A few weeks ago I went on a cruise with my family to New Zealand. Whilst we were there we booked a day to visit the Pohutu Geyser geothermal hot springs in Whakarewarewa (near Rotorua). The experience was particular captivating and the guide called ‘Flash’ was a real character. As well as imparting a lot of useful information about the area he also took us to (what he called) his special place. This turned out to be an industrial estate in Tauranga displaying huge wall paintings by local artist Owen Dippie.
As an artist I love visiting galleries and being exposed to several different styles of painting. Over the last few years Banksy has brought Graffiti art to the masses. Maybe because the satirical messages of the graphic images resonate with a lot of people. In contrast Owen Dippie’s hyperrealist murals pay homage to the old masters.
Interestingly Owen Dippie is mostly self-taught and only started using spray cans a few years ago. He has publicly stated that this medium is more enjoyable than conventional paints. Within a relatively short space of time he has achieved recognition in New Zealand and in the United States. Recent subjects have included Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Johnny Cash and Princess Diana to name but just a few. There are also faithful copies of work by Michelangelo, Johannes Vermeer and Vladimir Tretchikoff iconic Chinese Girl (AKA the Green Lady).
Owen Dippie has an extraordinary talent and is keen to change the perception of the spray can. Graffiti art has been given a bad rap in the past and has been widely seen by many as just an act of vandalism. Ultimately his works are designed to transform urban areas and he is keen to inspire young artists to change their environments. In my opinion the level of sophistication and beauty found in Owen Dippie’s formidable paintings is a rare commodity.
For more information about Owen Dippie visit his website: http://www.owendippie.com