New creations from Chili 

Well-known local artist experiments with new techniques and style

click to enlarge Purple Bust One of Chili Thom's new paintings
  • Purple Bust One of Chili Thom's new paintings

What: Art show/sale

When: Friday, Dec. 19, 2 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Where: Creation Station, 3-1006 Lynham Road (Function Junction)

Just stepping into the Creation Station is enough to send you into sensory overload — there’s a dragon on the ceiling, bright, ruffley skirts hanging from every beam and pipe, and vivid canvases attached to any and all imaginable surfaces. Apparently, there also used to be a 10-foot-tall teddy bear in the corner.

This is the warehouse and studio of the local artist, and generally creative soul, known around town as Chili Thom. Chili is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, so to speak: he’s a photographer and filmmaker; his alter ego, Mister Fister, is a talented DJ. But first and foremost, he’s known as a painter, working in (and often covered in) acrylics.

Drawing inspiration from his travels throughout British Columbia all the way to Australia, and right here in our own backyard, Chili’s landscapes are energetic, youthful interpretations of the ever-popular treeline and mountainscape scenes, saturated with rich hues, bold brush strokes, and motion.

But recently, after playing around with some graffiti this summer, Chili began tweaking his on-canvas style a bit.

“I realized that my art, if I simplify it just a little bit more to the graphical side, it’s a really easy translation into graffiti,” he explained.

Before the summer, Chili started working on small canvases, and has been refining the new style, playing around with colour balance and experimenting with new techniques like paint splattering to create a flare effect in his sunsets, even finishing some of the pieces with resin.

“I just wanted to try something different with my style, and this show is basically just a progression of a few of those earlier attempts fused with my original style,” he said.

The end result is more clean and precise, and “less busy” than his past works, which require tons of detailed, little brush strokes.

In fact, you may already have seen some of his newer pieces, which were included at ARTrageous and Pemberton Festival. But just in case, Chili is holding a show of some of his new pieces at the Creation Station on Friday evening, where original canvases, prints and giclees, will be available for purchase just in time for Christmas.

Chili shares his studio space with another talented local artisan, Kelsey Faery, and her tutus, headwear and other garments will also be on sale this Friday. So get out your shopping list to see if there are any art lovers still on it.

And before automatically dismissing artwork as a gift idea, assuming there will be some serious sticker shock in store, Chili points out that he’s been working on a smaller scale, trying to perfect his new technique before investing lots of time and materials on huge canvases. Which means that savvy shoppers and aspiring art collectors may be able to snag a sweet deal.

“A lot of the stuff that I’m working on right now is smaller, so its sort of affordable art,” he said. “Normally, I’d do a giant piece that’s $5,000.”

Within the last year or so, there haven’t been many public art shows at the Creation Station, but Chili is hoping to start holding regular events in the New Year, possibly every two months, at his warehouse/studio.

Chili has also been busy with exciting new projects — creating board graphics for Prior snowboards, Landyachtz Longboards, Sitka surfboards, and T-shirt graphics.

“So this style is totally my style, but it translates a little bit more graphical, so its not just a piece of artwork on the wall,” he said.

Recently, he’s even been asked to design a few tattoos, which is one of the ultimate forms of flattery for the artist.

So far, the new style and techniques have garnered some pretty positive reactions.

“Everyone that comes in is like ‘whoa!’” he said. “It’s neat, because it’s totally me, but it’s fresh.”

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