lee’s abstract paintings have been popular around town with exhibits at MY Place, and a current show at ArtJunction @ Function.

Amanda Lye works at Lotus Art Supplies and has participated in the Whistler Farmer's Market for the past three years. Her work features acrylic paintings and photographing the trees in Whistler.

Real Paquette paints in oil, acrylic, water colour, textile ink, and basically any medium he can get his hands on. Real has sold and displayed work in Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa, but at heart he is a Stanley Park artist.

Heather and Rich Prohaska create metal frames with mirrors, framed colour

and black & white photography, and candle holders. Rich’s unusual combination of photography and metal work was shown in Bizarre Bazaar in past years. Heather is also a well-traveled photographer and climber.

Rob Miller combines collage and print-based work and is currently living in Pemberton.

Helga Ruiterman’s African collection is loved and admired by many, yet her work is versatile ranging from people to mountains to flowers in acrylic and oil.

Mike Tyler has been a local artist for 18 years, and produces soapstone

carvings. He focuses on unique finishes with high detail, blended with

twisting and flowing images in both soapstone and bronze.

Toya Harris is a self-taught urban Aboriginal artist from Mt. Currie. Her colourful designs mix the traditional with the modern.

Gabrielle Williams has been doing basketry, beadwork, carvings and inner

cedar bark weavings for most of her life.

Tickets to ARTrageous are just $18 and are available at the door of the Frontenac Ballroom or in advance from the MY Place box office, 604-935-8419.