While you may not recognise her at first glance, you’ve undoubtedly seen Alex Bellas’s work. The self-taught artist has made the city of Adelaide her canvas. She’s known for painting everything from multi-storey murals to wine labels, as well as recognisable interiors such as the bright and graphic monochromatic walls of Thirsty Tiger and 99 Gang Social.

Bellas is joining fellow artists Billie Justice Thompson, Dana Kinter and Gabriel Stengle as part of Tasting Australia 2024’s Dining Galleries program which pairs artists with local chefs in an event that bills itself as part restaurant, part art showcase.

Bellas sat down with Broadsheet to share her favourite things about Adelaide, the wine bar she thinks should be best known for its cocktail list, and her dream commission.

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Tell us a bit about your work and where we might have seen it.

It still blows my mind that my full-time job is basically just painting fun things on public walls
around Adelaide. Wild! I’ve been fortunate enough to make a living from murals for the past four years, with a longer stint in the hospitality industry before that.

My work varies a lot: from a two-storey mural depicting a basket of native fruit and flora (at Wilfrid Street Eco Village), to a Young Henry’s mural featuring a furiously thirsty gorilla (at Cry Baby), to a little doodle of a wine thief on Unico Zelo’s wine bottles. I think it’s safe to say I have commitment issues when pursuing a specific style of art, and I’m super okay with that.

What do you love about Adelaide?

Something I absolutely love about Adelaide is that it’s dominated by small businesses; whether
you’re popping down to your local sando shop, treating yourself at a nearby florist, or having a
cheeky vino at your neighbourhood wine bar, you’re always greeted by a friendly face and warm
service. One of my favourite things about Adelaide is our “support local” attitude, which has never been more important than it was after Covid.

Where’s your favourite place to grab a bite in Adelaide?

A few of my go-tos that never fail: the banana blossom at Peel St, literally anything from Parwana, pho from Pho Hong Tam, a fat Gang Gang burger and, (of course), the Central Markets where I pick up the obanyaki pancakes from Obun Chef.

Where’s your favourite place to drink? And what are you ordering?

I’m dangerously blessed to have my two favourite bars also be my locals and those are Good Gilbert and Alt Wine Bar. At Gilbert’s I’m ordering a funky white wine or a bright chilled red. And at Alt, despite its exceptional wine list, I can’t get past the cocktails, so I’m ordering the Sidewinder or Holy Water!

What’s one of the city’s most underrated spots?

Port Adelaide is very underrated. For starters it has such a rich street art scene, largely due to Wonderwalls Festival, showcasing large works by both local and international artists. Couple this with its heritage architecture and cobbled laneways, and you have this charming historic town where the old meets the new.

Tell us about a venue or street in Adelaide where you would love a commission for a mural?

I would really love to have a go at painting a large mural on a horizontal surface, like the rooftop of a large building or a basketball/tennis court. I think it would be an interesting challenge working on a large area captured from an aerial perspective! I would feel like a tiny human running all over a giant canvas, which amuses me.