A graffiti artist who has showcased his work in New York is aiming to change New Zealand's perception of art.
Twenty-seven-year-old Owen Dippie, who sells his work for up to $2500, has just opened a gallery in Mount Maunganui.
The fulltime artist, who prefers to keep a low profile and not be photographed, is holding an exhibition in Totara St.
On the opening night of his "OD Art Show" on Friday, he had more than 200 people view his work - including Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby, who bought three T-shirts, and plans to commission Mr Dippie for an art piece in his house.
"He is highly talented and not just for his use of spray cans, but other mediums as well," Mr Crosby said.
Dippie's work on show includes a framed photograph of his Halloween mural, which took pride of place on a wall at Te Maunga until it was vandalised in January.
Then there's a portrait of Billy T, done with a ballpoint pen on paper; and spraypaint on boards.
He is best known for graffiti art, but Dippie's talent stretches to work with oils, acrylics and wood burning.
Among his proudest works have been turning nondescript concrete walls into giant murals of Michael Jackson, and an eye-catching memorial to Sir Edmund Hillary he painted on the back wall of a Tauranga fishing shop in 2008.
In an alley in industrial Mount Maunganui, Dippie, who studied at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, spent days painting a large mural of murdered rap artist The Notorious B.I.G.
He has also painted a mural of Princess Diana.
And he plans to create a new wall "story" of "good guys and bad guys" at Te Maunga; and fill the wall adjacent to his gallery.
In the meantime, his studio is a place for all young artists, who wouldn't normally get a chance to show their art.
Most of the feedback Dippie gets is positive. However, he still struggles to convince everyone.
"A lot of people are so one-minded ... I could be painting a Mona Lisa but the minute somebody sees it being done with a spray can, they pass judgment."
He uses a variety of tools to create his art, including traditional paint brushes.
"Most people just get boxed in with graffiti and certain rules because it's usually about piecing."
He said his involvement in a group exhibition in New York last year was a great success and New Zealand's street art scene was already recognised across the globe.
He planned to head back to New York next year, and possibly Paris.
"New Zealand is pretty much the best in the world.
"You go overseas and everyone knows about New Zealand graffiti but it's frowned upon here.
"It's world famous in other countries," he said.
"I want to travel and paint - the world is my colouring book."