Make a big difference to The Big Idea.

Help us tell the most creative stories.

Become a supporter

TBI Q&A: Otis Frizzell

Otis Frizzell answers The Big Idea community questions about everything from the story b


Otis Frizzell answers The Big Idea community questions about everything from the story behind ‘Sarah’s Tomato’ (pictured) to his journey from the streets to the Beehive.

“Graffiti art, which is basically the visual representation of Hip Hop, was the first art form, besides comics, that really made me want to make art... to paint. I was bitten.”

Otis and his father Dick Frizzell are guest speakers at Semi-Permanent, the annual design symposium on from August 20-21 in Auckland.

In this QnA Otis also talks about growing up under the influence of a famous NZ artist and how this affected his personal artistic style.

“I never went to art school or received any institutional education after High School, and besides just opening my eyes to the world, Dad is by far my greatest influence. However, lot of that is work ethic and attitude rather than art 'style'...”

Read the comments below for more.

* * *

Otis Frizzell is an artistic innovator, style leader, artist, hip-hop performer, radio personality, tattooist and graphic designer.

Otis entered public life in his late teens as half of popular hip-hop duo MC OJ and Rhythm Slave. He has performed as Joint Force and Stylee Crew.

Otis has more than 20 years of public graffiti art experience.  His first solo exhibition Opto 2000 produced with pop culture manipulator Mike Weston, marked the beginning of an innovative art production and management collaboration that has produced a playful and challenging stream of works, repeatedly setting a benchmark in artistic and technical achievement in the chosen media.

His work can be found at the Parnell Gallery, Lethams Gallery (Herne Bay) the Saatchi and Saatchi offices, Robbie Williams’ London management office IE Music, on KFC packaging, Breast cancer T shirts, Grand Prix Racing Cars, Drag Strips, Playstation Ads, numerous walls and backdrops, TV2 promos, record sleeves of pop artists such as Che Fu and more recently Tiki Taane and Fat Freddys Drop.

His broadcasting partnership with Mark “Slave” Williams carried the duo into a long running Wednesday drive-time radio slot on 95bFM called The Wednesday Special and then to hosting the Base FM breakfast show. The duo’s radio celebrity transferred to television with the award winning Mo’ Show.

In early 2005, Otis abandoned TV celebrity and the offer of a fourth Mo Show series, to focus on art projects working out of The Area studio with Mike Weston as half of the Art Brand, Weston Frizzell.

As a solo artist and art collaborator, Otis is now enjoying life as a full time artist, print-maker and illustrator.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

12 Aug 2010

The Big Idea Editor

Talent can only take you so far – we speak to a pair of determined creatives about picking up the skills to forge their own paths.
The new Dawn Raid documentary is more than an insight into the influential Polynesian record label, it's an important look into culture and identity.
Graham Tipene
Best of 2020: Precision and permanence, as well as a dedication to his craft and culture, have made Graham Tipene one of Auckland’s most influential artists.
No matter your industry, design skills could be what take you to the next level. Find out how to build your creative - and strategic - superpower.