Artist Spotlight #77: Donovan Christie

Donovan Christie showed up on our radar when his SALA exhibition, ‘Business as Usual’, passed through the channels of a local night riding group. It’s an ideal introduction to his body of work, to be winding through the suburbs after dark, finding yourself in Bowden for beers and images of Adelaide suburbia, rendered in a colloquial, but slightly grand manner.

Q: Hello Donovan! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

A: I’m a 27 year old, living in my humble home town of Adelaide. A self taught artist who quit his job only a matter of days ago to take on art full time.

Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?

A: Many people from many different practices inspire me. I’m motivated by the hustlers’ ambition, people who overcome diversity and life challenges. Coming from a lower class background where our family was rich in love rather than anything else, I strive to break the mould and prove people wrong.

Donovan Christie - Chip Off The Old Block
Chip Off The Old Block

Q: Do you have a preferred medium?

A: I grew up as a rat bag kid listening to hip hop walking the streets with a backpack full of paint, back then the weapon of choice was a spray can or a marker. These days you’ll still find me listening to the hip hop but now with a brush and a tube of oil paint in hand.

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: I think the easiest way to describe my work would be to call it either ‘realism’ or ‘hyper realism’. Though I’m still learning and hope to get closer to a ‘photorealistic style in the future. That’s the style, the subject I would describe as nostalgic scenes, a setting that evokes a forgotten memory or feeling. I let the viewer themselves become a part of the painting.

Donovan Christie - Stacks On Stacks On Stacks
Stacks on Stacks on Stacks

Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?

A: Life actually plays a big part in my process, wherever I’m traveling to, I’m always taking photographs, banking up folders worth. I look for a particular era’s buildings and structures, I look for character, signage, advertising, architecture and quirk. Once I have selected the imagery for the series of work, I then sketch to canvas and get to throwing the paint around (very conservatively, with a tiny brush).

Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?

A: I have many goals and ideas for bodies of work, but most artists would agree these could change tomorrow. However I’d like to see my work in some major collections and institutions as well as have a few more major shows over in the east cost of Australia and overseas.

Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?

A: I’m a great believer of giving people their roses while they can still smell them, so I’ve got to give props to friends and fellow artist when I can. I recommend people look up Richard Maurovic and his story, a fantastic artist, author and athlete.

Q: What is your favourite gallery?

A: I’m a great believer of giving people their roses while they can still smell them, so I’ve got to give props to friends and fellow artists when I can. I recommend people look up Being a big advocate of Adelaide, I’d have to say the Art Gallery of South Australia. Not being biased, I’d have to say we have one of Australia’s best collections of art right at our doorstep.

Q: What ‘thing’ epitomises Adelaide for you, and why?

A: ‘Thing’ – that’s definitely something Adelaide has, is that ‘thing’. Its almost indescribable but I feel unlike any other state, Adelaide has this kind of laid back attitude, not even the people but the city itself. It’s not trying to be anything its not. Sadly this looks like its changing as the state gets a facelift and its skyline is changing by the minute. But i definitely think the charming subruban streets and the corner store deli are the epitome of Adelaide.

Donovan Christie - Civil Liberty
Civil Liberty

Q: Where can we find more of your work?

A: You can view my latest solo exhibition, ‘Business as Usual’ at Studio Bowden until August 13 or suss out my website and social media pages:, @donovanchristie and Donovan Christie Art.

— Tin Do

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