Dog artist breaks ‘ra­dio’ si­lence

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - TOM CARNEGIE AND HUGH COLLINS

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.

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.

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 coun­cil- lor Cathy Casey, MP Michael Wood and Puketepapa Lo­cal Board chair Julie Fairey started lob­by­ing for the mu­ral to stay.

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.’’

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.

JA­SON DORDAY/FAIRFAX NZ

The Dog mu­ral at Big King Re­serve.

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