Weston Frizzell - KUPU / by JoFF Rae

the AREA & th'ink + media | serigraphics | art  [ www.think.net.nz ] present

KUPU - a Weston Frizzell series of pop up exhibitions...




Weston Frizzell is the collaborative identity of artists Otis Frizzell and Mike Weston.

KUPU is Maori for ‘word’ - used by Weston Frizzell with all the Hip Hop connotations & expression intended. 

Since 1999 their art production operation has evolved from that of a celebrity graffiti artist and his art dealer/producer, into an innovative multi media art brand.

Described by Art News NZ as “a high performance art partnership”, both artists have their roots deep in NZ’s counterculture. Their partnership acknowledges equally the contribution of ideas, craft, celebrity, management, and labour, in the production and marketing of art works.

Their output draws heavily and irreverently on appropriated imagery, style and content. Presented with satiric and ironic subtext, it often challenges notions of authorship and originality.  A Warhol influenced production line method has taken them from the street art and pop culture melting pot of Auckland’s Karangahape Rd into the fine art world.  They produce one off and editioned painted works and a range of hugely popular limited edition prints.

Applying sampling and cutup techniques to a creative process, a subversive commercialism guides the remixing of their appropriated subject matter, creating works that are accessible and edgy, equally informed by dada, hip hop, situationism, graffiti art and techno.  They create slick work with tight production values, seemingly oblivious to conventional notions of authorship or originality.

An experiment in the subversion of brand management theory has evolved a successful and frequently controversial art identity.  Weston Frizzell occupy a cleverly conceived niche that is now well established on the NZ fine art stage.

Their paintings are diverse and eclectic in influence, carefully planned and produced, applying combined spray paint and brush techniques. Savvy design, a mean eye for art and media history, and an intuitive awareness of pop culture dynamics position their work at the high end of the low brow.

Working backwards from the answer, Weston Frizzell conceived print designs that combine letters of the painted series. The individual letters are realized as 800 x 1200 painted works, then images of the completed paintings were digitally captured, and the files assembled to create the final digital master files.

Weston Frizzell regard the final work as not derivative of the painting process. The inverse is true. The paintings are regarded and presented as artifacts of the creation of a digital concept artwork, and a social action.

Continuing an exploration and remix of the iconography of NZ fine art and popular culture, in early 2009 Weston Frizzell began a series of letter paintings, featuring individual letters appropriated from iconic NZ artworks and brands.  The intention was to create art prints montaging images of the letter paintings, to form a series of words, and to exhibit the works in variable and repeated configurations, creating words specific to the location of each destination of a touring show. 

The choice of letters was specifically restricted to those of the written Maori language, and visual subject matter limited to NZ only.

Over the course of successive exhibitions new letters are added to the lineup and individual letters replaced with new versions or variations, allowing the same conceptual format to be exhibited repeatedly in evolving configurations.

The first word prints produced were those perceived as the most prominent in the kiwiana genre of decorative art, Aotearoa, Aroha, Home.


Thistle Hall  -  Wellington

Monday 29 July - Sunday 4 August

293 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011


Augusto  -  Auckland

Tuesday 20 August - Sunday 25 August

Shed 8, Upper Deck Cityworks Depot,

90 Wellesley St W. Auckland 1010


International Visual Methods Conference  - Victoria University, Wellington

Monday 2 September - Friday 6 September

Rutherford House

Victoria University, Pipitea Campus, 23 Lambton Quay, Wellington


Melbourne Fringe

Monday 23 September - Friday 6 October

Second Edition

159 Sackville Street Collingwood VIC 3066


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