Sunday, 18 January 2009

RIP, Tony

When I was a child there was this curious art programme on TV called Vision On. Curious because it was ostensibly aimed at deaf children, the co-presenter being a woman who signed and interpreted, and back in the early sixties this was totally groundbreaking. I have no idea how many deaf children actually watched it but I, and a lot of my hearing friends, certainly did.

The other presenter, a man called Tony Hart, was the reason we watched. He was the artist and it was he who inspired us to go out and look, really look, at out surroundings, then come back and make art for ourselves. He would work quickly with all sorts of different media and materials, without any flash or fuss, and transform paper, objects, everday things into wonderful little (and sometimes not so little) bits of art, all the while encouraging us to have a go ourselves.

He went on to do several other series after Vision On and I have fond memories of watching these with my own daughter, now a very talented artist herself. All in all he brought the joy of creating to British children for nearly fifty years on TV and provided the template for modern shows like Art Attack. I am sad that he's gone, but so glad that he was there as I started on my creative path.


  1. ((hugs))

    I understand

    Not the same exactly - but we had an art-man, Mr. Mihuta -- a PBS show called The Art Chest ... his kind, soft demeanor was so encouraging...

    So many of the old shows were not my own - but my children's and so there is a double-heart tug at the nostalgia of them being gone...

    thanks for the great memories, the love expressed, and for sharing such warmth in a [sometimes] cold world :)

    what we do reaches so far doesn't it?


  2. I loved Vision on and Hart beat etc and often sent my paintings to the show in the hope of being in the 'gallery'. I was lucky enough when i left uni to have one of my animations on the show.

    Thank you for reminding me of Tony Hart and those great inspirational kids shows of the 70's.

  3. I have never seen any of these shows! Wow...I missed out! Thanks for posting this! Very cool:)

  4. i too was sad to hear he'd died - i LOVED vision on and his other shows :o( but i'm thankful for his legacy and the wonder of youtube - as i can show my daughter the real grandaddy of artists on tv - she's an avid smart viewer :o)

  5. You know I think we got "Vision On" out here in Australia too. I seem to dimly remember the signing lady and the art - there were some terrific children's shows that came out of Britain in the 60s and 70s!

  6. I really enjoyed being introduced to Tony and the series -- I have fond memories of simple projects like these in my early grade school years. Thanks so much!