Vandals have struck again in Penticton, this time tagging the recently-painted Cowork Penticton mural sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
The mural, which features a red-headed ethereal woman kneeling in the centre of a flower as hummingbirds circle around her, was dubbed ‘Calliope’ by the shared office space business and its tenants, located at 129 Nanaimo Ave W. Now, the mural features yellow spraypainted script senselessly scrawled over the flower and next to the mural itself.
The mural artist, Skyler Punnett, said ‘Calliope’ was meant to represent bringing the Cowork members, and the general community overall, together.
“I was rebranding Cowork (in 2018), getting their imagery and logo and everything together and when they started, they had the idea of a hummingbird as their logo. So I kind of refined that, showing hummingbirds coming to the feeder and Cowork being the community that everyone kind of hovers around and zeros in on,” said Punnett. “So when they were deciding about the mural, we expanded on that idea so the woman represents Cowork and the hummingbirds flocking around her is about coming together.
“It’s kind of the idea of weaving the separate parts together and creating a community.”
Punnett co-owns the design agency Super Deluxe Creative, which creates some of the beer labels for Penticton’s breweries along with its other works.
He said that he has done a number of murals but Cowork’s was the largest he has been commissioned to do so far.
“It took between 40 to 50 hours to design and paint the mural, so I started it in September or October 2018 and I completed it in about April or May of this year,” said Punnett. “So it hasn’t even been there for even a year.”
He said when he agreed to paint the mural, he knew there was a possibility it could be vandalized, but said that kind of goes against the “unwritten moral code” in the street art community.
“Public art is always open to the threat of vandalism. It’s sort of an unwritten rule that any sort of graffiti or street artist doesn’t tag other people’s work, especially if it’s other artists,” said Punnett. “So it doesn’t say much for the people who tagged it. It had been tagged once before during the early stages when I was roughing it in, but that was easy to deal with because it hadn’t been painted yet so I just painted over that.”
Punnett said the fix this time won’t be so easy, since the yellow spraypaint used to graffiti the art goes “right over the most complex part of the mural” which means “all of the different colours will need to be remixed” to paint over it.
Furthermore, Punnett said he likely won’t be able to fix this vandalism until the spring because cold weather makes exterior painting nearly impossible.
Though it is infuriating, he said he is not discouraged and had actually received notification on the same day he learned of the vandalism that he has been approved to paint a mural nearly double the size of Calliope — “so it’s two steps forward and one step back, but it’s still moving forward.”
According to a Facebook post by Cowork Penticton, the city’s bylaw service and the Downtown Penticton Association were extremely helpful in responding to the incident, and alerted Pure Pressure Graffiti Removal who were able to remove the portion of the graffiti that was on the “plain wall.”
“We still plan to keep beautifying our building in the face of mindless vandalism,” states the Facebook post.
Anyone with information about the vandalism of the mural outside of Cowork Penticton is asked to contact the Penticton RCMP Detachment at 250-492-4300.
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