Sunday History Photo / Person

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 22, 2012 at 07:02
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Kevin Charles Hart was born in Broken Hill, NSW, Australia in 1928. His early years were spent on "Larloona" a sheep station, around 130kms from Broken Hill, learning by correspondence school. He was drawing from a young age, illustrating his homework at seven and progressing steadily in his talent.
A self-taught artist, His preoccupation with art and the Australian outback started early and the young miner worked a double life - toiling during the day and turning to his canvases at night.
In 1960, at the age of 32 he married Raylee June Tonkin, 19, and together they had five children. He continued to paint and took art classes to help formalise his technique. In 1962 he was discovered by Kim Bonython, a gallery owner from Adelaide, and also a speedcar owner/driver in 1950's, so it was then his popularity as an outback artist began to climb.
His creative spirit knew no bounds, experimenting with "performance art" years before it became fashionable; dropping paint from hot air balloons, creating ice sculptures and even using a cannon to distribute paint on his chosen medium.
Perhaps his most famous moment came with a series of television carpet commercials. He continued to experiment with art techniques all his life. Mainly working in oils and acrylics, Pro used any tool or method to achieve the desired outcome for his work.

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Thanks to a good friend Claire Brady for the 2 photo's above.

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He drew upon techniques of layering, chiaroscuro, glazing, scumbling, scratching and Alla prima. Pro was also a sculptor working with welded steel, bronze and ceramics.
In 1976 he was awarded an MBE for his services to art in Australia. In 1982 he received an Honorary Life Membership of Society International Artistique for outstanding artistic achievement. This is granted to only one artist per continent and in 1983 he received an Australian Citizen of the Year Award.
Outside of painting, Pro collected vintage cars and a variety of motorbikes. was an "A" grade pistol shooter, loved music and inventing different kinds of engines and machines.He was the proud owner of a Rodgers electric pipe organ, which was said to be the largest of its kind in Australia.

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He was a fervent opponent of gun laws in Australia, maintaining that everyone had a right to take it like a man. He once suggested that members of the Australian Labor Party and the Greens be thrown aboard a canoe in the middle of the Tasman Sea, with nothing more than a broken oar and rusted compass.
In December 2005 Pro was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
March 28, 2006 at 11:24AM Pro Hart died at his home in Broken Hill NSW.

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Reply By: daz (SA) - Sunday, Apr 22, 2012 at 08:27

Sunday, Apr 22, 2012 at 08:27
Well done Doug A good read,
Pro probably would have won an eccentric award if they were ever presented.
AnswerID: 483809

Reply By: Fred G NSW - Sunday, Apr 22, 2012 at 09:22

Sunday, Apr 22, 2012 at 09:22
One the more unique experiences I have had in the outback, was spending a few hours touring the Pro Hart Gallery in Broken Hill a couple of years ago. Should not be missed if in the area. I have one of his famous outback scenes in the form of a jig-saw puzzle, available at the gallery.
The detailed work on his RR is just amazing.

AnswerID: 483813

Reply By: Off-track - Sunday, Apr 22, 2012 at 13:25

Sunday, Apr 22, 2012 at 13:25
Another good one Doug.

An additional side bit from Wiki;

He was nicknamed "Professor" (hence "Pro") during his younger days, when he was known as an inventor.
AnswerID: 483831

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Apr 22, 2012 at 23:02

Sunday, Apr 22, 2012 at 23:02
Doug - Good info, interesting subject. Now you've got me scrambling to find out what chiaroscuro, scumbling, and Alla prima all are.

Sad to hear he died from MND. Horrible, horrible disease. Pray you never suffer from it. Pro Hart was relatively lucky, in that he died quickly from it.

I had a mate from the workshop adjoining mine, die from MND. It took him 12 yrs to die. First signs were slurred speech, then he just went downhill from there, ended up in a wheelchair, unable to even lift his arms, with his wife spoon-feeding him.

On a death sentence, but couldn't die quickly, or indulge in termination to end his misery.
He had life insurance, but had to die of "natural causes" or effects of disease, before his wife could get any money.
As a result, they had to endure poverty for a decade before he died. No-one should have to endure what John went through.

Cheers - Ron.
AnswerID: 483876

Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 00:23

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 00:23
Very interesting read, thanks once again Doug.....

Simba, our much missed baby.

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