Pedobear, right, in The Gazeta.

A Vancouver artist says he’s “enjoying his 15 minutes of fame” after a Polish newspaper accidentally published a rendering of the Vancouver 2010 mascots that includes a notorious Internet character known as Pedobear.

Michael Barrick combined the official Olympic mascots with Pedobear, an Internet character used for years in unmoderated online forums to shame users who expressed sexual interest in young people.

“When I first saw the Olympic mascots their design was similar to this character with some bad connotations,” Barrick told Metro in an exclusive interview yesterday. “Combining them was an aesthetic critique.”

Barrick created the image of Pedobear with Quatchi, Miga, Sumi and Mukmuk in July 2009.

Last Thursday someone at The Gazeta Olsztynska found it online and used it to illustrate a feature on the Vancouver Olympics.

“I thought it was funny,” Barrick said. “It was a good illustration of the kind of fact checking that goes on at a lot of media now.”

After the feature was posted to a popular Polish website Barrick’s personal blog started seeing a lot more hits.

“The post the day before this happened garnered about 27,000 views in January, which I thought was a lot. In one day alone, Sunday, I got 155,000 views.”

Barrick’s popularity got a shot in the arm when The Telegraph, a major British newspaper, wrote about the Pedobear mixup.

“Everybody gets their 15 minutes. If he was still alive today, Andy Warhol would’ve been proud,” Barrick said.

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