Celebrating art on a grand scale, the Owen Dippie series of larger than life murals that grace the inner streets of the city centre, are hard to miss.
First launched in 2013 and commissioned by the region’s economic development agency, Priority One, four murals make up the series, with the largest, a recreation of Bottecelli's ‘The Birth of Venus’, spanning 27 metres high on the Haringhou House building in Harington Street.
Also featuring in the series is the three-metre-high portrayal of Vermeer's ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ in Cameron Road on the Kale Print Building, then there’s 'The Madonna' on the Elizabeth Street entrance to the car parking building and ‘The Creatioon of Adam’ on Elizabeth Street.
Owen Dippie’s larger than life murals first graced the city centre streetscape in April 2012 when he brought to life the Ina Te Papatahi, originally painted by Charles Goldie, on the wall in Masonic Park.
Internationally renowned, Mr Dippe, or OD as he is known in the street art world, once said he saw his hometown of Tauranga as a blank canvas. In an interview in 2013 when the project first launched he is quoted as saying “I love painting art anywhere and I think it’s just amazing to be able to produce art in the public and let people interact with it in their everyday lives.” OD said it was important to use spray paint on a classical Renaissance piece, as it moves away from the stereotype of graffiti and tagging. “I hate the fact that spray paint is seen as such a negative material or medium because it’s ultimately up to the hand it’s in to do what it is. All it is to me is painting with the push of a button instead of the stroke of a brush.”
It’s such a privilege that Owen Dippie has created these first four for all to enjoy and we’re hoping to see more of these amazing larger than life murals grace our city centre. Next time you take a wander in the streets of the city centre take a moment to gaze at these beauties and celebrate the gift Mr Dippie has given us.
Elizabeth Street, Tauranga