News

Royal Oak-area murals defaced

The Todd Polich mural entitled Connected Oceans, on Beresford Street by Royal Oak, was hit by graffiti vandals May 11, along with another of his works in the area. He hopes the community outpouring of support can translate into help cleaning the damage in coming days. - Todd Polich/Contributed
The Todd Polich mural entitled Connected Oceans, on Beresford Street by Royal Oak, was hit by graffiti vandals May 11, along with another of his works in the area. He hopes the community outpouring of support can translate into help cleaning the damage in coming days.
— image credit: Todd Polich/Contributed

Local artist Todd Polich knew something was up when he got a barrage of phone calls, text messages and email last Monday.

It appears the night before, on May 11, two of his murals in South Burnaby were tagged by graffiti vandals. With his phone number on one of the works, Polich was quickly being notified by the community.

"A lot of people were quite upset about it," Polich said.

"Connected Oceans" depicts humpback whales and is located on Beresford Street by Royal Oak Avenue.

"There was a fair amount of spray can damage on a couple of major parts of the mural," he said. "Unfortunately, they actually painted over a part that community youth worked on with me."

The work was also tagged by vandals shortly after it was finished last year. Fortunately, Polich puts a protective anti-graffiti coating on all his murals which made it easier to clean off.

It's "laborious and time consuming," he said, but he's hopeful he'll manage to clean the damage off again this time around.

Another mural, titled "Spirit Circle," was also hit. Completed in 2008, it depicts a salmon, bald eagle and Kermode spirit bear and is also located near Royal Oak within view of passing SkyTrain cars.

Polich believes the vandals don't realize that the murals are more than just works of art. Rather, they contain positive messages of people working together to protect the environment.

"I have a feeling the people who defaced it are considering it to be just art and not realizing it's actually a project … to try and make the world a better place by not only improving the aesthetics of a community but engaging young people and also trying to protect the environment."

Most "graffiti artists" he's met have complimented him and shown respect for his work, he said. Out of his 35 murals, there's only been a few instances when they've been vandalized. That leaves Polich concluding the tagging is just "one or two people who do something catastrophic and make a lot of noise but the majority of people are respectful."

In light of the outpouring of support, Polich said he hopes to call on the community to help with a clean-up of the murals in the next week or so. Anyone interested in helping can email todd@toddpolich.com.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

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