Ottawa artist Claudia Gutierrez says she had no words when she discovered the 50 hours of work she put into painting a mural had been damaged by graffiti.

“I don’t know what to say – just really sad,” she wrote when posting a picture of the vandalism online.

The painting was on the side of a building at Somerset and Booth. It featured bright colours and big flowers.  Area residents said it brought joy to Ottawa’s Chinatown neighbourhood. The graffiti, however, brought an onset of expletives in Gutierrez’s defence.

“I was infuriated at first and then I was just really saddened by what happened,” said Gutierrez.

 Many took to vent their anger over social media – cursing the person behind the act of vandalism.

“I’m just wondering who doesn’t want the city to be a beautiful city to live in? Who would damage something that is going to help everybody enjoy the neighbourhood?” said Grace Xin of the Chinatown Business Improvement Area.

Xin said the murals are part of a beautification project called “Chinatown Blossoms.”  There are plans to have murals on different walls and windows along a five block stretch of Somerset Street.

Xin said this act of vandalism is pushing her to get cameras installed along the street. She said it is something she has wanted to do for a while to protect merchants in the area from things like robberies as well.

Police are investigating.