The miner turned artist is one of Australia’s most endearing characters; an iconic, artistic powerhouse and the epitome of your larrikin Aussie bloke. He was the people’s painter.
It’s as amusingly predictable as it is confounding that it would be the whining lamentations of a cleaning lady from an 80’s TV commercial for stain resistant carpets ‘Oh Mr Hart, what a mess!” that would make Pro a household name.
His iconic dragonfly, so richly rendered out of chocolate cake, raspberry sauce and lashings of vino all generously applied by Pro’s belly, was how most people came to understand his style.
Few of his new fans were to know that Pro Hart was less known for his wild abstract expressionism (on carpet or canvas) and much better known as one of the greatest outback landscape painters of a generation.
It’s hard to put self-taught Pro in one category; his artistic sensibilities required that he tried new things as much as the evolution of time does the same.
What does hold true from the ads and across all his styles is his generous use of colour. It’s his rich tones of the earth and sky and river and trees that defied anyone calling the outback dull or featureless. Not in Pro’s world it wasn’t. His pallete was as bold and colourful as the characters in his beloved mining towns.
Examples of Pro Hart’s diverse works
Pro in his studio The Picnic
The Fabians Wildflowers
The Creek The Stagecoach