This New Zealand-born artist has painted detailed and rich murals of icons like Albert Einstein, Notorious B.I.G, Nelson Mandela, and even Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. He created a Biggie mural at Queen’s legendary graffiti spot 5 Pointz (and got married on its roof) before its closure last year. His street art graced Bushwick once before in 2013, but Dippie decided it was time to go big for The Bushwick Collective.
Making his New York debut with a solo exhibition at the Low Brow Artique through July 5, I spoke with the artist about collaborating with The Bushwick Collective, his influences, and his new Jay Z-Jean-Michel Basquiat mural on Troutman St.
Dippie’s Jay Z/Basquiat mural on Troutman
BS: You’re from New Zealand. How did you end up painting a mural in Bushwick?
OD: “I try to come out to NY every couple of years and paint where I can, and having an interest in the scene I’ve seen a lot happening in Bushwick. Joe [Ficalora] is a stand up guy so it was a no brainer to paint with The [Bushwick] Collective.
Portrait of Biggie on Willoughby and Central Avenue, 2013
BS: Where did the idea come from to paint a Jay Z/Basquiat mural?
OD: “I am a fan of both Basquiat and Jay Z, and the mural is a play on words from Jay’s line from his track Picasso Baby “It ain’t hard to tell I’m the new Jean Michel.” Since they are both from Brooklyn it seemed to be the right place to do it.”
Albert Einstein mural in New Zealand
BS: How was painting your mural at The Bushwick Collective Block Party? Do you prefer working solo or in front of a crowd?
OD: “[I’m] not big on crowds and painting in front of them kinda makes me feel like a monkey on show, but I did enjoy walking by and listening to people’s responses to the work.
Portrait of Kiwi legend Bruce Mclaren in Auckland
BS: What are your main influences – art and otherwise?
OD: “I am influenced by everything, but I am a child of the 80’s and am still influenced by most of the things I experienced growing up.”
Ballerina, Christchurch, New Zealand
BS: Tell me about your exhibition at Low Brow Artique. What will be the focus?
OD: “It is a very NY-inspired show. Everybody from all walks of life is welcome to attend.”
Can you spot Biggie in 5 Pointz?
BS: What’s next for you?
OD: “From here, I go to LA to paint as much as possible before returning to New Zealand to open my second gallery and focus on my next show.”
Check out Owen Dippie’s work through July 5 at Low Brow Artique 143 Central Ave., Bushwick. Follow him @owendippie.