Enjoy your own piece of iconic wearable Kiwi art – and help end avoidable blindness

Dick Frizzell frames

Dick Frizzell framesThis August, you can get your hands on a very special piece of wearable Kiwi art showcasing the work of celebrated artist, Dick Frizzell. Featuring his unique woodgrain print, which itself celebrates its 30th birthday this year, the limited edition frames will be available in Specsavers stores across the country.

What’s more, as part of Specsavers’ ongoing collaboration with the charity, proceeds from the sale of the frames will be donated to support the work of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ to help end avoidable blindness in the Pacific. The artist is encouraging all New Zealanders to embrace their artistic style, whilst also feeling good about giving back.

For each frame sold, $25 will be donated to fund The Foundation’s Mobile Eye Clinic (MEC), a state-of-the-art facility that travels to the most remote parts of Fiji to provide sight-saving services to those in need.

GrownUps had the chance to learn a bit more about the project from Dick Frizzell himself.

What inspired the print – and what was your artistic process like for creating it?

The inspiration of the print was the fact that I needed a very quick solution when asked by Crown Lynn potteries to decorate a full dinner set about 30 years ago. There were a few artists asked to do it, and I actually came back late from a trip to Europe and had only two days to complete the project, so I came up with a quick and adaptable design.

It was a bit of a Frizzell joke to turn the ceramic into wood in quite a cartoon like way – lots of nails sticking out. It meant I could slop it over everything and do everything in about a day!

When you first designed the print, did you anticipate how popular it would become?

No way! In fact nobody purchased the dinner set so I thought that was it! It was very in-your-face, you would have been a bold soul to buy a woodgrain dinner set back then.

The print kind of got into my DNA and when I started working with a women in Hawkes Bay on a whole range of homeware, the wood grain became an obvious choice. The vectorising of this process made the finished product quite elegant in the end!

Whose idea was it to put your print on glasses?

The team at Specsavers came to me to discuss the idea in support of The Fred Hollows Foundation. When I started working on the project, I had a few other ideas in mind but then they showed me the frames I thought ‘What?! How can I express myself in the square centimetre.’

Then I think someone saw the woodgrain cushion in one of our meetings and said ‘what about that?’ and it became instantly perfect. It was a lovely evolution from the ceramic to the frames.

Were you involved with the process of deciding how to incorporate your print onto a pair of glasses? What was that like?

Yes, very much so. The placement of the design, signature etc all had to read as graphically and elegantly as possible. There were pinch points that had to work perfectly, like the temple detail, so it’s actually a very involved process where I worked closely with the Specsavers team in a partnership.

What’s been the most surprising place you’ve seen your work used so far?

I’ve seen it tattooed on people which always amazes me! I got a photo from a lady who had my ‘Mickey to Tiki’ tattooed right across her back – that was an eye opener. Nothing will surprise me now!

How did you get involved with the Fred Hollows Foundation?

I was asked to be involved! The team had done a glasses collaboration with an artist in Australia and wanted to bring the concept to New Zealand so asked me.

I really resonate with Fred Hollows as a person, and think the work the Foundation does is hugely important, so it was a natural fit when I was asked to be involved.

Have you got any plans for your next project?  

I’ll be releasing a book in 2020 so I’m in the process of wrapping that up at the moment!

The design will be available at Specsavers stores nationwide from Thursday 29th August,
priced from $169.