Mysterious Ball tribute appears in park
A painting of cartoonist Murray Ball’s legendary Dog character from Footrot Flats has appeared at an Auckland dog park.
Ball died on Sunday aged 78 after suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Since then a piece of graffiti art showing a sad looking Dog gazing up at a lone star appeared on the side of a water reservoir at Big King Reserve in Three Kings.
The tribute is fitting given the park is dog friendly with an offleash exercise area.
The painter responsible, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he grew up with Footrot Flats and ‘‘shed a tear’’ while painting it.
However, because the reservoir was managed by Auckland Council organisation Watercare, he accepted that the painting may not be there long.
He was instead treating it in the same way someone would put ’’flowers on a grave’’.
The same artist was behind a grumpy cat mural which appeared on the reservoir in 2012 but was painted over by Watercare about six months after it went up.
The artist regularly painted on the structure and has said he liked to make his neighbourhood look more interesting.
Three Kings resident and border collie owner Grant Bayldon said he was impressed with the tribute. He said it was fitting given the area used to be farmed, a history which involves border collie dogs. ‘‘The way the dog is looking up into the sky, it’s a great tribute to Murray Ball who has been an important part of New Zealand cultural history,’’ Bayldon said.
He said he was a fan of the grumpy cat piece as well and felt that it deterred tagging, rather than encouraged it.
‘‘The cat was just beautiful it was looking down grumpily at the normally dozens of dogs playing underneath it,’’ Bayldon said.
‘‘My feeling is this improves the visual appeal of the area.’’
Peter Rowley, the man who voiced the dog in Footrot Flats, said the late cartoonist was ‘‘a bloody genius’’. ‘‘He formed all these wonderful characters, and gave an edge to the agrarian world of New Zealand that only he could imagine,’’ Rowley said. ‘‘He was a very charismatic man, and was quite sure of everything. I had a lot of respect for him - he was like (Charles) Schulz with Peanuts, you know? You felt his presence - he was unique for this country. There weren’t many Murray Balls.’’