Dick Frizzell (b.1943) has often slipped through the nets of traditional critical and curatorial definition and the success of his artistic career is, in part, due to the number of dramatic diversions he has made between different art styles and genres. Before moving into visual arts Frizzell worked in advertising. He has worked as an animator, commercial artist and illustrator and has no qualms about blurring the categories between his commercial work and art. His paintings are often a pastiche of images drawing on modern art and graphic design.
His work has always been characterised by a highly skilled handling of paint and an endlessly inventive range of subject matter and styles: faux-naive New Zealand landscapes, figurative still-life, comic book characters and witty parodies of modernist abstraction. His taste is conveniently broad and he has a penchant for fondly remembered and well-worn clichés. His work also 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 the existential angst of much New Zealand painting in the art culture of his youth.
Although primarily a painter, Frizzell also produces an extensive range of works on paper including lithographs and screen prints.