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‘Tunnelvision’ artist wants to know who trashed his famous Columbia mural

Someone vandalized the iconic “Tunnelvision” mural on the former Ag First building at 1401 Hampton St. in Columbia, and artist Blue Sky wants to know who it is.

Blue Sky, arguably Columbia’s most famous artist, painted the mural on what is now The Land Bank Apartments in 1974 and 1975. It features a tunnel leading to a bright glowing sun.

“It was kind of a spiritual thing,” Blue Sky said. “A light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Tunnel Vision mural by Columbia artist Blue Sky. (BrettFlashnick/Special to The State) Brett Flashnick

But that light is now extinguished.

Someone pried up the bottom of the circular housing for the neon sun and ripped out the wires, Blue Sky said. Now he is offering $500 for information leading to the culprit’s arrest.

“I want to put criminal charges on them,” he said. “I want to get ‘em. I want to nail them. If they will do that, they’ll do anything.

“Maybe someone in the hospital across the street was looking out the window,” he said, referring to Palmetto Health Baptist across Taylor Street.

The mural faces Taylor Street and is near another of Blue Sky’s works — “Busted Plug” — which is billed as the world’s largest fire plug.

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The Busted Plug sculpture, where it sat on Taylor Street before the property was sold for development and the 40-foot fire hydrant was donated to the city of Columbia. In the back is “Tunnelvision,” the mural on the Agfirst building also created by the Busted Plug artist, Blue Sky. THE STATE File photograph

This isn’t the first time the sun has been damaged on the mural.

Shortly after it was finished, someone threw a rock through the plastic cover. So he replaced it with bulletproof acrylic.

The question is why would someone do it?

“Who would go to that much trouble?” Blue Sky said. “They would have to have a ladder to get up there.”

Anyone with information is asked to send the artist a Facebook message on his Facebook page “Blue Sky.” His gallery is also located in The Arcade Mall on Main Street.

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