Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meet Pierre Hardy. Muralist Renown.

Pierre Hardy was born in 1961 in Canada’s National Capital, Ottawa. As an emerging artist fascinated by environmental design and architecture, he decided early on to have his art serve a large public by favouring mural art. Even before obtaining his bachelor degree in visual arts from Université du Québec in 1988, he started producing large-scale works on the walls of the cities of Eastern Canada. Since then, he has continued to delight the heart and enchant the eyes of the millions of people who can see his hundred or so outdoor murals in North America and abroad. As the years went by, the subjects of his figurative murals have transformed: to his early trompe-l’oeils succeeded wildlife scenes, allegories and historical recreations. Today, Pierre creates “peoplescapes” on the walls of urban and rural communities, big and small, that call upon his creativity. This concept, his most innovative to date, allows him to showcase people and their history in a mural produced using cutting edge techniques that will ensure its preservation, thus becoming, in turn a significant element of their artistic and cultural heritage.

« Be bold! » Pierre has never forgotten this precious advice given to him by Agnes Evan, artist and professor at the Ottawa School of Art, in 1985. Both theme line and principle, this advice has fed his inspiration and drove him to continually surpass himself. As he says so aptly, “My best mural is always the one I am about to produce!"

Inspired by the post-war French muralists and their works where art and advertising harmoniously combine, Pierre has contributed to the revival of mural art in North America in the 1980s. Among the first to use computer-assisted creation, which he introduced in his university, he was proud to see Development, his first exterior mural, inaugurated in 1985 by Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau, just like he keeps with emotion the letter written to him in 1992 by the apostolic nuncio to Canada praising his vision of Marguerite d’Youville, founding mother of the Grey Nuns, in his mural, A Past to Celebrate… A Future to Fashion, created in Pembroke, Ontario, city of the Congregation’s provincial motherhouse.

Since the beginning of his career, Pierre is a tireless promoter and champion of mural art, a specific form of artistic expression whose conceptual approaches and application techniques are closely intertwined with the dynamic characteristics of the environment we live in. Indeed, murals are two dimensional paintings that require a three-dimensional space in order to find their true essence. Moreover, mural painting involves inherent social obligations and formal strategies that extend beyond the scope of a purely personal vision to a broader form of communication that is often rooted in shared social trends and beliefs. For murals are of public domain, they belong to all who appreciate them: they give a free spirited, wide open access to the imaginary. They are paintings you can touch or be touch by, paintings that are larger than life.

Because murals are a reminder of art’s ability to act as a record of people, place and time, their preservation is of great importance. With his typical pioneer spirit, Pierre keeps abreast of the latest conceptual approaches and state-of-the-art production techniques, and research-development is at the heart of his process. Thus to create his large peoplescapes, he uses cutting-edge image sublimation application on advanced materials. Expert in all application, varnish and finish techniques, he uses since 1990 prefabrication processes adapted to the specific conditions of the sites where the murals will be created.

Pierre makes his technical expertise serve his deepest motivating purpose: the recognition of mural art as a noble and distinct art form. His action in favour of this recognition builds first on the promotion and preservation of the works. The goal is to make them known through all possible means so that they will take their place in society, a recognizable and recognized place for their artistic form as well as for themselves as art objects. It is at his instigation that Yahoo created in 1998 the “muralist” and “mural art” categories in its research engine. Secondly, the major murals produced during the last 30 years are in need of well-deserved conservation and restoration, being dynamic and iconic testimonies of our community histories, and of the evolution and transmission of traditions and knowledge. Knowing our past and capturing our present in images allows us to orient our possible futures. For more than three decades, murals have seen their number multiplied and their popularity grow as strong identity and belonging signs in our contemporary urban environments whose continuous change could sweep us away. Just like we are proud and happy to have found intact the splendid murals of the prehistoric caverns — living messages of our remote and vigorous ancestors —, mural art today, among which the artworks of Pierre Hardy, is and will be a telling sign of the vitally of our vision and the playfulness of our spirit.

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  1. Do you have any articles on preservation or mural production techniques?
    We have a mural project in our town, and we are always interested in preservation:

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Sorry Jane, but I am unable to help you on this one. Lets hope that any reader with information on this topic can check out your website ( respond by that venue...or even post beneath this comment.


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