Wednesday, October 07, 2009


At first glance this handsome jumbo-sized volume appears to be an art book, and indeed it is, but it is more than that, it is also and particularly a fascinating, refreshingly written memoir of the professional life of Dick Frizzell, one of our most admired contemporary artists. As a mutual friend commented to me “ artistically this man can do anything".

And what a great story he has to tell. After going to art school he found himself in his 20’s married and with a young family to support. He worked in advertising until 1974, when his artistic urges made him leave the ad agency to take up working in the vege markets in the early hours of the day so that he could pursue his art.
From those days he takes us through the various stages and styles of his artistic life right up to to contemporary times and his Artist in Residence experience in Antarctica , his “mad move to Hawke’s Bay”, the new house right on the ocean and “The Frizzell Wine Thing”.

Dick Frizzell: The Painter contains all of his major paintings, the story of his life in his own thoughtful and highly articulate words, and an essay by Hamish Keith on Frizzell's work and its place in the New Zealand art world.
It is never difficult to see where his work is coming from, or the larger things it might be about. There’s a robust joy in what he does . . . It’s his confident sense of belonging that makes Dick Frizzell’s work so comforting.’ — Hamish Keith

The book is a piece of art in itself — designed and assembled by Dick himself along with New Zealand artist Fane Flaws.

And I reckon the book may have set some sort of record in NZ art book publishing featuring as it does way more than 600 images, and that is not including the densely populated, attractive end papers.
I reckon too that at $75 this book is an inexpensive way of buying a whole raft of Dick Frizzell images.
The Bookman is enchanted with this book. It is being launched in Auckland tomorrow evening and then in Wellington next Monday.
Dick Frizzell: The Painter
Dick Frizzell

RRP: $75.00

My thanks to the artist and publisher for allowing me to reproduce two images from the book. Above left a 2001 Limited Edition Silk-screen print, and below right Te Mata Peak, Oil on Linen, 2000.

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