Jerry Hardesty is a self-promoting professional artist. However in 2006, when he began the transition from a corporate career to full-time artist, he found it difficult to introduce himself that way. He loved his work as an artist and found that his skills and creativity were a natural fit. As he progressed rapidly in this work, his self-confidence and stature as a professional became a comfortable part of his buoyant personality. Now he proudly announces, “I am a full-time artist.”
Since then, Hardesty has moved on from painting representationally to nonobjective, lyrical abstracts. His current work is based on experimentation with color and texture as it relates to common themes of music, health, and emotions. Blending saturated colors and applying resin are his favorite techniques along with incorporating unique surfaces to produce textural depth and movement in his paintings.
Hardesty paints primarily on MDF panels or traditional canvas. Recently he built a storage rack for his paintings in his studio/garage annex. He is modest about his carpentry skills, though, and claims the rack only appears straight if you look at it with a tilted head.
Hardesty believes that being alone much of the time in childhood forced him to be creative, which prepared him for being a “loner” in the studio. In fact, he relishes his “alone time.” “Raspy sax and repetitive percussive beats of jazz” are his accompaniment as he expresses himself on canvas.
Visual arts in his public education eluded Hardesty, and he became a different kind of artist. He began singing in early childhood and aspired to becoming a professional singer. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance and taught music for several years. While still in high school, a visit to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City, Missouri opened his eyes and heart to the world of visual fine arts. He found the experience breath-taking!
Hardesty welcomes challenges and often commits to ones that are self-imposed. He paints daily, and recently completed “75 Paintings in 75 Days.” Through his efforts composing these small studies, Hardesty improves his knowledge, skills and techniques, which he can then can transfer to larger canvases.
Like many artists, Hardesty is often asked about his “muse,” about what inspires him. He answers with a quote by Chuck Close, “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Still Hardesty finds inspiration in his very first brushstroke or “mark” on canvas. Each new mark or layer is a response to the previous one. He especially enjoys discovering new tools for “mark-making” by roaming the aisles of hardware stores or the kitchen areas of department and home stores.
Hardesty’s mission is simple: “Paint excellent paintings; tell people about them; and sell these paintings to interested people, with the goal of making enough money to eat, drink wine, have a warm home, and not go naked.”
When not painting, Hardesty plays tennis with anyone tolerable of his inability. He likes having a book at hand wherever he sits in his home, and when weather permits, he enjoys biking. He has been a member of Toastmasters for several years, gaining confidence as a public speaker, which helps when he talks about his art.
Hardesty resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. He says he sometimes feels like a misfit, since neither he nor his wife were raised in Utah. They met on a blind date in Kansas City, Missouri many years agao. The Hardesty’s have three adult children and six grandchildren.