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Across the Great Divide

THE STORY

Acclaimed Canadian artist John Hartman heard a story on a visit to Banff, AB. It was a story about four young men that humbly did what others before them had failed to do. This is a short film about how that story consumed his thoughts to the point that he has painted an entire exhibition about it. This short documentary is meant to accompany the exhibition and shine light on his creative process as he explores a new idea and turns this exploration into large and dynamic oil paintings.

The film was commissioned by The Whyte Museum and will screen there during the exhibition run from April 8 through June 11, 2017.
Director David Hartman would like to recognize the support of The Whyte Museum and the Ontario Arts Council in making this film.

This documentary follows Hartman as he transitions from his acclaimed CITIES body of work to a new collection of paintings in which he depicts very long sections of landscape in one continuous strip. Hartman’s celebrated 40­‐year career has been marked by similar transitions, which have resulted in a vibrant and evolving body of work. These periods of reinvention are both creatively challenging and exciting for the artist as he attempts to figure out what comes next. This film examines what is involved in this sometimes painstaking process, observing the aging artist as he pursues a new idea with youthful excitement and energy. Hartman says the new work “ feels like something I’ve been waiting all my life as an artist to do.” The documentary is about the artist’s creative thought process, and about where this thinking ends and something else takes over.


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John Hartman is my father. I have been had many opportunities to film him at work over the years and the following are a collection of shorts films I have made about him. These span from the beginning of my career to present day.

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Watch Hartman as he goes through the entire process of building an 8′ x 12′ canvas and eventually turns it into a vibrant depiction of Washington, DC.

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This piece was commissioned by the McMichael Art Gallery and depicts Hartman finishing a continuous landscape watercolour sketch.

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This was a camera test that I put together rather quickly.

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Congrats if you’ve made it all the way to the bottom here. This was my first paid gig!

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