(L-R: Damon O’Leary with Basil Christensen, Barcelona – Heineken shoot 2005ish)
By Damon O’Leary.
It seems many people have already heard the terribly sad news that one of our industry’s best art directors, my great friend and collaborator Basil Christensen, passed away on Sunday after suffering a heart attack.
I’m writing because I feel it’s important for me to say something about Basil but also to say how all our our hearts go out to Julie and Olivia.
Bas and I evolved our careers together; from London to Wellington to Auckland when, after 25 years in adland, Basil and Julie finally decided to pursue their dream of living in the South of France.
I’ve put together a few photos that hopefully show the huge amount of fun we had as creatives in this crazy business.
Long hours, weekends and weekends and weekends of work, fighting about ideas, agreeing about ideas, shoots overseas (lots of them), awards, meeting and working with amazing creatives and suits and planners and designers and producers and directors – many who became lifelong friends.
And of course the legendary years of lunches at Cibo and NSP.
We had a great run on Tui Beer, Steinlager, DB Draught, Yellow Pages, White Pages, Husqvarna, Womans Day, TV2, TV1, Metro Mag, Cleo, WWF, etc etc etc…
Fucking amazing days shared with an amazingly talented person who, much to my delight and the bane of suits, always made the logo as small as humanly possible.
While creating beautiful art direction.
Always a risk taker, Basil traded in his amazing Waiheke winery ‘Christensen’s Estate’ about 10 years ago for a Chateau in St Emillion.
He and Julie turned it into a thriving, up-market B&B, and they were in the process of renovating another incredible Chateau.
Basil was dedicated to Julie and daughter Olivia who has obviously inherited his artistic abilities.
All of the above is totally inadequate to encompass everything that was great about Baz, but we hope to organize something in the next few days or in a week or so where everyone can get together and have a wine or ten to remember Basil.
I know that’s something he would absolutely approve of.
(Clio Awards, New York 1990)
(L-R: Baz and Damon, AXIS Awards, 1994)
(Dennis Hitchcock with Baz, IBM shoot, 1994)
(Baz, Luke Perry, Justin Mowday and Damon O’Leary, 1999ish L.A.)
(TV2 shoot – L.A. again, Robin Walters, Esther Watkins, Damon O’Leary, Potia de Rossi, Basil Christensen)
(L-R: Johnny McCabe, Damon and Baz, 2000)
(Damon and Baz in the back of a limo in London, 2002ish)