PRO HART AN AUSTRALIAN ICON
I was very young when I was born was artist
Pro Hart's quick response to anyone who asked his age and this first retort to any interviewer. The statement depicted the amazing wit and humour of this talented genius. Kevin Charles Hart was born in Broken Hill, a small outback mining town, on may 30th 1928 and his early years were spent on the family sheep property "Larloona Station" near Menindee. Pro Hart first real brush with art was at age seven, when correspondence school lessons and school of the air was thrust upon his carefree young life. Even in those formative years Pro preferred to illustrate his point with brush rather than pen.
Pro Hart's family moved to Broken Hill in 1940 so Pro and his brother Bob could attend Marist Brothers college. He completed his education and started work in the mines. After a twelve hour shift he would pursue his artistic interests, often painting long into the night and on weekends. This period in Pros life forged a strong Christian spirit and his compassion for the 'ordinary folk'. The time underground instilled in him a deep passion to record via his artistry the realities and harshness, not only of a miners lot, but life in general.
With this interesting background it is no wonder that as an Artist, Pro Hart reflected the true character of Australia and Australians. His paintings depicting the vastness of the outback with its harsh landscape and even harsher living conditions prompting deep conflicting emotions of beauty, silence, loneliness and wonder. Other great areas of inspiration are the long sandy beaches with people at play and the cosmopolitan metropolises with workers hurrying about their, seemingly, never ending business. Pro Hart art captures a unique history of Australia its people and their lifestyle.
When asked about his paintings
Pro Hart would say "I like to exaggerate what's there, the characteristics, the people, the situations in my art, how people live, work and play. I love going to race meetings just to watch the people, they really let their hair down, it gives me great inspiration". When asked about his political paintings Pro retorted "if I said what I thought sometimes, I might get sued so I paint to show what is going on, to bring out the truth and make people aware"
"Artists need insight, they need satisfaction, they need to give a message in their creations and I believe people should be able to understand what they are seeing. A work of art is a message and I like to ensure that message is delivered."
Pro Hart is Australia's most loved and colourful artist, his paintings are in numerable collections world wide, he has illustrated 14 books, has had 19 International exhibitions, has been reproduced on cards, prints, limited edition prints and calendars yet he still said, just before his death in March 2006, "I am still to reach my peak".
In recognition of his outstanding service to art, in 1976 Pro Hart was award the distinction, Member of the British Empire' and more recently admitted to the Order of St John as a Serving Brother by Her Majesty the Queen of England.