Jessica Le Clec’s subject is artist David Hart. The son of world-renowned artist Pro Hart, he was raised in Broken Hill in outback NSW. He has two galleries on the Sunshine Coast where he now lives with his wife and children.
‘The Hart family history and David’s personal story have always fascinated me,’ says Jessica Le Clerc. ‘They are from a small farming community like myself and grew up on the land. Yet they still encouraged art and expression in way that has affected our country deeply.’
‘When I sat with David for the first time and listened, I didn’t imagine that his story would be so full of “real life”. I wanted to do justice to that in the portrait. The landscape on his back is still growing, still being told. A really spectacular landscape is organic, messy and changing – much like our own stories.
‘I also wanted to acknowledge the legacy of his father Pro. The focus of the portrait is where David is looking. He stands amongst a swarm of dragonflies (his father’s famous symbol). They are a part of the path he will always wander but they’re not affecting his vision.’
Born in Rochester, Victoria in 1981, Le Clerc is from a fourth-generation Australian dairy farming family. Now based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she teaches art classes to children and adults. She also works in commercial illustration and design. As her four young children get a little older, she is starting to paint full-time.