A piece of Red Deer street art has gone missing and the family of the deceased artist want it returned.
The work by Red Deer artist Bronson Wilson, that features a hip, tattooed young woman sipping a drink, was painted on a side door of the downtown Dose Cafe for the business in August 2013.
“Street art isn’t typically meant to stay somewhere forever. It’s nice if it does. But considering this was also done for the company, and has been there for eight years, it was its intended home,” said his sister Demi Marie Wilson about the artwork that went missing earlier this week.
Bronson, 27, died in May 31, 2014 after a brief battle with a rare form of cancer, and had become more focused on his art during the last few years of his life, creating both street art and canvases.
“He was really on the rise and getting quite a bit of notoriety right before he got sick and passed,” she said about her brother who himself was the subject of a mural painted behind the John Howard Society building on Ross Street in recognition of his talent.
Demi Marie said the Dose cafe painting was special to Bronson.
“He was super proud of that one. It was just an image he was really drawn to. It was something that made him happy.”
The missing art was one of Bronson’s few street pieces left in Red Deer. He would frequently paint on large green garbage bins, but they were often painted over. But one street piece that has survived can be found on a power box across the street from the cafe.
“As a family, and a community, we’re really trying to protect these last few pieces that we have, and they’re beautiful. They fit in nicely. It’s a positive to be part of downtown.”
Demi Marie said response to the theft has been swift and growing on social media.
“It shows you how important these things are to the community and how much they are enjoying them, whether or not they knew Bronson as an artist, or as a person. It’s been really interesting to see how far (the theft) has reached and how important it is to people for many different reasons.”
The theft was reported to police, but Demi Marie had not heard if any progress has been made on recovering the art.
“Whoever does have it, I hope that they have some respect for it and are treating it well in the meantime. I hope that they can appreciate we just want it back to where it was intended to be.”