Dragonfly and Ant Series
The Dragonfly and Ant series came about as the result of a promise that David made to his father, Pro, to keep his secret techniques and styles alive after he passed away.
David’s father was also an artist who had a fascination with insects. Pro’s portrayal of insects, ants, and dragonflies in particular, extended from the joyous to the macabre both in paintings and sculpture. Growing up on a sheep sheering property in the outback of central NSW, influenced Pro’s work significantly. It was Pro’s fascination that also fostered David’s interest in dragonflies and ants as well. As a child, David would spend hours drawing these now iconic images in sketch books and watching his father paint and draw. Unfortunately, Pro passed away at his home in Broken Hill, NSW, in March 2006 from Motor Neurone Disease. Briefly, before Pro Hart’s passing, David made a promise to his father that he would keep his secret techniques and styles alive after his death; this promise has pushed David to further develop the series into his own expression.
David remembers his father Pro would quite often set up a video camera in front of his easel and video tape different techniques and styles as he painted. wanting to teach and mentor David, Pro would talk to him on camera as he explained what he was doing and the purpose behind certain processes, then send the tapes to him for safe keeping. The objective behind these instructional videos was not for Pro to recreate himself in David’s work, or for David to copy him, it was purely because Pro saw a unique gifting on his sons life from a very early age. Pro invested his most precious knowledge into David to ensure his lifetime of painting discoveries and techniques would never be lost, but continue on through David’s own expression.
In nearly all of the styles and subjects that David paints, there are subtle elements of his father’s secret techniques. David has been left with an incredible responsibility to his heritage, and he feels that it’s up to him now to keep these styles alive. More than that, he sees his challenge is to take his father’s secret techniques to new heights and to push through the boundaries of experimentation and growth as he adapts and integrates them into his own style.
David’s Dragonfly and Ants series are quite different to the images painted by his father. David has introduced mixed mediums to his work, and uses acrylic bases as the background to create a shiny, slippery finish. He then builds the insects using layers of glazing, which are then rubbed away then re applied; this allows the image to emerge like light from the darkness. Shadowing is then added to create the illusion that the insect is floating on top of the canvas, giving the completed work a wonderful depth of field. Both the Dragonfly and Ant series, and the continual evolution of style and technique used to create them, insures these subjects will remain among the most identifiable and iconic series of David’s body of work.