Hadyn has been a practicing artist for more than 40 years. We met on an art immersion to Fowlers Gap in 2016. I was a parent co-ordinator from the Mosman High School Art Committee. We took 22 students, 3 teachers, 2 art committee parents and Hadyn as our artist in residence. I’ve been assisting him ever since.
Initially we collaborated on his project, Locus Non Consequensia. The inaugural launch was at the Manly Arts Festival through Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney in 2017. It was fulfilling to be a part of something that had been inside his head for over twenty years. We’re continually looking for more locations and opportunities within Australia and overseas as this project is ongoing.
Working with Hadyn is like being with a University professor. I can ask him about anything and he’ll know the answer (except social media or hip hop). His knowledge of art history and his appreciation for it is staggering. There is always so much meaning within the work he creates. He’s incredibly driven and his art is precise, unlike his sometimes dishevelled appearance.
With his encouragement I’ve been absorbed in all three of his ‘An Historical Novel’ exhibitions helping him research Australian artists from the 19th and early 20th century. We’ve spent time with the dedicated staff at the NSW State Library and have also accessed online resources through the State Library of Victoria, QLD and ACT. We were at the NSW State Library so much that Hadyn invited Richard Neville, NSW State Library Director, Education & Scholarships to open his second exhibition in 2018, ‘An Historical Novel. (An Archive of Found Artefacts)’.
These exhibitions include paintings and associated letters, documents and objects, and represent an unholy but ultimately respectful set of variations on late 19th century and early 20th century Australian Art. Also included are short film parodies which are great fun to shoot and edit. Hadyn writes the scripts from what we’ve researched together and narrates them. We were contacted early this year (via Facebook) by Artist, Percy Leason’s son, Max. He had seen some of these short films and was happy that Australia hadn’t forgotten his father as the Leason family moved to the US in 1938.
In 2018 we concentrated on putting together his website. This has been my own walk through art history. Thankfully Hadyn has kept lots of things and we’ve had fun unravelling them. A trip down memory lane for him. This process has given me even more respect for him as an artist as not only has there been an abundance of press articles and art prizes but seeing it all together you can appreciate how his art practice continues to evolve. I can see a common thread that weaves through all of his work even though from the outside it could be perceived as him endlessly changing direction. I don’t agree.
2019 has been busy. Hadyn is Artist-in-Residence at the NSW State Library. The library set-up a light filled ‘stairway studio’ for him in the Mitchell Library. This has enabled Hadyn to paint while I access the archives. We’ve been able to do even more creative sleuthing and research as his popular installation ‘An Historical Novel. (The Sydney Artist Camps)’ from Mosman Art Gallery’s 2017 – 2018 Bush to Bay: Hinton and the Artists’ Camps has travelled to NERAM (New England Regional Art Museum) in Armidale. It was opened on 5 July by John McDonald and is on until 13 October. This exhibition ‘An Historical Novel. (An Archive of Found Histories)’ is the largest ‘An Historical Novel’ yet and features over 80 paintings, including many from the Hinton Collection. I travelled to Armidale to help install the show with Hadyn and loved the process of meeting and working with Curator, Belinda Hungerford, the incredible gallery volunteers and the energetic ‘Packsaddle’ fundraising team.
Hadyn will have another exhibition as part of the Artist-in-Residence program at the NSW State Library. It will be presented in a way that will emphasise the historicist nature of the work by delving into the Library’s collections to present a challenging and engaging exhibition. Historical in what is referenced but fictional where the opportunity arises, in the manner of a visual novella.
I can’t wait to be back in the Library for more research and to shoot more short films.
When I heard Ana speak at the opening of the ‘Bush to Bay: Hinton and the Artists’ Camps’, Mosman Art Gallery exhibition I was a little shocked. I had researched Ana’s work through her website out of curiosity and I was expecting her to be in her late 20’s. Not only is her work youthful and optimist but Ana is like that herself.
During the exhibition I was asked by the gallery to film Ana and Ashley Frost’s (another artist in the exhibition) ‘Artist’s Talk’. I found Ana so interesting, energetic and honest. She was also very happy to engage people after her talk and gave them time. We caught up for coffee a little later and she gave me one of her gorgeous drawings in return for the filming I did which I thought was very generous. We’ve been friends ever since.
I’ve found out a lot about Ana and I have huge respect for her. She went to National Art School after raising her three children and was awarded the John Olsen Drawing Prize. I love going to exhibition openings with her as she knows everyone and always remembers things about them and introduces people. She’s a good connector.
I enjoyed making short films of her talks as I always find out a little bit more about her art and creative life. She’s a natural artist.
2017 Bush to Bay: Hinton and the Artists’ Camps, Mosman Art Gallery. Artist talk short film
2018 Tom Bass Sculpture Prize, Juniper Hall. Artist talk short film
2018 Photographed art work for an art prize