Between A Rock And A Hardeman Place
By Frank Peebles on September 20 2016
The impending passing of Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie hits especially close for the country’s creators.
“I hope that all of us who have the audacity to call ourselves artists will find in ourselves the capacity to do what Gord Downie has done,” said Prince George painter Corey Hardeman, moved by the singer saying goodbye to Canada on a final concert tour despite terminal cancer.
“I hope we all courageously and relentlessly pursue our work,” Hardeman said. “I hope for all our lives we take our failing bodies and tired souls and force them out and on, and push and push and push because the life of a human being, even the long life of a long lived human being, is not enough. It’s not enough. Go, go, go.”
Hardeman is easily one of the biggest names in the region’s arts community. She has illustrated books, been a court sketch-artist and won awards for writing about that experience, represented B.C. at National Art Battle. In almost every notable way a Prince George viewer can see a painting, hers are there. She’s held paint tubes in her mouth to keep them from freezing outside in winter because her home was too small. A marriage dissolved. A life-partner died. All of it was turned into intense art.
“I guess what it comes down to for me is that making art is how I love the world, and how I love my life, and it’s the thing I am best at and the thing I am most willing to give my time and attention and thought and dedication to,” she said. “And as I get older my options get narrower; let’s face it: this is what I am doing, and I will be doing it to the best of my ability until I die. One life is not enough time to perfect a craft. You’ve got to go, go, go. All the time. It’s a breath and a prayer and a joy and the hardest work imaginable and the biggest frustration and a hell of a way to make a living.”