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Dick Frizzell | The Painter


Don't you just love getting presents? It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I was lucky enough to get a new camera from my boys. I absolutely love books, so I was thrilled to get two from them and another from my sister - all gorgeous additions to the coffee table!

On the weekend I had a rare opportunity to sit outside in the sun and read one of them, Dick Frizzell - The Painter, with foreword by Hamish Keith. One of my favourite New Zealand artists, this book has been on my wishlist for some time, so I thought I'd use my new camera to take some pics and share it with you.   

First published by Random House New Zealand in 2009, this updated edition was published in 2012 with the addition of Dick's new work. The book, by one of New Zealand's best known and loved contemporary artists, is primarily an autobiography in art, telling the story of Dick's life and work through a series of images, reproductions, sketches and words. Not only is he an amazing artist, he writes really well, and even better with humour, making it a book that is definitely hard to put down.

If you're not familiar with his work, but love popular culture, this book is definitely for you. Likewise, if you are interested in art in general, in particular artistic practise, then this is a great read. When Dick completed his art studies he earned a living working for ad agencies, animation companies and producing book illustrations, before finding his way to becoming the artist that he is today.

These early works by Dick Frizzell (produced in 1977) were inspired by a humble tin of mackerel. 

A move from Auckland to the Hawke's Bay (on the East Coast of the North Island) was the catalyst in Dick producing the 'Signs' artwork. It amazes me how he has turned such a simple idea into such a compelling series of art. I especially love the one on the left 'Two Signs', 2007.

The move also brought about a collaboration with Sandi Reefman, providing designs for her range of cushions and tea towels, under the brand Esther Diamond. The cushions have become iconic in NZ. I have some at home, mostly with Dick's designs, including the hugely popular 'Tiki' design shown above. Other collaborations include working with Sandi's partner and fellow Hawke's Bay artist Martin Poppelwell, on a range of ceramics, and with local winemaker Rod McDonald, to produce Frizzell Wines. 

I love this collection of photos showing the stunning home Dick shares with wife Jude, his studio and the beautiful area of Hawke's Bay. 

Mickey To Tiki,1997 would have to be one of Dick's most well recognised prints. I have it and so do several people I know! Its popularity did not put me off buying it - I absolutely love it. Such a clever, creative work and one that appeals to everyone - my kids also love it - and it looks great in any room of the home.

Another popular print on the left: Big Kiss, 2007. Limited Edition Silk-screen Print. 

A great example of Dick's Kiwiana work, this series features the smiling Four Square Man - a famous logo for the Four Square stores that have been in New Zealand for over 80 years.

I love this colourful set of limited edition silk-screen prints for Sambuca Galliano, commissioned 1996.

These a just a few pages from the book - there is so much more inside. I know that every time I pick it up, I'll discover something new about Dick Frizzell, and like his art, I'll get enjoyment from it for many years to come. 

 All images: Michelle Halford for The Design Chaser 

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  1. I love Dick Frizzell, and it's very sad to see him leave us here in Hawke's Bay to move back to Auckland. I was lucky enough to hear him speak recently, he's an amazing guy.

    Sandi Reefman lives around the corner from me, and I stock a lot of her homewares in my Cush & Nooks online shop. No longer Esther Diamond, she is now Two Black Cats, and we still have some of her designs by Martin Poppelwell. x

    1. Oh dear - your loss .. our gain! He's inspirational, isn't he? I'm surprised he's heading back to Auckland, he seems so settled in Hawke's Bay!

      When I was writing this post I searched for Esther Diamond online - when I bought my cushions I remember the website well - no wonder I could no longer find it! I'll have to check out Two Black Cats ... and your online store! Thanks Vic x



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