Whistler Artist Chili Thom to be Honoured with Audain Show Art
Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor have been slowly developing their art scene for years now. With more and more talented artist’s moving into the mountains for scenic inspiration, Whistler has become a hotbed for creative types of all accord. However, the growth of Whistler’s art scene would never have been this large without the impact of Whistler’s favourite artist, Chili Thom.
Chili Thom first arrived in Whistler 20 years ago as a young man named Michael with an idea of joining the Air Force. Over the two decades that followed Thom found his voice, not only as a multi-talented artist, but as a backcountry guide, a DJ, and an innovative filmmaker — becoming one of the Sea to Sky corridor’s most well known and most celebrated painters.
Voted Whistler’s Favourite Artist every year since 2002, Thom, was best known for his stunning landscapes. He often took inspiration from the mountains and scenery around his home and turned it into paintings that are very real and yet otherworldly, with bright, bold colours, snow-covered trees, and his signature clouds. Thom had a talent at turning Whistler’s already beautiful backyard into a vivid display of colours and intriguing shapes.
Thom’s first job when he moved to Whistler was a busboy at Sushi Village, starting there and then moving up to a waiter. Here he was given the nickname ‘Chili’ and it stuck. The restaurant also went on to play a an important role in his career. It’s here he would first hang his art on the walls and get the opportunity for exposure as an new artist. Thom’s painting began selling about as quickly as he could finish them.
On November 30th, news broke that Thom had passed away at the age of 40 after a battle with cancer, his passing sending ripples through the community. His death comes just days after Arts Whistler announced that his work will be featured at the Audain Art Museum in June 2017. According to Arts Whistler he was part of the planning — alongside his friends and family, as well as Arts Whistler and the museum — that are organizing the event. As a fitting tribute, Chili Thom’s paintings will go on show at the Audain Art Museum next summer in a special exhibition covering his life and career.
Whistler extends its deepest sympathies to Chili’s family, friends and all who were touched by his art and commitment to creativity. Chili was a beloved member of the Whistler community; to lose this funny, warm and fearless man in such an untimely manner is heartbreaking. His energy, creativity and commitment to supporting others will be greatly missed among us all
If you would like to share your memories of Chili Thom, his brother Jeremy is compiling a collection for his daughter. They can be sent to chilithom.com.
Posted by Aava Whistler Hotel on Thursday, December 08, 2016