Hot Chili 

An artist with an unforgettable flavour

Who: Chili Thom

What: Saturated Landscapes

Where: MY Place

When: All month

Meet the Artist: Friday, June 13 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The first thing you’ll notice when you check out Chili Thom’s artwork is the colour, so bold it almost slaps you in the face and makes your eyes water – not unlike a bowl of the Mexican bean-based brew with the same name.

But this Chili is actually short for Chilliwack, another outdoors-mad B.C. town, where the talented Whistler transplant came from seven years ago. Chili Thom became the name thanks to his new Whistler friends, and Chili Thom it stays with an art career that has him sending his work all over the world, into homes throughout the Coast Mountains and now into cyberspace with his own Web site www.chilithom.com.

His collection of 24 pieces on display now at Millennium Place is called Saturated Landscapes. His work displays a unique interpretation of the world around us. It’s moody, magical, at times sci-fi and even three dimensional in appearance – characteristics Thom said come from the way he paints.

"It’s just my style to make everything look rich and layered and unusual. I really like the boldness that comes out with thickly painting acrylics," he said.

The colours are highlighted to evoke a certain mood in the picture, a mood that one might not see when staring at a horizon or a forest with the naked eye.

"I try to capture high energy moments. Windy skies, sunrise and sunset, shadows and clouds or rays of light and streams in rivers. I like to show the life in these landscapes," said Thom.

His fascination with the wilderness began as a small child and has progressed into his late 20s with a career as a wilderness guide and, for the past three years, as a professional artist. He also dabbles in DJing as DJ Mister Fister, decorates venues with the party décor company Shits n Giggles and is the staff photographer for Heavy Hitting Films, a Whistler-based production company.

"All these creative avenues allow me to constantly expose myself to the natural beauty of the outdoors. When I’m not painting, carving, writing or shooting photos, I can almost always be found in the outdoors, guiding others and helping them appreciate the wilderness that has provided me with a lifetime of inspiration," he said.

He labels his painting technique as a "Van Gogh meets modern" style, which works well to express a sense of time and motion within his canvases.

"Van Gogh uses a lot of motion in his brush strokes so up close you can see the depth to his work. That’s what I like to do too."

Meet Chili Thom and his impressive collection of colour at his public reception Friday, June 13 from 5 p.m.

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