An Art Legend Retires

After 35 years of shaping Art Students’ knowledge and skills at the Frankston campus of what is now known as Chisholm Institute, Jon Hatfield is retiring to focus on his own art … and fishing … and drinking … painting …

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His special brand of humour will be missed in C block, but his legacy will live on through the students who apply his teachings and follow his modus operandi when creating their works.

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Jon set up very strong systems for the smooth running of the sculpture rooms. He made the work flow easy for those who will follow, with his procedures, templates, guides and recipes.

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Jon introduced me to processes involved in making a bronze sculpture, including preparing the wax used to model the shape, how and where to place the runners that would be burnt out in the kiln to create hollows through which the molten bronze would flow; and how to encase them in a tube of brick dust and plaster.

He loved a challenge and wasn’t fazed by the intricacies of students’ more ambitious ideas.

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By following his instruction we were highly likely to experience success.

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There was great excitement around the Art School when a bronze pour day arrived…

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-or a bronze pour night. Then he showed us how to release the sculpture from the mould, and to clean it up.

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There were many other skills I learnt from Jon, such as stretching a canvas, how to make my own easel and creating frames for my paintings.

As I continue to explore the possibilities of sculpture, I shall reflect on the lessons Jon taught through demonstration and ‘fireside chats’. And that reminds me of a funny story…

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Thanks for the memories, Jon, and thank-you for imparting your love of unravelling the sculpture puzzle. Enjoy your retirement.

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