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Brooklyn Street Art

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Owen Dippie “Radiant Madonna” Unites Raphael and Haring in Brooklyn

Posted on July 11, 2015

“Soooooo incredible!” says Owen Dippie about his chance to do some sight-seeing yesterday finally at the Brooklyn Museum, where they are showing the work of people he calls his heroes, including Jean-Michel Basquiat as well as the brand new Faile show that opened Friday and the newly installed KAWS sculpture in the entry hall.

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Owen Dippie. Radiant Madonna. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Not too bad for a New Zealand child of the 1980s who grew up idolizing artists like Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol, Basquiat and Keith Haring. As he became a teenage painter himself Dippie also discovered the painters of the High Renaissance of the 14th century and pushed himself to emulate with aerosol cans the brush technique and style of those Italian masters.

When you speak with Mr. Dippie and the topic turns to Brooklyn, he is nearly reverential because of its history as part of the graffiti and Street Art movements that inspired one, perhaps two generations of artists on the street. Of course, this being dirty Brooklyn, Dippie also had to confront a scallywag who was stealing his paint this week; a chatty dude who had befriended him with conversation and whom Owen discovered was walking away and getting on his bicycle with a bag of cans while the artist was up on a ladder. Yes Holy Brooklyn can turn into “Holy Shit!” in a New York minute.

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Owen Dippie. Radiant Madonna. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

So it is a measured miracle, a ratherish revelation this week that as a parting tribute to the city Dippie completed a deftly realized mashup of Raphael and Haring, with the Madonna dell Granduca holding Haring’s icon-symbol that is variously referred to as “Radiant Baby”, “Radiant Child”, and “Radiant Christ”. A self-professed Jesus Freak during his adolescence and a member of the Born-Again Christian movement from its halcyon days of the 1970s-80s, Haring would very likely have loved to see his work appropriated in this manner, the newborn messiah supported in the stately embrace of the virgin mother.

“If art is a religion then Keith Haring is a god,” Owen likes to say. He tells us that it is not exactly hyperbole when he makes a statement like that while creating this new mural entitled “The Radiant Madonna”.

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Owen Dippie. Radiant Madonna. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When I was 13 my teacher introduced me to Keith Haring – and it changed my life,” he explains. “I was young – a troublemaker – and already I was majorly into art. But from that point on I decided to dedicate my life to art and I have been on this crazy journey ever since.” When said in that way we are reminded of the words often used by the Born-Again Christians like Haring when describing the moment of their religious conversion.

Perhaps a Renaissance man in his own way of valuing the humanist, the religious, the classical and the modern, Dippie freely combines images that cross half-millenia to help represent this moment.

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Owen Dippie. Radiant Madonna. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Like his recent merging of the cartoon characters of the Teenage Mutant Turtles with the four painters of the Renaissance whom they are named after (Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello ), here in the “The Radiant Madonna” Owen feels that it is a natural marriage of imagery and influences and one he feels impassioned about.

“I am a child of popular culture and am inspired by my heroes,” he says. “By involving them in my art I pay my upmost respect to them in the best way I know how.”

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Owen Dippie. Radiant Madonna. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Owen Dippie. Radiant Madonna. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Owen Dippie. Radiant Madonna. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Owen Dippie. Radiant Madonna. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Owen Dippie. Radiant Madonna. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Owen Dippie. Radiant Madonna. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Raphael_-_Madonna_dell_Granduca

Raphael, Madonna dell Granduca, 1505 (public domain)

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“Radiantbaby”. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

 

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