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5 December 2017

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A mural of great size and meaning

A mural of great size and meaning

The legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary lives on in many shapes and forms – one of these is now a large-scale mural on St Paul’s sports centre.

The mural, which depicts Sir Edmund Hillary and Mt Everest, was painted by well-known New Zealand artist Owen Dippie.

A Collegian of the school, Dippie (Clark 1997 – 2001), was commissioned to produce the artwork on a plain brick wall overlooking the tennis courts as a gift from the 2016 school leavers.

Titled ‘It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves’, Dippie feels honoured to paint the mural for his former school.

“It is a subject matter that I respect. Sir Ed is such an iconic figure – the students have chosen the greatest. Knowing his wife and family will see it means a lot to me,” he says.

Dippie hails from the small town of Kawerau, he came to St Paul’s as a boarder in 1997. It was during his time at St Paul’s that he became serious about painting, going on to art school once he graduated.

“My St Paul’s art teacher, Mike Linklater, was really influential on me; he introduced me to a range of contemporary artists.”

Having painted since a young age, Dippie has dabbled in all types of art mediums, in particular oil painting. But for an artwork of this size, he works with a spray can, the method he describes as “the most fun and contemporary”.

With large-scale works scattered round many parts of the country and overseas, this is his only Hamilton work.

Earlier this year, Dippe was summoned to Los Angeles by the band Linkin Park to paint a mural of former member Chester Bennington.

Two of his murals were named in Huffington Post’s social survey of the Most Popular Murals of 2015. His Radiant Madonna was ranked ninth while his Ninja Renaissance Masters in Brooklyn took out the top spot. He had his first exhibition in New York in 2010 and returned for a solo show in 2015.

“Life in general inspires my art, the ups and the downs and the contemporariness of life. I have a fascination with portraiture and I really like Renaissance art.”

Dippie has a show in Los Angeles lined up for May next year, following that he and his wife Erin have plans to travel.

When asked what his favourite artwork to date is, Owen replies, “the next one, the next one will be the best one.”