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ALEXANDER STITT  Australia 1937 -The Flower Show 2014 -landscape prints

"The Age" October 25th 2014 written by Pete Barrett

Graphic artist Alexander Stitt has worked with Fred Schepisi, Peter Ustinov and is a serious artist in his own right. But you probably know him for a series of television animations: among them, the Anti-Cancer Council's Slip! Slop! Slap! campaign, numerous shorts for the Christian Television Association and one very overweight couch potato called Norm. "Life. Be in it" was a health and fitness advertising campaign instigated by Phillip Adams for the Victorian government in 1975 that went national for a period from 1978. Thanks to the work of Stitt, Adams and a super-catchy jingle written by Peter Best ("Be in it, today, live more of your life"), Norm's wobbly view on the world of exercise seeped into the consciousnesses of pretty much any Australian born before 1985. With a career now spanning 50 years this kind of  fame can lead to problems for Stitt at times. "Because I've got such a reputation for graphics and animation and all the rest it's difficult to convince anybody what you're doing is serious," he says from his home in Red Hill, where he lives with his wife and business partner, Paddy. "Especially when your work doesn't look all that serious." Readers will be able to judge that aspect themselves next week when for the first time in three decades a solo exhibition of Stitt's work goes on display at a gallery in Collingwood. Titled The Flower Show, it's a collection of 31 flower-themed giclée prints created by the artist by drawing directly onto a computer screen, a technique also used by David Hockney. So, why the flowers? "My attitude is I'd rather do cheerful things than depressing things. I think we've got enough people doing depressing things around the place," he says. "But I do it with every kind of seriousness there is."

 

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