Out In The Country


Sometimes everything seems connected.

Earlier in the week I picked up a bundle of Country Fair magazines from the 1950s – bought largely because of the wonderful cover illustrations by an artist unknown to me, namely John Hanna. Given my unfamiliarity with Mr Hanna’s work I made a note to investigate further. However before I got the chance to utilise the efforts of California’s finest in my search, the latest issue of Creative Review arrived – with an excellent piece, presumably written entirely for me, on Nick Asbury’s efforts in “filling in the gaps and rediscovering the career of Australian commercial artist John Hanna”.

Nick had arrived at the work of John Hanna in a similar way to me, through the acquisition of a number of back issues of the Country Fair magazine. Blogging about his find unearthered some further details about Hanna from other admirers of his work, but it wasnt until some time after his post that John Hanna’s son, Max, got in touch with Nick enabling him (and in turn us) to find out more about his father’s life and work.

It’s perhaps not surprising given the intentionally temporary nature of work such as this that it passes us by so easily, however it’s enormously rewarding when it does turn up on the radar because it’s work of such significant quality.

Nick sums it up far more poetically than me : “It would be sentimental to say that good work always gets rediscovered – no doubt much of it doesn’t.  Hanna’s work spent years consigned to people’s lofts and garages, evading the algorithms of Google and instead travelling the loose real-world network of car boot sales and second hand shops. But there was always a good chance it would resurface, looking as fresh as the day it was created.”

As an aside the contents of the magazines have some socially historic interest too!

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