A beloved Victoria street performer has died at 57, according to friends in the industry.
Clark M. Clark – or as he was better known, ‘Plasterman,’ delighted locals and tourists alike with his stoic, all-white street character, a playful and unshakable figure in Victoria’s Lower Causeway and Inner Harbour for nearly 20 years.
“He gave out so much loving kindness to so many people,” said sitar player Christian Tatonetti. “I spent many, many, many hours next to him, watching people have such powerful reactions to him.”
The living statue went on the road too – Clark regularly appeared at the region’s street markets and festivals, a well-known staple of Victoria’s warm and welcoming tourism industry. But Clark wasn’t always Plasterman. He took on different characters including the all pink statue ‘Floyd,’ the cement statue ‘Dorian,’ the paint-splattered ‘Painter at rest’ and the coffee-hued ‘Mocha Joe.’
|Clark M. Clark, known to most as the street performer ‘Plasterman’ has died. (Facebook/Clark M. Clark)|
But he wasn’t just a great performer, said Claire Bezuidenhout, Victoria’s ‘Copper Cowgirl’ for the last 13 years. He was also a wonderful, kind person who loved the simple things, like coffee, yoga and travel.
“He was just the loveliest person. His statue character was very kind, he always gave people hugs, and that’s exactly who he really was,” she said.
Plasterman was especially good with children, Bezuidenhout added. Although mostly mute while in character, he was able to bring out the warmth and laughter of the people around him.
“It’s kind of a special thing getting people to smile all day and giving them that joy,” she said. “I think everyone knows him. He’s a part of Victoria’s identity … I’m going to miss him so much.”
On his website, Clark explains the history of Plasterman, writing that a joke about a mannequin dressed in all-white being “plastered” led to the creation of his most well-known character. What started with white clothing, child’s costume makeup and a milk crate would evolve over time, until Clark was using fabric paint, corn starch – to reduce sheen of the paint – and a personalized Plasterman standing box.
“The character of Plasterman has taken me to many cities while enabling me to work in one of my favourite place on the planet – the Lower Causeway in the Inner Harbour of Victoria, B.C.” he wrote.
Gord Bestwick, a longtime friend, said Clark had the rare ability to hold onto “silliness.”
“He was never afraid to play,” Bestwick said. “Many people lose their capacity to be silly over the years. He managed to keep his ability to be not only creative, but enjoy life. Not just the finer details but the fine details of life.
“He was, quite simply, present and pleasant. He brought kindness with him. He was never harsh. I think the world is a slightly lesser place now that we’ve lost him.”