Monday, April 27, 2009

Pro Hart (thanks Dave)

I have no idea who Pro Hart is. My friend gave me the name before we went to Australia.

I don't even know if it's male or female.

I'm kind of excited to find out. Let's go talk to Lord Wiki......


It's a boy!

He's a painter.


I don't think I've done any painters yet.

Pro Hart used to be Kevin Charles Hart.

He was born on 30 May 1928.

Birthday Website Time

He's a 1 in numerology. That's the same as Tim! The 1 is about independence and leadership.

Hart was a Gemini. I have a Gemini niece. She's seven years-old and is already excellent at reading Hebrew. My little niece is bilingual! What does that have to do with being a Gemini? Nothing. I just wanted to brag about my niece.

This astrology website describes my Gemini niece quite well in this sentence. When they are good, they are very attractive; when they are bad they are more the worse for being the charmers they are.

Hart was born in Broken Hill, New South Wales. I wouldn't mind going to Broken Hill. Tim and I want to go to the outback someday. I'm not sure if I want to go to Alice Springs or Uluru though. I think I'd rather go somewhere different from where most international tourists go. Although I think Broken Hill is a little touristy too. But we probably don't want a place that's completely isolated and obscure.

I just looked at Google Maps. If we're ever going to do a driving trip to Broken Hill, we should probably do it a time when we make Adelaide our city destination. It's six hours from Adelaide. It's about fifteen hours from Sydney and ten hours from Melbourne.

Anyway, back to little Kevin Charles.

He got the nickname Pro because people called him professor. Cute.

He grew up on a sheep station. He did the correspondence school thing. I think he's the first person I've researched who's done that. I think when I tell some Australians that Jack is homeschooled, this is what they picture. Although I think some American homeschoolers participate in correspondence school for their homeschooling. We don't. But who knows. Maybe someday we will. Maybe for Jack's high school years.

In his young adult years, Hart worked in the mines. Mining used to be central to the economy in Broken Hill. Well, it still is. But because of dwindling resources, they're trying to emphasize tourism as well.

Lord Wiki says Hart began painting at age seven. I don't get that really. What exactly does it mean? He used paints for the first time at that age? I doubt it. Jack would have him beat there. He painted for the first time when he was around a year old. Maybe it just means this is when painting became one of Hart's primary talents/hobbies.

In 1958, he started painting full time. He would have been thirty. Four years later, he had his first exhibition in Adelaide. In between all that, he got married. The lovely couple ended up having five children.

Hart paints the outback. He has a strong love for Australia and his town of birth. He chose to remain in Broken Hill, and opened up a gallery there.

Lord Wiki says Hart uses his DNA as a mark of authenticity in his paintings. What does that mean? Does he scrape his cheek cells and put them in the painting? His blood? Dandruff? Lord Wiki doesn't say.

Well, it seems we don't share a lot of political stuff in common.

He was very pro-guns. He wasn't a fan of the Labor party or Green Party.

He believed in Government Conspiracy theories. Well, I believe in some of those to a point. I don't take what any government says as truth and gospel.

He supported Pauline Hanson; even gave her money during her difficult time.

Hart reads the Bible and collected car stuff. Yeah, we really don't have much in common. He would probably fit in very well with that New Years/anniversery Party Tim took me too. They would have probably loved Pro Hart.

In his later years, Hart developed motor neurone disease.  He eventually died from it in 2006. I have to look up this disease. I never heard of it until my friend Michelle mentioned it when we were in Australia. I was surprised there was a disease out there I haven't heard of. I wondered whether it was really rare, or whether we had a different name for it in the United States. I meant to look it up earlier, but forgot. So, here's my chance.

Okay. According to Lord Wiki, this disease is what we Americans call Lou Gerhig's disease. I HAVE heard of that. It seems there are different types of motor neurone disease though.

Stephen Hawkings has it. I never knew what disease he had.

Now I feel much more educated.

All right. I'm done with Lord Wiki. Now I shall move on to other websites. Maybe I'll even look at some of Hart's paintings.

All right.

Here's a Pro Hart website. Oh. It's the website for his gallery.

Besides painting, he also did sculpture work with metal and stone.

And he invented stuff. He sounds a little bit like Da Vinci. But maybe most artists are like that. Maybe those who paint are often also good at inventing. Although my ex-boyfriend painted, and I don't remember him inventing stuff. He used most of his free time to smoke pot.

The website says Hart liked Chinese take-a-way. Well, we have something in common there. I like Chinese food. Oh, but NOT Texas Chinese food. The Chinese food in Fort Worth is pretty awful. I love NYC Chinese food. I wish I could have some now.

This website says he was disliked and mocked by the art mafia. What is the art mafia? Is it a real entity, or are they just referring to general art snobs?

This article here refers to the Art Mafia. It says they attacked a guy named Peter Toyne. Toyne is trying to stop counterfeit Aboriginal art and Aboriginal Art sweatshops. Someone didn't like that and they stabbed Toyne.

I'm doubting it's the same group who disliked Hart. Since Hart believes in government conspiracies, I'm guessing he has a touch of paranoia. Therefore, this art mafia might be more in his imagined persecution. Or maybe not. The world is full of snobs. But if there were snobs that rejected Hart and his work, it seems they didn't diminish his career too much. The website says he traveled the world meeting kings, queens, and other such famous folks.

All right. Now I'm going to look at his paintings. Hopefully, it will be easy to link from the website.

I'll find paintings that I like. This is like going to the art museum. I'm feeling so cultured lately. The other day I listened to opera, and now I'm looking at famous paintings.

So far, I'm noticing his paintings seem to have a lot of red in them. That's pretty cool. When I think of Australia, red is the color I think of...especially when I think of the Outback. I have an Aussie tour book called Catriona's Australia. It's full of photographs. I don't like the book though because the dominant color seems to be blue. It doesn't feel like Australia to me. Australia for me is a rusty red. Sydney could be blue though. I guess for me Australia is rusty red and Sydney is turquoise.

Okay. I'm being weird.

Well, it seems I can't link directly to the paintings. I can link to the category though. I like these mining ones. His work reminds me of a certain children's book illustrator. I forgot her name. Crap. I think it's Allison. I'll try to Google. Yes, it's Allison Jay. Her colors are very different from Hart, but the style looks similar to me. Or maybe not. Now that I see her paintings....I might change my mind. Maybe just the mining paintings remind me of her. The other stuff really doesn't.

Now I'm going to read an ABC interview. It was done in 2004--two years before he died.

Hart says Art's my life. I've got to be doing something every day.

I can sort of relate to that. I think I need to be doing something everyday. I put all this pressure on myself to have a post every single day. I think sometimes that this is too much. I don't need to put all this pressure on myself. I've made a new rule that if I'm a certain number of posts ahead, I don't have to do research (or other long drawn out posts) for that day. I can take a break! A few days ago, I was that many posts ahead so I took a few days off. The first day was nice. It was great to get a rest. I was excited to have a "free" day. But by the end of my break, I was bored and feeling a bit empty.

Even though it's hard work sometimes, I really love doing these posts. I love the research. I love writing.

I think when you have a hobby you truly love, you end up NOT wanting to take many breaks. I think if you enjoy the breaks too much, then it might be time to retire from that particular hobby.

This is cool. Hart says with his correspondence school, when he was asked to write something, he'd draw instead. And he says the teachers accepted this. Awesome! Wouldn't it be great if schools allowed children to express their knowledge in the way that suited them best. Some kids might take a multiple choice test. Some might write an essay. Some might do a painting or sing a song. Some kids might build something.

I know there's the idea that we all need to learn how to do a little bit of everything. I think there's some merit to that. But what if we kept that plan to a minimum and most people put their focus on their strengths instead? If you're good at math, you spent most of your day in math classes...with an hour or so of basics in the other stuff. If you're good at art, you spend most of your day in art class. I think schools would work out much better if they were like that.

Ah, he was kicked out of the mines. Yikes. I wonder why. He says he was doing a lot of sketching while underground. Maybe that's why.

He did this thing sometimes; dropped paint from airplanes. He dropped paint on Uluru. That was frowned on. I can't blame the frowning people. I do support graffiti type art in some circumstances. But Ulura? Uh, no. That's probably not a nice thing to do.

In the interview, he says that he doesn't know where the nickname Pro came from. So, was Lord Wiki lying to me? Using his imagination a bit?

Hart talks about how the mines were very dangerous.

He would draw on the walls of the mine; kind of illustrate stories of what the other miners had been up to. It sounds somewhat Aboriginal.

He says the paint he dropped on Uluru was biodegradable. I guess that's good.

He collects paintings. Hart says, If I liked something, I'd buy it. I wouldn't care about the name. I like that.

Someone named Jon Hart (maybe a relative?) says Critics I don't think at first were too happy about an artist who had a high output of work. I think Stephen King gets a lot of flack for that. People sometimes frown down on those who are prolific. If you're making too much of something it must be crap. Or you're just making a lot of stuff so you can make more money.

I'm prolific when it comes to writing. I always have been. I wrote four-five novels the senior year of my high school. I didn't get money for any of them. It's just writing was kind of like my therapy. It was my savior. At that point in my life, I HAD to write. I would lock myself in my room after school and write twenty-thirty pages. I'd finish a novel in about a month. Not everyone is like that. Some people work much slower. They take years to write a novel. I always thought there was something wrong with me. I thought my work would be better if I took my time. I tried SLOWLY writing a novel once. I lost interest in it quickly. I can't write that way. I can't do a little at a time. I have to do intense spurts.

I quit fiction writing eventually and went to blog-writing. I see Bloggers who struggle to post on a regular basis. It's like they have writing constipation. I have writing diarrhea. It just keeps coming out. That's how I end up ahead of myself with posts.

I don't think one way is inferior to the other. All of us writers work in our own different ways. Painters too.

This is romantic. His wife says, Every time Pro's had an exhibition on, he's always taken the children and I with him, because Pro's a real homebody and doesn't like being away from home. So I was very lucky there. That's incredibly sweet.

It also seems his wife had a lot of faith in his work. I think that's what probably gave him the courage to pursue a career.

Back to my last year high school year.....

We had moved to Nashville. The teachers at my new school were INCREDIBLY supportive of my writing. I think the librarian read every novel I wrote. And then one of the student teachers really stood behind me. I think having their support is another one of the reasons I did so much writing.

I think every writer, artist, singer, photographer, dancer chef, craftsperson, etc. needs someone standing behind them. It could be a parent, sibling, teacher, friend, spouse, aunt....whatever. I think the great thing about the internet is we all support each other. So those of us who lack support from family and nearby friends can get support from our online friends. It's really great!

The article talks a little bit about the art mafia. I think it IS just about snobbery. The interviewer says, Do you think it's because you're not the sort of bloke that they normally find on the artistic cocktails circuit? That could explain it.

Hart names who he doesn't like.....Greenies, blooming environmentalists and all those creeps. I give them a rough time. But he does say he cuts some slack for the genuine ones. The interviewer asks what he means by this. Hart says, Some of them are fair dinkum, some really feel for the things. So I let them go. But it's the stirrers! Oh, God! They're a pain.

I can understand that. I feel the same way about pro-life people. I think there ARE individuals who truly see a fetus as a baby. They really truly care and want to save a life. I might not agree with them on things, but I respect their compassion. Then there's the pro-life people who simply love drama. They love participating in the fight of "good" vs. "evil". They'll harass people, make disgusting signs, come up with offensive slogans, etc. I really don't think they truly care about the fetus.

And I see it with other groups: environmentalists, vegetarians, lactivists, anti-circumcision folks, health food fanatics, Christians, evangelist Atheists, etc. I think some of these people truly care about their cause. But other times, I think it's just about wanting to feel superior to others.

Okay, I'm going to go off on a total tangent here. Sorry. One thing I've changed my mind about lately is religion. I used to be against religion. I thought it was the cause of the majority of society's ills. Now I don't think so. I think religion is fine in itself. My feeling is that it provides an excuse for certain people to behave in a certain way. For good people, religion gives them an excuse to do good things. God wants me to bake a casserole for that family who lost their baby. God wants me to visit the hospital and hold the hands of all the sick lonely people. God wants me to give to charity. Bad people will say: God wants then to push my beliefs on others God wants me to blow up that building. God wants them me to lock my child in the closet and starve her to death. 

If there was no religion, these people would all still find a reason to do their stuff. The good people would still visit hospitals. The bad people would still blow things up.

So back to what Hart says, I think some environmentalists truly care. I think others just want a cause. And once they have that cause, they run with it. What am I? I don't know. I think I'm MOSTLY the good type of environmentalist. I do my eco stuff because I'm scared of what can happen to us all. I worry about our planet. But sometimes I can be a bit blind about it all. And sometimes I think I do think I'm a snob about it. Look at me. I don't use water bottles anymore. Look I have a reusable shopping bag. I truly wonder if I'm always caring about the environment, or if I'm sometimes just trying to uphold an image.

Hart is a bit paranoid when it comes to communists. He says the unions are full of them. Yeah. They're breeding them. They're everywhere, you know. Reds are... Yikes

I'm going to look at other websites now......

Ah! Here's a very recent article. It's about one of Hart's sons. Kym Hart says his dad was cracking jokes even when he was close to death. His wife was very fond of her famous father-in-law. She says, Kym's dad and I were close. Pro had a way about him. Yeah, he just had a way. That's very sweet.

Paul Lonergan, who wrote a tribute about Hart, explains more about the art mafia stuff. He says, He felt it was because he just didn't fit with their idea of what a proper artist should be. Which was left-wing, uncommercial and starving. That's unfortunate. I think creative people should be judged on their work, not what they look like or believe. I say this as a bit of a hypocrite though. I know my feelings toward certain celebrities have changed once I knew they were from a certain political group, or followed a certain religion. But often when that happens, I end up seeing their work again and I forget that I'm supposed to dislike them. An example would be Tom Cruise. We make fun of him and his Scientology. He can be a bit scary with all that. But I DO think he's a good actor. I think he can be a brilliant actor.

I'm going to end here. I'll leave us with a link to this blog. It has a picture of Hart's painted car. I think it looks awesome.


  1. Pro hart in action. is how most people of my generation will remember him, well actually we only remember his cleaning lady...

    "Mr Hart, what a messs!"

  2. Ben,

    Awesome commercial. At the end though I was thinking No! Don't clean it up!!!! But I guess it might start to smell bad.

  3. Ben...I remember the ads :)

    Here's the Chaser's War on Everything ~ Pro-Heart Memorial.

  4. Aussie in the USA,

    I LOVED that video. It was kind of touching. I was a little "vaclempted".

  5. Andrew,

    Thanks! I enjoyed seeing/reading that. How long did you stay in Broken Hill? Were you passing through on the way to somewhere else? Or did you stay for awhile?

  6. Dina, we were there for a few days. Interesting enough place. Mid winter, so quite cool. It was our destination, but we took a slow trip to get there stopping off a few nights along the way. First day of travelling north was 1st of July 2007 if you want to have a look in the archive.

  7. Andrew,

    Yes. I do want to look at the archive. Thank you!