05/15/2014 11:01 EDT | Updated 07/15/2014 05:59 EDT

Vancouver artist James Picard threatened over Holocaust work

East Vancouver artist James Picard is afraid for his safety after getting a string of threatening messages while working on his latest exhibit, titled The Dark and The Wounded.

The latest message, in the form of a threatening note taped to his East Vancouver studio, simply said, "Be careful Picard." A previous note was filled with racist and homophobic expletives, telling him to "F*** off and die."

Picard believes the messages are connected to his work on The Dark and The Wounded, a series of paintings exploring themes such as the Holocaust, aboriginal residential schools, racism and homophobia.

"I'm not completely scared about this, but at the same time it's something to be wary about it because it's exactly what I'm talking about in my exhibit," said Picard.

After receiving the first note in November, Picard reported the threat to the police. He has since hired extra security.

"It's definitely made me look around more and I'm kinda looking over my shoulder, and making sure when I come into the studio I look left and right, because you never know."

Sgt. Randy Fincham says police could treat the notes as harassment.

"Certainly we would look at the total circumstances, if something's ongoing or a person continues to leave distasteful messages for a person, whether it's posting signs on a door or telephone," said Fincham.

Picard says he has no plans to stop work and hopes the person sending the messages sees the real meaning behind his art. 

"Maybe you should get some help .Try not to be so angry. Maybe you should come to one of my shows because it's about healing," he said.