Dick Frizzell

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Dick Frizzell, MNZM (born Richard John Frizzell, 1943) is a New Zealand artist based in Hawke's Bay.

Frizzell's work is best described as pop (Wharwick Brown) in its appropriation of kitsch kiwiana icons and incorporation of them into his often cartoon-like paintings and lithographs. He does not stay within one particular style, and often adopts unfashionable painting styles. Thus, he can be compared to artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Paul Hartigan, Ian Scott, and Andy Warhol. Frizzell's best-known work uses as its base the "Four Square man", an advertising character for the Four Square grocery chain.

Frizzell is also responsible for the lithograph 'Mickey to Tiki'. This has now become a best selling print in New Zealand. It portrays a cartoon 'Mickey Mouse' changing in stages to a 'Tiki.' This image is used on a popular tee-shirt, released by the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Frizzell trained at the Ilam School of Fine Arts of the University of Canterbury from 1960 to 1963, studying under artists such as Rudi Gopas and Russell Clark. After this he worked in advertising for many years, and it is through this that he gained his appreciation for the advertising characters he uses in his work.

The major retrospective Dick Frizzell: Portrait of a Serious Artiste of 1997 attracted some controversy, somewhat due to the inclusion of Grocer with Moko (1992). This contentious work depicted the Four Square man with facial moko, which offended some viewers.

Frizzell has contributed designs to Esther Diamond linen company, has released several varieties of "Frizzell Wines," and designed the cover and several illustrations for The Great New Zealand Songbook (2009).

Frizzell wrote Dick Frizzell: The Painter (Random House NZ, 2009), with a foreword by art writer Hamish Keith. In 2012, he completed a series of paintings of poems by Sam Hunt. At the opening of the exhibition of those paintings on 7 February 2012, Frizzell said that he and Hunt had, in their respective paintings and poems, committed the ultimate "sin", the "sin of being understood".[1] [2]

To this day, Frizzell continues to be represented by Gow Langsford Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, which offers editions and multiples as well as several paintings by the artist as part of their catalogue.

Frizzell is a brother of politician Steve Chadwick.


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