Dick Frizzell — Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke
  • Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke(Cropped)
  • Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke(Framed)
  • Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke(Signature)
  • Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke(Reverse)
  • Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke(Additional 1)

Lot 228475



New Zealand, b. 1943

Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke


Watercolour and gouache on rag paper

49 x 74 cm

Titled, signed and dated 13/10/95


NZD $110,215
(incl. BP & GST if applicable)

Auction Closed

Tue. May. 14 2013 at 8:12pm (NZST)

Lot Notes

Recent Press

The New Zealand Herald, to view the article click here.

Radio New Zealand, Arts On Sunday, to listen to the interview click here.

TVNZ, Seven Sharp, to watch the video click here.

The Press, to view the article click here.


Dick Frizzell, Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke

Renowned New Zealand artist Dick Frizzell was born in 1943 and trained at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, in Christchurch from 1960 – 64. Subsequent to a career as an art director in advertising he had his first solo exhibition at the Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland, in 1978. In this show he demonstrated his passion for appropriating low art or banal imagery to create high art through his inventive wit and painterly style. This approach has informed much of the artist’s practice up to the present day and this can be clearly seen in Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke.

Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke depicts the morphing of Disney cartoon character Mickey Mouse into a Tiki. The Tiki in Maori mythology depicts the first man or woman created by Tane, god of forests and birds. Here is a humorous and classic twist of the Frizzell theme of low art to high art. To reinforce this metamorphosis Frizzell uses a repeating outline to show the progress of this remarkable transformation (Frizzell had once worked as an animator), echoing the animators art of creating an illusion of movement through multiple cells. In the title of the work the Maori phrase ‘Tu Meke’ appears which approximately translates as “Too Much”. This suggests multiple meanings: is it an illusion of multiplying; or a call to change, for popular icons to reflect local culture; or is it Mickey morphing into an ancestral Tiki, extending his bright red tongue in the pÅ«kana gesture? Or all three?

Since 1997, when Frizzell created the original lithographic print at the Muka Print Studio in Auckland, Mickey To Tiki, Tu Meke has gone on to become New Zealand’s best selling print. In 1998 one of the original 50 prints (5/50) was gifted by Lady Diana Isaac to the Christchurch Art Gallery and with rights to reproduce the image from the lithograph, it has since gone on to sell over 30,000 copies. Furthermore other merchandise has been created such as fridge magnets, mugs, hoodie’s, T-shirts and postcards, and these are now found all over the world. Meanwhile the original prints have significantly increased in value, one selling at auction in Auckland last year for $5,500.

Since 1997 Frizzell has revisited the image twice. In 2008 for a charity in Hawkes Bay he created a new version of the print entitled Mickey To Tiki It’s About Time and then in 2012 Frizzell created a variation of the print called Tiki To Mickey Tu Meke Reversed, which is actually a reversal of the metamorphosis and the colour.

What is not so well known is that prior to the creation of the print Dick Frizzell had painted the original Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke in 1995. The painting is a watercolour and gouache on rag paper, signed and dated and measures 490 x 740mm. Frizzell had originally created the painting for a charity auction for the Life Education Trust. It is has been in a private collection in Auckland since and is in immaculate condition. Now Ocula Black has been favoured with instructions to sell the original Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke painting on our online auction platform. The auction will commence on Friday 26 April at 10am NZST. This is a rare and important event, as it is widely acknowledged that this artwork is the most widely known and possible best loved in New Zealand. Here for the first time is the very first and only painting of Mickey To Tiki Tu Meke, the artwork that began one of the most remarkable journeys in the history of New Zealand art.

Dick Frizzell was awarded an MNZM in 2004, and his work was the subject of a touring exhibition organized by the Wellington City Gallery in 1997. He is represented in major public collections throughout New Zealand.

Artist Profile

Dick Frizzell studied at the Canterbury University College School of Art , Christchurch, New Zealand (1960-64) and during the following eight years worked in commercial art and advertising. His exhibition of paintings of grocery food cans (Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland, 1978) represented a turning point in his career, establishing a presence as an important New Zealand contemporary artist. Rather than paint images of the real world, Frizzell drew attention to the symbols and signs that represented the real world. 

Frizzell’s paintings and prints have appropriated New Zealand popular culture such as the Four Square man and cultural heritage such as the tiki, as well as international modern art movements such as Russian Constructivism and Cubism. American popular art has also been an enduring influence, in particular the comic strip The Phantom. Frizzell’s work is humorous, insightful and skilful, and as an anti-traditionalist he frequently challenges boundaries of high and low art. 

Frizzell is also recognised as a printmaker and as a writer, recently publishing a highly successful autobiography, Dick Frizzell: The Painter (2009). Frizzell has work in the collections of Auckland Art Gallery and the Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa, in Wellington; as well as numerous private collections around the world. His works are highly sought after and he continues to work in his studio in Auckland. 


Purchased by current owner at the Life Education Trust charity auction in Wellington, 1995.

Private collection, Auckland.

Signature and Inscriptions

Inscribed lower middle:




Condition and Measurements

The painting is in excellent original condition and is available for viewing at Ocula Black, Level 1, 25 Sale St, Freemans Bay, Auckland. 

If you require a more detailed condition report please contact Ocula Black on (+64) 09 3033 126


Excluding Frame:
49 cm
74 cm
Overall Size (including frame, if applicable):
89 cm
114 cm
4 cm

View At Ocula Black Gallery

This artwork is available to be viewed in person at our gallery in Auckland. The gallery is located at:

Level One
25 Sale Street
Freemans Bay
New Zealand

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday : 10am - 6pm
Saturday : By appointment

+64 9 3033 126

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Shipping Information

The Buyer is responsible for the collection of artwork(s) purchased and/or for all shipping costs including; packing, courier, insurance and any applicable import duties or taxes. The Buyer is the highest bidder (having met reserve or higher) or purchaser of the artwork(s) in a negotiated post auction sale.

Artwork Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Artwork Dimensions (including frame, if applicable): 89 x 114 x 4 cm
Artwork Weight: 10 KG

For more information on shipping please click here or view our Terms & Conditions and see section 5.3.

Payment and Right of Return

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Right of Return
The seller provides a 14 day 'Right Of Return' policy. The seller warrants that the artwork is authentic and that the information and images they have supplied is true and correct to the best of their knowledge.

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More Information

If you would like more information about this artwork then please contact us. Or if you would prefer, please call us in Australia on 1800 045 308, in the USA on 1 855 488 3669, in Hong Kong on 800 901 252 and in New Zealand on 09 3033 126.

We have the expertise to answer most questions and will research on your behalf if we don't have the answers.

Bid History

Displaying last 50 bids

snorky NZD $94,000
14 May at 8:08 p.m.
taubman NZD $91,000
14 May at 8:06 p.m.
snorky NZD $91,000
14 May at 8:07 p.m.
aj******* NZD $90,000
14 May at 8:04 p.m.
taubman NZD $85,000
14 May at 8:03 p.m.
snorky NZD $84,000
14 May at 8:02 p.m.
blunter NZD $81,000
14 May at 8:01 p.m.
snorky NZD $80,000
14 May at 8:00 p.m.
taubman NZD $76,000
14 May at 7:59 p.m.
snorky NZD $75,000
14 May at 7:59 p.m.
taubman NZD $74,000
14 May at 7:59 p.m.
snorky NZD $73,000
14 May at 7:59 p.m.
taubman NZD $72,000
14 May at 7:58 p.m.
snorky NZD $71,000
14 May at 7:58 p.m.
taubman NZD $70,000
14 May at 7:37 p.m.
blunter NZD $69,000
14 May at 7:37 p.m.
taubman NZD $68,000
14 May at 7:32 p.m.
blunter NZD $67,000
14 May at 7:32 p.m.
taubman NZD $66,000
14 May at 6:54 p.m.
jaydubb NZD $65,000
14 May at 6:54 p.m.
taubman NZD $64,000
14 May at 6:31 p.m.
jaydubb NZD $63,000
14 May at 6:19 p.m.
sticky NZD $62,000
14 May at 6:18 p.m.
jaydubb NZD $61,000
14 May at 6:09 p.m.
sticky NZD $60,000
14 May at 6:09 p.m.
jaydubb NZD $59,000
14 May at 6:07 p.m.
sticky NZD $58,000
14 May at 6:07 p.m.
jaydubb NZD $57,000
14 May at 5:36 p.m.
hanger NZD $56,000
14 May at 4:10 p.m.
snorky NZD $55,000
14 May at 7:38 a.m.
hanger NZD $54,000
13 May at 8:39 p.m.
sticky NZD $53,000
13 May at 6:10 p.m.
scotia NZD $52,000
13 May at 5:36 p.m.
sticky NZD $51,000
13 May at 4:17 p.m.
jaydubb NZD $50,000
13 May at 12:23 a.m.
autumn NZD $49,000
7 May at 8:45 p.m.
blunter NZD $48,000
7 May at 4:25 p.m.
autumn NZD $47,000
5 May at 10:19 a.m.
steve******* NZD $46,000
4 May at 11:10 a.m.
whitewash NZD $45,000
2 May at 12:33 p.m.
jammd2013 NZD $42,000
28 April at 8:41 p.m.
wri*** NZD $41,000
28 April at 1:25 p.m.
sealster NZD $37,000
27 April at 4:56 p.m.
advantage NZD $36,000
27 April at 2:05 p.m.
tim***** NZD $35,000
26 April at 8:33 p.m.
seabug NZD $31,000
26 April at 8:11 p.m.
hanger NZD $30,000
26 April at 7:57 p.m.
hanger NZD $11,000
26 April at 7:56 p.m.
tim***** NZD $10,000
26 April at 7:15 p.m.
autumn NZD $6,000
26 April at 6:03 p.m.

How Bidding Works for the Australia China Art Foundation fundraising auction.

This is a silent auction where by bidders have to submit their maximum bid. Please enter your maximum bid amount and click on the 'Place Bid' button. You will be taken to a confirm bid page where you can review your bid and enter your intended delivery address before confirming the bid. Upon confirming your bid you will be notified if your bid is below another bidders maximum bid. At this point you can increase your bid however as this is a silent auction we can not disclose what the highest bid is. Once your bid has been confirmed you will receive an email to confirm that bid. You will be notified by email if another bidder places a maximum bid that is higher than your current bid. You can continue to place higher bids but not lower your bid during the course of the online auction.

At the end of the auction (12am CST 27 November) the highest online bid will be measured against any other absentee bids and the highest overall bid will win the auction.

For further help with bidding please contact Ocula Black


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