A dude with a knack for getting himself noticed has been identified as the creator of the “Dude Chilling Park” sign in Vancouver.
Graffiti artist Viktor Briestensky, 25, said Friday he placed the sign because that’s how his buddies referred to the public space officially known as Guelph Park.
“I’m a dude,” he said. “I had no intentions of catching so much attention.”
The story has attracted hundreds of people online expressing support for permanently changing the name of the park, located one block north of the Kingsgate Mall in East Vancouver.
Dustin Bromley started the online petition.
“It is mostly occupied by empty bottles of mouthwash,” wrote Bromley.
“We all witnessed how much attention the park gained from just one day of social media posts. Imagine how Dude Chilling Park will become a destination, a place to meet with friends,” Bromley said.
Briestensky said he was surprised by the attention his creation has attracted.
“It seems people are quite happy with the name. It’s just great,” he said.
The idea came from a wooden sculpture in the park known as the Reclining Figure, an abstract representation of a guy relaxing by Michael Dennis.
Briestensky wanted to give it a catchy title that young people could relate to.
“I was trying to create a funny conversation between young people who might appreciate the sculpture and the older generation,” he said.
“I don’t see it as a crime [vandalism]. It’s more of a joke,” he said. “There’s nothing permanent about it. It can be pulled out.”
It is not the first time Briestensky’s artwork has been noticed in Canada.
Four years ago his repeated street stencils on private property in Vancouver attracted so much negative attention that a Canada-wide search warrant was issued for his arrest.
He was picked up in Saskatoon and charged with mischief.
“I spent a short amount of time in jail,” he said.
Briestensky, who is a graduate of Emily Carr University, said he has abandoned graffiti for more socially acceptable art forms.
“It’s the reason I turned to fine art,” he said.
The sign was taken down by Parks Board staff early on Friday morning before the park opened.
Briestensky, who believes his work has already been chucked in the garbage, has left town.
His website is at viktorb.com.