John Hartman has been painting aerial views of major cities such as London, New York, Toronto, Montreal and Glasgow since 2003. Rather than zooming in on just one section of a city, he likes to show an entire metropolis and its organic relationship to the surrounding land and bodies of water. He sometimes rents small planes and takes dozens of digital images from up high, but will also find high vantage points to sketch alternate, and less aerial, views. He then imaginatively combines the digital images and his many sketches to create fascinating portraits of complex cities that are pulsing with life.
In a review Hartman's work has been described as "huge, seething reckless action" painting, and I can't help but see similarities in his spontaneous style to the expressive cityscapes of Oskar Kokoschka.
Calgary oil on linen 60"x66" 2004
Manhattan At Night oil on linen 60"x66" 2006
Vancouver oil on linen 66"x172" triptych 2006
New Orleans From Above, Looking South to Venice oil on linen 66"x 93" 2013
I think people and places create each other. I'm trying to create a sense that these are places that people live, that have stories.- John Hartman