Otis Frizzell spruiks Samsung’s smart phone, smartens up ‘Sohole’

In the rush to satiate our appetite for smart phones, manufacturers are launching newer smarter mobiles every other day. Yesterday Nokia launched its new Lumia Windows phone. And Samsung’s getting in on the act for its soon-to-launch Galaxy Note with a clever marketing mix of pop culture and celebrity endorsement.

Smaller than a tablet, larger than a phone, the Galaxy Note is something of a hybrid. Samsung has given one to renowned artist Otis Frizzell, and he’s is using it to help smarten up the eyesore that is ‘Sohole’.

People passing the Soho Square site in Ponsonby, Auckland, will have noticed the transformation taking place there over the past few weeks. The Colour of Our Community project is aiming to beautify the eyesore. Dubbed “Sohole” by locals, it has remained a large excavated hole for following the business collapse of the previous developer in 2009.

Top graphic, and graffiti artist Otis Frizzell is one of several artists helping to transform the large hoardings surrounding the site. His 12-metre section of the wall is sponsored by Samsung, and features six large portraits of Ponsonby locals. But while Frizzell’s art is traditionally non-digital, this time round he has incorporated technology into his art – using the Galaxy Note to help create and record his artwork.

Frizzell is one of the first people in New Zealand to get hands-on with the Galaxy Note, which launches later this month. The Note brings together most of the benefits of a smartphone and tablet, with the artistic freedom of a paper notebook, meaning Frizzell can sketch and make notes on the go using the digital S Pen, instantly capturing ideas.

The Note also features an eight mega pixel camera – which Frizzell used to capture the subjects of his Colour of Our Community mural as he walked along P. Rd one sunny day in January. He then used the Note’s photo editor to crop the photos and make them greyscale, before transferring the images to the wall.

Frizzell says it’s a great tool. “The thing I love the most is the size and definition of the screen. Everything’s bigger and for a bit of a technophobe like me, that makes everything easier.

“Actually, no – the camera is my favourite feature. eight mega pixels!

“Wait a minute… I forgot about the S Pen. I can take photos and write notes directly on them, so I don’t forget why I took them in the first place.

“And did I mention the screen? The perfect size for games!”

Temperamental bloody artists, never can make up their minds. Fans can follow Fizzell’s progress here with photos and video of Otis’s art creation.

On his Facebook page Otis says of the project: “It was a bit daunting when I started, with around 14 metros of wall in front of me. First, I had to square up the wall and make grids. I don’t always do this but as the wall was on a slope, I knew it’d help when I drew up the faces. By using the grid and sketching everything up, I know the proportions are going to be good. And since these people live around Ponsonby and are going to see these paintings, I figured I’d better get it right!”

“It actually isn’t a commission. As you can understand, I can’t take two weeks off ‘life’ to do a painting like this. I actually approached Samsung, and I was stoked that they got involved. Meant I could get to work and still pay my mortgage.”

Other well-known NZ artists are involved with the project, include, Dan Tippett, Adrian Jackman and Karl Maughan. Each artist will design and paint a 12-metre mural reflecting the ‘colours of our community’. The artists will also act as a mentor to various local community groups who will complete other sections of the hoardings surrounding the Square.

Resene is the project sponsor, and is fitting the bill for material costs. The mural will stay up for two years. Maintenance costs will be covered by sponsorship and donations. At the end of the two years, the murals will be auctioned off for charity.

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