I found out yesterday that Tony Hart, English artist extraordinaire, died a week ago. Many of you will not know who he was, but the Brits will.
I remember watching Vision On, Take Hart and Hart Beat when I was growing up. I think I'm correct in recalling that Vision On had no talking at all (which these days seems incomprehensible!), and artists, including Tony, making all sorts of artworks during the show, some that the kids watching could try themselves. Tony could do enormous artworks on huge pieces of paper that at first you couldn't tell what they were. Gradually, the picture would be built up right before your eyes. He might've even used a paint-roller to do so! Take Hart was where Morph emerged - one of Aardman's earliest creations. I know Morph has been remade, but there's something about the new version of him that doesn't look quite "right". This must seem an odd thing to say about a plasticine figure, but the head looks odd on the new one. I much prefer the old version! If I could find a DVD (and admittedly I haven't looked yet past YouTube) of the classic Morph episodes, I'd buy two copies: one for myself and one for my niece. I think they're lovely little stories with some very effective claymation; a bit rough around the edges, but no less brilliant.
It's sad to think that it's taken Tony's death for me to think about this show again. I would talk about it with Australian friends from time to time. The animators would know Morph, but not Tony, and the rest knew neither. When I see the utter bilge on TV these days, I know a program like Take Hart or Hart Beat would be sneered at by broadcasters - "An art show for children? With no loud, overpowering modern music and flashing titles and hosts screaming at the top of their lungs like retards on cordial?! It won't sell!" It makes me angry that people wouldn't think such a gentle, charming, creative show had a place in making art a joy for children to participate in.
I wish I could've met Tony and shaken his hand and said "Thank you." I would not be able to articulate my gratitude beyond those two words for the excitement I'd experience as a child to watch his shows and see what could be created with the simplest materials.
Off-topic, but there should be a couple of arts this weekend, one Snape-related, one not.