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Messy artist had cheeky signature

His grave stone is a copy of the dragonfly with his signature that many television viewers would remember from his carpet cleaning ads.

Pro Hart's grave site at Broken Hill cemetery. Photo: Karen Brien.

Even more memorable were the heavily accented words spoken by his cleaning lady when she gets down on her knees to scrub the masterpiece, made from wine, spaghetti, sauce and even a cake.

"Oh, Mr Hart! What a mess!"

Now it has been remembered in stone for all time, but there was so much more to Kevin Charles Hart than just a 30 second advertisement for carpet.

Born in Broken Hill on 30 May, 1928, he would eventually become known as the father of the Australian Outback painting movement. He earned the nickname 'Professor', shortened to Pro in his younger years when he became known as an inventor.

Developing as a self-taught painter, he used acrylics and oils, opting for his paintbrushes and sponges to depict rural town life, political statements, nature and spiritual topics. As a sculptor he worked with materials such as welded steel, bronze and ceramics.

He used a number of unusual techniques in his art work, including balloon painting and cannon painting, the latter seen in the well known carpet ad as he painted his dragonfly.

He soon became a household name and received a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1976 and an Honorary Life Membership of Society International Martinique in 1982 for outstanding artistic achievement. Then he received an Australian Citizen of the Year award in 1983 due to his charitable work and generosity.

He had a unique signature on his paintings, inserting DNA from his cheek cells to ensure his investors got what they paid for - an original Pro Hart artwork.

The gravestone of Pro Hart in Broken Hill cemetery. Photo: Karen Brien.

His interests included collecting vintage cars and motorcycles and he continued his inventions of different engines and machines. A committed Christian, he spent many hours reading his Bible and was the proud owner of Rodgers electric pipe organ, said to be the largest of its kind in Australia. It was installed in the Pro Hart art gallery as a tourist attraction.

In his later years, Pro suffered from motor neurone disease and was unable to paint in the last six months of his life. He died on 28 March, 2006 and is buried in Broken Hill cemetery. He was 77 years old.


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