In Memoriam — Harold Hardeman (Hardy) Hanson

Colleagues in UC Santa Cruz's Division of Arts have prepared the following remembrance of Harold Hardeman (Hardy) Hanson, a beloved member of UCSC's arts community since 1969. Hanson passed away on January 25.

We are saddened to learn of the death on January 25 of Hardy Hanson, professor emeritus of art. Hardy taught visual art at UCSC for many years and continued to create drawings, paintings and intaglio prints and show his artwork in a variety of galleries after he retired from the Art Department in 1994. He will be remembered for his sensitive teaching style, his intensive drawing classes, and his intricate explorations of color, line, and space. 

Hardy and his family moved to Santa Cruz in 1969. He joined the arts faculty that year, appointed by the department's first chairman, Gurdon Woods. Woods led the hiring process for Hanson's colleagues in those early days of the Art Department; colleagues included Patrick Ahearne, Don Weygandt, and Doyle Foreman.

Born on February 16, 1935, Hanson took his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Yale University, and taught at University of Southern California, and at California State University, Northridge before his appointment to UCSC. During the early 1970s, Professor Hanson was one of 23 UC faculty appointed to the University's Creative Arts Institute, designed to provide opportunities for sustained creative efforts. A lifelong painter, printmaker and sculptor, Hanson operated his own handpress since his undergraduate days, and had designed, illustrated, printed and bound limited editions of poetry by Eric Baker, Estelle Kurzen, and Douglas Clayton, as well as portfolios of his own drawings.

Always passionate about the foundational skills of drawing and painting, which were central not only into his output of intricate, multiple-stage color etchings, but remained at the heart of his teaching philosophy, Hanson has been recalled fondly by his many students over the years. Betsy Miller Anderson, director of the Museo Eduardo Carrillo, remembers Hardy as one of her favorite teachers from her UCSC experience. Book artist Felicia Rice paid tribute to Hanson in a recent statement:

Hardy Hanson was one of the three sponsors for my independent major and helped me get my first letterpress printing job in Santa Cruz (announcements for an art gallery on Cedar St.). His knowledge and appreciation of type and typography were rare on campus at the time. Without his support I might not have launched myself on my life's trajectory, certainly not in Santa Cruz. I look forward to attending his remembrance.

"I regard him as a fabulous artist, I truly do," added sculptor Jack Zajac, Hanson's longtime colleague and fellow Art Department member. "We were there at UCSC together until I retired. There's no one working in his way, with his vision. The things that he put together, some of them simple and commonplace, became objects of extraordinary distinction in his hands." Acknowledging Hanson's rigorous dedication to developing students' skills, Zajac noted that Hanson "held the point of view that drawing was fundamental." Hardy Hanson's passing has touched all who knew and worked with him. "This is a huge loss," Jack Zajac admits. "We are having a terrible time absorbing it."

In the tradition of Professor Hanson’s work and philosophy and his artistic focus, a new fund has been created to support UCSC students, faculty and visiting artists whose work remains true to his spirit. Donations may be made to:

The Hardy Hanson Memorial Fund,
c/o UC Santa Cruz Foundation, Dept. 44787
P.O. Box 44000
San Francisco, CA 94144-4787