hart times

hart hall

Do you remember Take Hart (and it’s later incarnation, Hart-beat)? Tony Hart was the art guy for a generation; famously named after three body-parts, he could do near anything with corrugated cardboard and poster paint (just as his caretaker Mr Bennett could always be trusted to get his foot stuck in a bucket), though most of us watched it for Morph, the little brown plasticine guy who could phase through tables but nothing else, and of course The Gallery. “Now it’s time for the Gallery.” For those Americans who don’t know, this was where the work of Britain’s young artist boys and girls was displayed to a backdrop of lift music and unpredictable camera-movements. Kids up and down the land who had submitted their work would sit anxiously, hoping their drawing of their cat would bring them a moment of fame. Kids who drew all the time. Kids like me. But not me.

I never submitted anything to the Gallery, because they had one infamous proviso: you will never get it back. “Pictures cannot be returned,” he warned us. So I did not send Tony Hart any of my drawings, preferring to wait until the internet age to start a sketchblog, and forego the music. I wonder what they did with all those drawings? Do they still exist? Does Tony Hart keep them locked in some underground storage facility? One day, they’ll surface; he or his ancestors will go through them and find an original Tracey Emin aged 7 (“this is everyone I ever ate crisps with”) or one by the 8 and three quarters year old Damien Hirst with his earthworm suspended in pritt-stick glue. And they’ll be worth millions.

Oh, the drawing? Sorry, yes it’s Hart Hall, UC Davis, and has nothing to do with the art-loving Tony at all. Drew and painted it today at lunchtime while escaping slowly moving shadows.

7 thoughts on “hart times

  1. E-J says:

    Very enjoyable detour down memory lane there. I too was deterred by the idea of my pictures not being returned, and never sent one in.

    I rather like the idea of having the Gallery music ponkling away in the background as I browse your blog! ;-)

  2. Pica says:

    Hart Hall’s my favorite building on campus.

    It’s funny, I’d be a lot less bothered these days about stuff not being returned than I was at an earlier age — for me now it seems to be mostly about process not product. But maybe that will change if I ever get any good.

  3. Sam says:

    Morph was amazing. Absolutely amazing.

    As a child I always thought the Gallery music was scary.

    But I also thought most of the music in Red Dwarf was too. So go figure.

  4. Stephen Gardner says:

    Great work Pete, I was a huge Vision On fan but also never submitted because I always wanted to keep my drawings. I’ll be back to visit your site again. I’m English now living in Brooklyn.

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