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Fritz Cover Artist Donovan Christie Takes Over Adelaide Airport

The artist’s Business Class exhibition features 52 paintings – including the Fritz magazine originals.

Artist Donovan Christie painted solidly for 20 hours a day over three months to complete the 52 pieces in his exhibition Business Class. “Including a few 24-hour stints,” Donovan says. “It took a lot of determination and even more coffee.”

Donovan is no stranger to tight deadlines. Since Fritz magazine launched in late 2016, the artist has painted five covers (and counting). “This exhibition includes the original [cover] paintings,” he says. The images of Adelaide Oval, The Rosella house in Alberton, West End brewery, the Adelaide Oval scoreboard, and the historic Yalumba Wine Room in the Barossa Valley are accompanied by 47 smaller pieces depicting suburban shopfronts and small businesses. “I decided to push the envelope with this collection and cover most, if not all industries, from your local butcher or baker to your mechanic or masseuse. I figured what better way to introduce visitors to our state than to give them a little snapshot of our local landscape.”

Each piece is a little larger than a postcard. “These establishments often blend into the background, yet [are] the places with the most character.” Think Goodwood Road’s Peter Van The Party Man, Francos fruit and vegetable store on Marion Road, The Pancake Kitchen, Bakery On O’Connell, and Bakehouse Theatre.

It’s a big deal for the South Australian artist. “This was a massive milestone in my career: to be the first (and I’m told the only) artist to have a solo exhibition at Adelaide Airport. It was such an accomplishment that I was able to pull this off. It’s very rare [for] us as artists to get the time to take a step back, breath and take in what we have achieved, so I take a lot of pride in this feat.”

The foot traffic passing the exhibition has resulted in commissions. “The response has been fantastic. While I was hanging the exhibition I had many fascinating conversations with local, interstate and international people. I loved hearing their interpretations of the work and the personal memories they had attached to each location. I even had the tick of approval from a few of the feds which is rather ironic if you know my history.”

Business Class is exhibited at Adelaide Airport until 5 April. Those who aren’t able to visit the airport have the chance to view the works at Hill Smith Gallery from 10 May.   

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