Getting to know: New Zealand-based Dickie Artist


Located in New Zealand, the stunning coastal Hibiscus Coast is home to Dickie Artist, an artist with a unique style, Dickie artist uses pen, ink and watercolour to depict natural objects. Dickie’s recent art has focused on the unusual combination of Octopus and Birds.

Dickie was kind enough to answer a few questions about her life and art when we caught up with her recently:

Dickie Artist, octopus obsessed Contemporary New Zealand artist

Dickie Artist is a contemporary New Zealand artist who works freehand with pen, ink, and watercolour. 

How did your artwork start out?

I am one of nine siblings. Most of my family are creative in one way or another. I remember my mum drawing when I was growing up, there was always music playing, and we used to travel a lot. I guess I just always drew what I saw, it has always been a way for me to express myself.

What is your background?

I studied at The London College of Art, St. Martins and then went to university, where I got my 'ba hon's' in fine art. I specialised in Sculpture.

Did you always want to be an artist?

I think creativity was always a natural part of my life. We were always encouraged by our parents to think creatively and creating art was always celebrated. So yes, I think I always knew art was an important part of my life and something I would always do.

Dickie Artist, octopus obsessed Contemporary New Zealand artist drawing Octopus Versus Vulture in ink pen

How have you developed your career?

After University, I travelled a lot and volunteered in different parts of the world creating murals or teaching creativity. Once we settled in Auckland, I worked as the lead mural artist on storyfest for the council for several years in a row. This gave me the confidence to create works for others. I think instagram has given me a real outlet to share more personal work and to meet other creatives which inspire me daily. Instagram gives me the freedom to create what I want to create.

Who are your biggest influences?

I have been really lucky to spend a lot of time travelling and visiting some amazing art galleries all over the world, including Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Wellington, San Francisco and New York. Some of my favourite artists that particularly inspire me are Picasso, Goldsworthy, Gaudi, Banksy, Schiele, Findak  and Gormley, to name a few.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by my love of the ocean and nature. I am lucky enough to spend a lot of time on the water and find daily inspiration there. Last year, I created a whole series of work inspired by lockdown. Also, instagram is incredible, inspiring  and I love that I have become friends with some amazingly creative people through this platform, it is like travelling without leaving home!

DICKIE ARTIST wearing Octopus Versus Vulture doodlewear sweatshirt

doodlewear Octopus Versus Vulture sweatshirt by Dickie Artist

What do you do when you’re not inspired to create art? What brings your mojo back?

Visiting Art Galleries, going to the beach, Sailing, Writing, Reading, Dancing and hanging with friends. 

What does your art aim to say to your audience?

I like to show the detail and uniqueness in everything. I hope it shows a freedom and exploration of our natural world. The beauty that surrounds us.

How do you get ideas for each piece of art?

My ideas come from the places I visit whether that be the beach or a trip to the zoo, the museum or a trip to an island, or as with lockdown and experience, we are going through.

I always start by drawing in my sketchbook and I have filled many sketchbooks over the years. Some of these drawings stay as sketchbook pieces and some become larger, more finished works.

DICKIE ARTIST painting art

How has your art evolved over the years?

I used to draw a lot of portraits of the people I knew, now I hardly ever draw a portrait. I have moved from large paintings to smaller, more intimate works, they are more detailed and are now often of nature, birds and of course, the odd octopus!

I use my own photos and have been recently teaching myself how to take better photos!

Recently I have been using pen and I think I am becoming known for my detailed drawing style. I like to show detail in my line work.

How has everyday life impacted your art?

specialised in sculpture at university and made large-scale metal works - once I left university and started travelling, I worked only in sketchbooks. Then I had my children and life became very busy—the only free space is the kitchen table and so my work naturally became smaller.

What media do you use with your artwork?

My favourite medium in fine art pens, I definitely have an obsession about them and quite a collection now. I love trying out different papers and seeing how the pens react in different ways. The best part about working with pens is that they are quick, add detail and depth and are easy to transport.

The most important artist tools for me is a 2B pencil and a sketchbook - I would be a bit lost without a sketchbook. 

What is your favourite subject matter to draw, and why?

I’m not sure why I have an octopus obsession - I think they must be my spirit animal—I even have one tattooed on my arm. I have always loved them.

Pull Me Under sage hoodie by NZ doodlewear collaboration artist DICKIE ARTIST

doodlewear Pull Me Under hoodie by Dickie Artist

Where do you have artwork displayed?

Currently on my website, Instagram and Estuary Art Centre.

What’s the best thing about being an artist?

I think for me, it's a way to be me and to be really present in that moment. When I’m drawing, I don’t think about anything else except that piece of work that doesn’t happen very often in today's busy world.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I read a lot, I’m a bit of an insomniac, so will often be up reading through the night drinking tea. 

Do you have any advice for young or new artists?

Just keep creating. I think putting in the time is really important. Don’t get hung up on the likes—your audience will eventually find you and will naturally grow. Have fun, be yourself.

Do you have any questions for Dickie? Please ask us in the comments below.

Dickie Artist showcase

ladies Octopus Versus Vulture long sleeve teedoodlewear mens Black Octopus Versus Vulture tee by DICKIE ARTIST




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