Anyone who has ever been to Esquimalt Lagoon will be familiar with the numerous pieces of driftwood art that have made the ocean view a destination worth visiting.
Several artists contribute to the works people go there with their family and friends to enjoy, and one of those artists is Paul Lewis.
His specialty is in creating realistic driftwood representations of local birds which are native to the area, but sadly not all who traverse the lagoon’s shoreline are there to enjoy the view. Some people have more nefarious intentions.
On Tuesday, March 21st, Lewis posted on Facebook that he had added six new creations to the lagoon and only days later, he went to check on them and two were either stolen or damaged by vandals.
“I went back down to try and fix one sculpture that someone tried to steal,” Lewis told Victoria Buzz. “I put that back in place but unfortunately someone stole the little woodpecker.”
“I knew it was going to happen though. People ask,’aren’t you afraid one of these is going to get stolen?’ and I always guarantee they’re going to get stolen this week and sure enough they did,” he laughed.
But Lewis won’t let the stolen pieces from the past deter him from making more, displaying them and getting better at his craft because of it. He says he always tries to make the most of a bad situation.
“I’ll just make another one and it’s always better, every time they get better,” Lewis said.
His woodpecker, which was the latest piece stolen, was stolen in a similar way to other pieces he’s created. The driftwood sculpture was fixed to a log from pins in its legs that were ripped out.
Lewis remarked that it doesn’t do anyone any good when one is stolen. It’s not like it’s usable to anyone anymore, according to the artist.
The incident was not reported by Lewis to the police because he said it’s pointless without any leads, and there is nothing they can do.
“Unless someone sees somebody, and I have names and photographs, there’s nothing they can do.”
Other works of Lewis’ can be seen along the Garry Oak trail that at the Juan De Fuca Recreation Centre where he has 13 “whimsical bird sculptures,” he has a Sasquatch at a grocery store in East Sooke and he has an incomplete project he is testing in the wind now — a memorial to his son who passed away.
“My son passed away in March of last year so I did a big memorial piece for him and there’s a big eagle nest with a baby eagle representing him and his ashes are in the eagle,” explained Lewis.
He is working on an eagle to add to the nest for every member of his family including himself, a mother eagle and a brother eagle.
Overall, Lewis is annoyed by the latest theft, but he is determined to improve his craft because of it.