Portrait of George Hardy
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by Gabriel Coakley
color, 30 min, 1995
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In this slice of "Americana" we meet George Hardy, an elderly self-taught artist, living on the island of Deer Isle, Maine. Born on Deer Isle in 1917, Hardy has continued to live there ever since. After making a living as a mason, he began his career in folk art at the age of 60. Isolated from art trends, with no formal training and only a seventh grade education, his work is concrete, raw and direct.
His sculpture is very much a part of his environment. From his roughened hands come the energized versions of wooden porcupines,tigers, red foxes with alligator teeth, blue howling coyotes, seagulls and song birds; although, Hardy is authentic, he is keenly aware of the Maine mystique and learned how to package it well for his summer customers. His relationship to these people is of interest because they help to support his family and the continuation of his work. Hardy's work follows a cyclical and seasonal rhythm.
The film carefully blends the sense of the environment with the pace of the life and work presented. The music provided by banjo player Ross Greenlaw and fiddler Rob McCall (both of Blue Hill, Maine) plays a pivotal role in the structure of the film. The filmmaker, who is also a Maine native, creates a very expressive mix of black & white as well as color film and video footage to tell this story. The film provides points of discussion for the study of American folk art and music and the environments that produce them.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Cine Golden Eagle Award, 1995 US Super-8 Video Festival, 1995