Charles Billich, the United States Sports Academy’s 2000 Sport Artist of the Year, recently released a painting of the London cityscape in honor of the 2012 London Olympics.
The painting, “Londolympia,” by the Australian surrealist is one of several cityscapes that Billich has done to honor cities hosting the Olympics. For example, Billich has done similar cityscapes for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
“Londolympia,” which depicts all of London’s new sports facilities and great landmarks, is now on display to the public in the Main Lobby at the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) on the Academy’s Daphne, Ala., campus, along with the Salt Lake City painting. The London painting is 5-feet tall by 12-feet wide and hangs so that it is the first thing visitors see when they come through the Main Entrance. ASAMA, which arguably holds the largest collection of sport art in the world with nearly 1,700 pieces, is open to the public free 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
“Billich’s painting of the London cityscape has arrived on campus and, in my opinion, it is the best cityscape that he have ever done,” says Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, the Academy’s President and CEO. “He has simply outdone himself.”
Meanwhile, the Billich Gallery and ASAMA are working on doing a world tour of this cityscape, in conjunction with Hilton Hotels and Emirate Airlines, leading up to the Olympic Games this summer.
The Billich Gallery donated the painting to ASAMA as part of the Academy’s 40th Anniversary celebration in April.
“All of us here at Billich Gallery feel proud of our involvement with the United States Sports Academy and ASAMA,” Christa Billich says. “We at Billich Gallery perceive the Academy as the Olympus of sports education and a fountain of creative concepts involving sport and the arts.”
Charles Billich has a long association with the Olympics and sports. In 1996, he was the official artist for the Australian Olympic team and participated in the Olympic City Exhibition at the Centennial Atlanta Olympics that year. In 2004, he was one of the official artists for the U.S. Olympic team.
For the 2008 Bejing Olympics, Billich did a 16-piece, body of work, “Bing Mah Yong,” which is currently featured in ASAMA’s Main Gallery. Billich manipulates reality by featuring the terracotta warriors of ancient China as modern Olympians. The warriors are buried with the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, who reigned from 246-210 B.C.
He has painted other sports as well, including rugby, Formula 1 and yachting races to name a few. Billich’s various artworks are held in many illustrious collections and museums around the world, from the Australian Embassy, Japan, and United Nations, New York to The Royal Collection of Thailand and the Vatican.