Artist who painted Murray Ball mural comes forward

Dog on the Big King Reserve reservoir appeared after Footrot Flats creator Murray Ball died last week.
JASON DORDAY/FAIRFAX NZ

Dog on the Big King Reserve reservoir appeared after Footrot Flats creator Murray Ball died last week.

The artist who painted a tribute to cartoonist Murray Ball at an Auckland dog park has revealed his identity.

Graffiti artist Paul Walsh paid tribute to Ball, who died last week, by painting his famous Footrot Flats character Dog on the side of an Auckland water tower at Big King Reserve in Three Kings.

Walsh did not initially publicise that it was him who painted the mural as it was done without permission of Watercare - which manages the water tower.

Paul Walsh gained international recognition in 2014 for his paintings on Chorus utility boxes.
FAIRFAX MEDIA NZ

Paul Walsh gained international recognition in 2014 for his paintings on Chorus utility boxes.

But following an overwhelming public response Walsh said he decided to break his "radio silence" by posting a thank you message on his Facebook page.

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In the message he thanked Stuff.co.nz and The Central Leader for the initial coverage of the mural.

The story published by stuff.co.nz received an enormous response on its Facebook page, receiving 57,000 likes and 5300 shares.

Following the article a Watercare spokeswoman confirmed that given the circumstances, it would not remove Dog from Three Kings water tower.

"Watercare does not, however, condone works being done on its structures without its prior approval. We would not wish others to start putting additional graphics on the reservoir."

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Walsh said he "shed a tear" while painting the mural, which shows a sad Dog looking up at a lone star.

"Thanks to local politicians Julie Fairey, Michael Wood and Cathy Casey for petitioning Watercare to let it stay," Walsh said in his Facebook post.

"Thanks to Watercare for being good fellas and letting it stay (and not pressing charges!); and of course a huge thanks to the tens of thousands of people who left positive comments, likes and messages in response," he said.

He said Ball was an amazing cartoonist and he had "read [a] dog-eared copy of Footrot Flats multiple times".

Walsh said it was an honour to create a small tribute to Ball.

 - Stuff

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