Dick Frizzell

b. 1943

Also known as:

  • Richard John Frizzell

Dick Frizzell was born in Auckland and studied at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, graduating in 1963. Working initially in advertising, it was through this experience that many of Frizzell's signature art practices developed.

Eclectic in his methods and selection of imagery, Frizzell's work is comparable to Pop Artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Paul Hartigan and Andy Warhol. Some of his best-known works use the 'Four Square Man', an advertising character for the Four Square grocery chain, as the basis for slippages of cultural reference. In a similar vein the lithographic work 'Mickey to Tiki, Tu Meke' uses a cartoon 'Mickey Mouse' changing in stages to a 'tiki.' As a consequence of this work Frizzell has become an example in discussions of the misuse of symbols particularly from indigenous art.

"Frizzell’s work portrays a sense of exuberance, ironic humour and baby-boomer nostalgia. An anti-traditionalist, Frizzell often makes a deliberate effort to mix up the categories of high and low art, poking fun at the intellectualisation of ‘high art’ and existential angst of much New Zealand painting in the art culture of his youth."

~ quoted from Parnell Gallery.

See also:

Dick Frizzell, ‘Workers of Construction Site’ (1982), University of Auckland, City Campus, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Images: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021