There is no doubt that one of David Hart’s greatest influences was his father and art mentor, Pro Hart. David says that he has never officially had an art lesson, but more what he would describe as exposure to opportunity, techniques and self-discovery. He believes that art is something that cannot be merely taught, nor something that can simply be learnt; he believes that art is a gift that already exists deep within a person’s soul. The only thing that can be taught is technique, and the only thing that can be learnt, is commitment to experimentation and discovery. In David’s opinion, this is the key to unlocking hidden gifts and potential. Influence should inspire people to explore what might be possible beyond their own boundaries, and should never be a repeat of someone else’s discovery. You can learn from people, and even apply similar techniques to them, but you need to apply them through your own expression and discover ways to push them further to create new ideas.
Throughout his childhood and teens, David spent countless hours watching his father at work and studying various techniques, often just sitting beside him, and talking as any father and son would. Often their time was spent painting side-by-side in Pro’s studio, or sculpting, and even messing around with pottery and clay. Pro never forced art upon David and he never told David how things should be done. David says the greatest gift his father ever gave him was the opportunity to discover art for himself. Pro provided the environment for exposure to mediums and techniques; discovery was left up to David.
David believes influence must be turned into inspiration for personal discovery, and that experience and exposure must push people to develop their own individual technique and style. The benefits of Pro’s influence and encouragement were greatly impacting on his art, but he has also benefited from his lifetime of exposure to artists who he was fortunate enough to meet as a young boy in his family home, some of whom have gone on to become Australian art icons. Possibly the second greatest influence on David’s art career, is the art of Jackson Pollock. Aside from his father, Pollock is the single greatest outside influence on him; he can still recall the first time he saw a Pollock painting.