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.