03/25/2014 11:00 EDT | Updated 05/25/2014 05:59 EDT

Vandals target East Vancouver mural with 'No pipeline' tag

An East Vancouver mural artist says he's becoming very frustrated by vandals who have tagged his work on Commercial Drive three times in recent months.  

The mural of the three swimmers has been on 5th Avenue at Commercial Drive for the better part of the past decade.

Then in January someone spray painted "No Pipelines" over it. The same tag has appeared on many businesses around the neighbourhood in recent month, frustrating many owners.

Artist Milan Basic says the tag on his mural was fixed, but a few weeks later, the graffiti was back,

So rather than fixing the swimmers, he painted a new mural altogether, this one of two figures crying rainbow tears — a nod to the anti-pipeline message.

"The rainbows are the rainbows that you would see on the water if there were to be an oil spill," said Basic.

But that got no respect from the vandals, who tagged the new image with the words "Oil Spill".

"Now I'll be cleaning it three times within a month and a bit. I'm starting to take it personally," says Basic.

He believes the vandal is intentionally targeting his work.

"There's been a trend over the last two three years where graffiti artists target murals because they realize you have to do far fewer tags to get greater impact."

Basic says he is considering camping out at the mural in hopes of catching those responsible.