Edmonton

4 paintings stolen from Edmonton artist after exhibit

An Edmonton artist is still reeling from the brazen theft of his original paintings during the final hours of an event held at the Edmonton Expo Centre last weekend.

Original work valued at $14,000 missing after event at Expo Centre

One of Grady Wallace's stolen paintings was found abandoned outside of Edmonton's Expo Centre the following day. (John Shypitka/ CBC)

An Edmonton artist is still reeling after four of his original paintings were stolen during the final hours of an event held at the Expo Centre last weekend. 

Grady Wallace was displaying his art at the Home and Garden Show, from March 21 to 24.

Five of his paintings went missing at the very end of the event, when the exhibitors were packing up, though one has since been recovered.

"We think there was a piece stolen when pack up happened," said Wallace. "There was potentially more stolen later on in the night."

One of the paintings stolen from Grady Wallace features an elk. (Grady Wallace)
 
This painting went missing at the end of the Home and Garden Show, held from March 21 to 24 in Edmonton. (Grady Wallace)
This piece by Grady Wallace also went missing at the tail end of the Home and Garden Show. (Grady Wallace)

Wallace said the theft was even more shocking, because only vendors were left in the venue. 

"Probably a lot of people assumed that it was me carrying out my own artwork," he said.

One of the pieces was recovered the next day, abandoned outside of the Expo Centre, said Wallace, but four are still missing. 

"We're assuming it's because they couldn't fit it in the vehicle." 

It's the first time that an exhibitor has been the victim of theft in the 51 years of the Edmonton Home and Garden Show, said Marketplace Events, the company that manages the event.

"We are extremely disappointed and disheartened by the event that took place," wrote show manager Kristy Cairns, in an emailed statement Thursday.

The company is working with the police and the Expo Centre to try to locate Wallace's work, she said.

The total value of the missing paintings is about $14,000, Wallace said and represent hours of work. 

"I just feel like someone took away all my tools and source of income," he said. "It takes a lot of time to produce these pieces and for someone to take that away from me, it's a bummer."  

Wallace creates each piece using spray paint and layers of hand-crafted stencils based on his own photography.

His work is usually exhibited in Edmonton's Udell Xhibition gallery. 

Edmonton police confirmed the incident is under investigation.

Wallace said the recovered painting didn't yield any fingerprints. 

The only camera in the venue didn't capture the scene, he added. 

"That's just my luck."

Wallace is still hopeful that his work will be returned or recovered, but also realizes the chances of that happening are slim. 

"If I can get the pieces back, that'd be amazing," he said. "If not, I'm just going to keep moving forward."

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