Bullet-riddled painting of Justin Bieber missing after TIFF debut | Toronto Star

 thestar.com  9/16/2017 8:06:39 PM 

“Green, shot up portrait of Justin Bieber” went missing from a TIFF exhibit last weekend.
“Green, shot up portrait of Justin Bieber” went missing from a TIFF exhibit last weekend.  (Viktor Mitic)  

The 30 by 40 inch painting went missing last weekend from an exhibit at the Campbell House Museum at Queen St. W. and University Ave.
The 30 by 40 inch painting went missing last weekend from an exhibit at the Campbell House Museum at Queen St. W. and University Ave.  (Viktor Mitic photo)  

A bullet-riddled painting of Justin Bieber has gone missing, and perhaps stolen, after making its debut at a Toronto International Film Festival event last week.

Viktor Mitic, known for shooting a gun at his paintings, said he was notified early last week that his artwork, appraised at $18,000, is missing from the Campbell House Museum at Queen St. W. and University Ave.

“I got the email and I was like, ‘What the . . . ? Was it stolen by Bieber fans or something?’ I almost thought it was a joke,” the Toronto artist said.

He said he had about 10 pieces in the week-long TIFF exhibit and that he was told on Tuesday that “Green, shot up portrait of Justin Bieber” was missing as there was initial confusion about who moved it.

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Mitic said he’s been in touch with Campbell House, as well as the co-producers of the event, Aujla Inc. and Mongrel Media, whom he said have been “very helpful.” But as of Saturday, his painting hasn’t been found.

Mitic said he’s “more interested than upset” his artwork disappeared since the event had hundreds of attendees monitored by security. He’s also curious as to how no one noticed it went missing because of the size of the painting, which is 30 by 40 inches.

“I think this is just weird. It’s not the biggest painting but it is quite big, so this person is like a Houdini to have taken it and not been caught,” he said.

Raji Aujla, artistic director of Aujla Inc., and who got Mitic in touch with Campbell House, told the Star that a police report was filed Friday.

“We take so many precautions to secure the site,” she said. “So for this to happen is startling and we are really working on getting to the bottom of what happened.”

Toronto police Const. Caroline de Kloet confirmed that police were notified Friday and that they’re still trying to gather more information.

Aujla believes the painting was moved either on Sept. 9 or 10. She said she was told by a security company representative that a guard at the event spotted someone with a painting at the intersection of Queen St. W. and University Ave. and they were questioned but let go.

Aujla said it’s still not clear who the person was, or if it was Mitic’s painting.

“This whole situation is just very confusing and we’re all so startled by it. But police said they’re currently trying to access the security cameras so we can find out more.”

This is the first time Mitic’s Bieber painting has been in an exhibit. He created it in 2011 when he thought Bieber was a rising star and was “all over the place.”

“At that time it was like either people loved him or hated him — almost like they wanted to shoot him down.”

Mitic, 47, decided now was the time to show the piece to the public because he thinks Bieber has become a major celebrity and an icon.

He has been shooting bullets into his paintings since 2007 because he was interested in how people view weapons, and the divided reaction to it being incorporated into artwork.

Mitic said this is the first time a painting of his has gone missing.

“I’m upset it is gone but these things happen, things go missing and get stolen. I’ve had bikes of mine stolen about 10 times before. These things just happen.”

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