Harold Hanson
1935 - 2012
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Harold Hardeman (Hardy) Hanson
Feb. 16, 1935 - Jan. 25, 2012
Resident of Santa Cruz
Born and raised in Long Beach, California and a resident of Santa Cruz since 1969.
Educated at Long Beach City College, UCLA, and Yale University.
Art professor at San Fernando Valley Junior College; USC; Californial State University, Northridge; UCLA; and Professor of Art Emeritus, UCSC, College V, for 29 years where he was a core member of the UCSC Art Department.
At UCSC, Hardy formed lifelong friendships with numerous fellow colleagues and long-standing relationships with multitudes of students. Informed by his own interdisciplinary studio practices, he shaped the ambitions of hundreds of young artists by inspiring and validating a rigorous and genuine inquiry. Known for his profound dedication, he mentored many of his former students after graduation, even after his retirement, as he continued to show a genuine interest in their personal lives and creative aspirations. An articulate and inquisitive teacher, Hardy taught the visual fundamentals of drawing and painting informed by his own passionate convictions, sharp intellect, and humor. He believed that discipline, introspection, honesty and integrity served as the touchstones of the creative process and they formed the basis of his teaching philosophy. His serious approach to teaching demanded and brought out the best in his students.
A prolific and multi-dimensional artist, Hardy's works grace several museums and numerous private collections. In his solo exhibitions, his beautiful and intricate works revealed his cerebral interests and sensitive thought process. In a career that spanned six decades, Hardy's continued experimentation with scale, color, and form enabled him to explore timeless themes through the use of diverse mediums. This evolution culminated in a series of exquisite pointillist paintings that compose his "Meditation Series."
When not in his studio, Hardy's artistic expression took its most powerful and enduring form in the four-acre terraced garden surrounding the home he and his wife Ruth designed and built in 1971. An insatiable collector, he was an early proponent of "repurposing" as evidenced by the truckloads of reclaimed concrete slabs that defined the numerous terraces that transformed their hilly and rugged property. His fine art also emphasized the challenge of using found materials to express his vision of the world and its meaning. His creative vision ranged from the macro, sculpted hillsides, to the micro, intricate lapidary constructions. Hardy's fertile mind found no object too mundane to escape his use; from the common fish-hook to the obsolete transistor, anything in quantity was rich inspiration for his imagination. His endless patience was evidenced in his dozens of espaliered fruit trees and intricate wall-pieces composed of hundreds of repeated found objects.
Hardy and Ruth's shared passions included politics, travel, books and literature, and gardening. Lifelong Democrats, their passionate political expression was ignited during the Sixties and continued throughout the duration of his life. Their avid curiosity and open hearts lead to trips to Europe, India and Mexico as well as all over the States and a shared love of reading resulted in a home overflowing with books of every genre. Together their love and passion changed their raw hillside acreage into a rich source of visual pleasure.
A tender-hearted husband, father, and brother, his loyalty to family and friends was without equal. Hardy's humor, innate kindness, and ability to make everyone in his life feel special were only a few of his many extraordinary qualities. However, his love of Ruth formed the center of his life and their fifty-five years of love, laughter, and passion inspired all who knew them. He will be profoundly missed.
Survived by Ruth, his devoted and loving wife; his four loving children, Toby Hanson (Michael Elwell), Poppy Hanson (Edgar Ehu), Jody Hanson (Matthew Schiffgens), Peter Hanson (Mary); grandchildren Sarah Elwell, James Towey (Kymmi), Candace Redongo, Sarah Hayes, Kieran and Elsa Hanson-Schiffgens, Molly Hanson, Iris and Ruby Hanson; and great-grandchildren, Justice and Kekoa Towey. Also survived by his older brother Stewart Hanson Jr. (Rosemary), and his sister Beverly Samuelson (Jack), and nephews Steven, John and Timothy Firestone, and Andrew and Benjamin Neuhart.
In lieu of flowers, donations to The Hardy Hanson Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o UC Santa Cruz Foundation, Dept. 44787, P.?O. Box 44000, San Francisco, CA 94144-4787. In the tradition of Hardy's work and philosophy and his artistic focus, this fund will support UCSC students, faculty and visiting artists whose work remains true to his spirit.
A celebration of Hardy's life will be held in the spring.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Feb. 5, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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18 entries
July 3, 2018
Hardy Hanson was one of the best teachers I have ever had. I enjoyed going to class and listening to him talk while we drew. I remember his rabbits. He was a very nice and patient man and knew how to explain drawing. I didn't know it at the time, but I too was raised in Long Beach and attended LB City College. And I too became a teacher thanks to the kind of inspiration I received at UC Santa Cruz. I remember him well.
Ron Kelly
June 14, 2012
I am very blessed as my father was a photographer who passed in 2009 but left me a Hardy Hanson oil painting from when he knew him in the late 1950's or early 60's. The painting is 10' long X 4' high and it is simply colored stripes. It is among one of my favorite things my dad left me as well as original Knoll & Eames furniture.
Peter Rand
March 6, 2012
Hardy Hanson was my teacher.
He taught us four true things:
#1.If you spend the hours drawing you will learn to draw.
#2.If you have children you will love them with all your heart.
#3.If you work hard enough you can make a paradise in a wasteland.
#4. Ruth's chocolate frosting is really good on Ruth's chocolate cake.

Hardy and Ruth's household and life together are a gift to all who know them.
They share their enthusiasm with all of us.
1570–80;  Synonyms 1.  eagerness, warmth, fervor, zeal, ardor, passion, devotion.)

Thank You Dear Hanson Family
with all our love,
Eliza and Joshua, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Eliza&Joshua Baer
February 24, 2012
I recall very fondly that Hardy came down to where I was living and had set up a studio--in a cold wet ground floor space in a barn--when I started studying art. I didn't have money to take classes, having spent what I had on a BA in lit at UCSC and having just bailed from a graduate program in Comp Lit in Wisconsin. He allowed me to sit in on his drawing class (audit) and visited my "studio" to give me some critiques. He was largely responsible for helping me pull out of a difficult time. I later became his T.A. when I got into the 5th year program a year and a half later. He taught me how to see. Very lovely man. Elizabeth Burke
Elizabeth Burke
February 23, 2012
Hardy Hanson was my advisor at UCSC in 1974-75 and was the most sensitive, caring, honest and helpful teachers of my art education. He carried himself with a quiet and purposeful dignity. He will always embody, for me, the best that a teacher and artist can be.
David Bush
February 17, 2012
Happy Birthday to Hardy who enriched and changed so many of us.
Michael Colletta
February 11, 2012
Hardy Hansen was a Santa Cruz art star, a gentleman and beloved by the community. We will miss this intelligent man whose art is so inspirational.
Jane Gregorius
February 10, 2012
Hardy's life was like his art: filled with Presence: a recognizable but indescribable quality of uniqueness.

He enriched all of us who knew him, and helped us be better artists and individuals. He is so missed
Hedy Buzan
February 8, 2012
Maggie Punsalan
February 6, 2012
I know how much Sharon Cadwallader adored Hardy and Ruth and although she died, I want to say she would have been extremely sad and wanting to express her love to Ruth and the family. She spoke often about you as she was declining and I spent a lot of time with her the last year. She was a close childhood friend from Long Beach. With warm regards to you Ruth, Carli Stevens
Carli Stevens
February 6, 2012
My heart felt condolences to the family. God bless...
Jonathan Bini
February 5, 2012
My condolences and love to Ruth, Toby, Poppy, Jody and Peter. I have fond childhood memories of the Hansons going back to the Highland Ave. house. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Carrie Berger
February 5, 2012
Our condolences and love. The Faulkner Family, James and family,
Pasadena, Ca, Julian, Capitola, Ca, Matthew and family, Long Beach, Ca
and Angela Faulkner (wife of the late British Artist John...and former UCSC Art Teacher)
james faulkner
February 5, 2012
To the Family:

In this difficult time in your lives, may you find comfort in God's word, the Bible. James 4:8 encourages; "Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.

My condolences,
February 5, 2012
My heartfelt condolences to Ruth and the rest of the family. I have fond recollections of socializing on Meder in the early years and always respected Hardy as a colleague
Ronnie Gruhn
February 5, 2012
Hardy's support for me as a UCSC students was invaluable and helped set my life's course. Always interested, always a smile. I will miss seeing you on West Cliff, Hardy and so deeply regret not taking one of those opportunities to thank you. Thank you.
Felicia Rice
February 4, 2012
Lovely man.wonderful family, amazing wife. Blessings to all of you. Much love, Beth
beth purcell
February 4, 2012
Hardy will forever be in our hearts. Carol & Michael Colletta
Carol Colletta
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