Robert Hannaford AM is an acclaimed Australian painter and sculptor, born and raised inrural South Australia in 1944. Hannaford is a self-taught artist. He began his career as an artist in the 1960’s working first as an advertising agency artist, then as a political cartoonist for the ‘Adelaide Advertiser’ eventually shifting his focus to fine art and quickly gained a reputation for his portraits and landscapes, still life and figurative work.
Over the years, Hannaford has painted portraits of many notable Australians, including former Prime Minister Paul Keating, Author Robert Dessaix, activist Lowitja O'Donoghue, Opera singer Joan Sutherland and conservationist Tim Flannery. His work has been exhibited widely in Australia and is represented in many public and private collections. Hannaford is known for his sculptures, including Don Bradman at Adelaide Oval and Queen Elizabeth II outside Parliament House, Adelaide.
Hannaford acknowledges the significant influence of South Australian mentors Des Hurcombe, Hugo Shaw, Hans Heysen and Ivor Heale. In his work as an artist, Hannaford often reflects on the valuable lessons and inspiration he gained from these influential figures throughout his career.
Drawing is the foundation of my art practice. One could say it is my primary mode of expression and it has been since early childhood. Drawing can be defined as using some object - pencil, pen, brush, charcoal, stone, to make marks on another surface - paper, canvas, clay, stone. There is no limit to what drawing can be - from detailed observational studies, simple outline, tonal atmospheric rendering or purely imaginative. Even writing can be understood as a form of drawing (expressing ideas). Perhaps what all drawings have in common is the expression of what I call 'seeing'. That is, what the mind has observed and represents. The quality of a drawing can be judged on how much and how well this 'seeing' is conveyed to the viewer.
Hannaford regards drawing as an essential part of life.
DRAWING IS THE FOUNDATION
Apart from his artistic pursuits, Hannaford likes to explore different parts of the world and has spent time working in India, Europe, and Africa. His other interests include Australian Indigenous culture, specifically that of the Ngadjuri people. He also has a keen interest in gardening and the propagation of endemic plants. Hannaford is a founding member of both the Bushland Conservation Company and Hester's Conservation Company, which are dedicated to preserving and protecting the natural environment.
In recognition of his contributions to the arts, Hannaford was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 and appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 2014. He continues to paint and exhibit his work, and is widely regarded as one of Australia's most talented and respected artists.
I have forever wanted to draw, paint and sculpt my reality. I am always amazed how such works expand my reality.