Kris “KUPS” Kupskay was painting an image of Johnny Cash in the Whistler Skatepark when he got a call from an HP representative.
The news: he had won the company’s Bend the Rules competition — along with $25,000.
“I screamed on the phone,” Kupskay said. “It was the longest, ‘Whaaaaaat?!’ (The representative) was like, ‘Be quiet! Don’t tell your neighbours!’”
Kupskay had to keep his big win under wraps until the company flew him to Toronto for a series of events in late October. He toured schools to deliver one-hour talks on his work for Anti-Bullying Week, painted a community centre, shot a commercial and spoke to a huge crowd of HP employees from around the world.
“I rolled up there, the only one wearing toque, cracking jokes,” he said, recalling his talk for the employees. “I said, ‘This must be the art-business gap that everyone keeps talking about.’”
Back in Whistler with his cheque en route, Kupskay said a whole host of people and companies at home that he’s developed relationships with over the years helped him win the contest “by a landslide.”
That Johnny Cash painting, in fact, was a “thank you” to Dope Industries for their help encouraging people to vote for him in the contest.
Other community players that rallied behind him: Whistler Blackcomb helped share his social media posts soliciting votes with its huge group of followers, Lululemon let him talk to its yoga classes during Yoga Day, Sandbox gave away a helmet in a contest to draw more voters, Arc’teryx and Skullcandy helped encourage voting. The Circle also added him to their roster under the “lifestyle” tag. On an individual level, friends also helped him solicit votes while local Will Westwood edited videos that he posted as part of his quest to beat out the other two finalists.
He’s not entirely sure yet how he’ll spend the money. “I’ll get to be a little more choosy with projects,” he said. “I’m still looking to paint more — bigger pieces, long pieces… I want to keep evolving as an artist.”
Beyond Boarding hosts event
Beyond Boarding, an environmental organization founded by David Suzuki’s grandson Tamo Campos and Desiree Wallace, is hosting an event on Dec. 15 in support of the Klabona Keepers.
It will feature talks and a short film about the Klabona Keepers — a group of Tl’abanotin elders and families who are tasked with ensuring the long-term stewardship of The Sacred Headwaters. In the last decade they have been working to protect their land from gas fracking, mining development and hunting issues.
The event will also feature Will Ross, winner of the Whistler Music Search, performing. There will be a silent auction, a cash bar and Guitar Doug will DJ.
It will take place from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. Admission is by donation. For more information search Save the Sacred Headwaters Whistler on Facebook.
Christmas Children’s Fair and Artisan Market launches 14th year
The Whistler Waldorf School is hosting the 14th annual Christmas Children’s Fair and Artisan Market on Dec. 13. Running from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the school and fieldhouse in Spruce Grove Park, it will include student and adult vendors selling homemade crafts and gifts as well as a holiday bake sale.