World-renowned Australian painter Charles Billich has been selected as the United States Sports Academy’s 2013 Sport Artist of the Year. Billich was also honored with the award in 2000.
“Billich is recognized as one of the world’s best sport artist,” said Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich. “He continues to create art and is prolific as ever.”
The Academy plans to honor Billich at the Academy’s 29th annual Awards of Sport event, “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete,” at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 at the university’s Daphne, Ala., campus.
Billich’s art has been featured in popular venues such as the White House, the United Nations headquarters and the Vatican. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives, arguably the largest sport art collection in the world, also features many of Billich’s works, including his Bing Mah Jong collection.
A Yugoslavia ballet student until he fled his home in the 1950s, Billich used dance as an inspiration for his most recent featured paintings.
In May, Billich traveled to paint the principals of Beijing’s ballet and opera. The Billich Gallery, one of Australia’s leading contemporary art galleries and a premier venue in Sydney, features his paintings in the exhibit “A Collection Of Dance & Art.” From there, the ballet paintings are set to tour London, Los Angeles and Switzerland.
Beijing is a familiar city for Billich, as he created the “Beijing Millenium Cityscape,” a painting that helped China win its bid to host the 2008 Olympics. Billich’s artistic involvement with sport spans five Olympiads.
Billich created the official images for the Australian and U.S. teams for Athens 2004 and a symbolic cityscape painting of the 2008 Olympic Water sports venue QingDao, which was presented to the Mayor and Beijing Olympic Committee in QingDao in July 2005. He was given the Olympic Gold Order by the French Ministry of Sport for his contributions to the French Olympic Team during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Billich was also named the official artist for the Australian team at the 1996 Centennial Atlanta Olympic Games.
In addition, Billich was nominated as the official artist for the Rugby World Cup 2003 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.