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Wave hello as Kups unveils new work

Ocean is honoured in show and art sale, with money raised to fund garbage pickup
Ocean aware Artist Kris Kupskay is holding an art auction and exhibition opening at ForLise to raise money for a shoreline cleanup. photo by Mirae Campbell

Whenever word gets out that street artist and muralist Kris Kupskay (a.k.a. Kups) is on a new project, it tends to make a lot of waves.

And he has just made a new wave, literally.

Kups has teamed up with Pemberton sculptor Mike Tyler for a 4.6-metre long, 2.7-metre high wave along a wall in Forlise, the men's clothing store in Whistler Village. You can almost surf it.

"Mike's done a lot of sculptures in town, like the Inukshuk and the bears outside (the Maury Young Arts Centre). He also did the huge daisies at the Pemberton Music Festival and Escape Whistler!," says Kups.

And the pair has previously collaborated on three-dimensional surfaces for Kups to paint.

"Mike is always down to create bigger things. Just an amazing human to work with, too. Really open minded," he says.

In January, they built and painted massive mushrooms and trees for the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation's Alice in Wonderland-themed gala night.

So the wave was a natural step forward, distinctive interior design in a popular retail space.

The wave at Forlise is part of his work as an ambassador for Lululemon, which also owns the store. But Kups wanted more — and now he is collaborating with other artists in order to clean up the oceans.

"They asked me what I wanted to do for them. I thought about it and said, 'I want to raise awareness for the oceans and accumulating pollution! I wanna make this big, huge wave!'" he laughs.

"It started to roll from there. And the wave is great. It's getting people's attention and starting that conversation."

Kups has also joined with Whistler artists Mason Mashon, and Andrea Mueller to set up a multimedia show in Forlise on this subject to correspond with the official unveiling of the wave.

It takes place at the store on Saturday, April 15, at 7 p.m.

"I called seven or eight of my favourite artists and told them that we were raising awareness about the B.C. coastline and the accumulating pollution and plastics. 'Are you down?' I asked them. 'What do you need?' they said," explains Kups.

The artists are contributing ocean-themed original pieces of art to the show; there will also be a presentation of the pieces, and music by Kostaman and Biggins.

"Each artist is going to come out and talk about the piece they made and what they feel about the ocean, and then they will hang the piece," Kups says.

"At the end of it all, we will all be standing in front of the pieces."

The proceeds from the sale of the pieces by silent auction, along with donations from Skullcandy, will go towards a coastline clean-up project at a later date.

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