Harley Hahn
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Harley Hahn

Cleveland School

Art Factory Mural

Editorial - Unfair Distribution of
Talent: Surrogate Cartoonist Act

How Much Is My
Painting Worth?


Students Letter

Artist from Iran


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Harley Hahn Art Center

Welcome to the Harley Hahn Art Center, where you'll find a variety of interesting essays and exhibits.

Understanding Abstract Art

Some people are uncomfortable with abstract art, because they think they are supposed to be able to find deep, meaningful thoughts in something that looks like visual gibberish. This doesn't have to be the case. It is possible to feel comfortable with abstract art, and to have a worthwhile experience looking at it.

"The purpose of this essay is to explain how, over time, art has evolved to become more and more abstract, and why this is important. My intention is to explain the goals of abstract art, and to help you learn how to enjoy it..."  (continue reading)

The Abstract Art Interview: The Artist's Language

"Over the years, I have been interviewed many times. Four of these interviews, however, stand out in my memory as being most extraordinary. They are the long, fascinating conversations I had with radio host T.D. Mischke. Let me invite you to listen to Interview #4, which is devoted to abstract art. Mischke calls this show The Artist's Language. ..."  (continue reading)

Harley Hahn Paintings

As I stood there, looking at the paint and the brushes and the blank canvas, it occurred to me that I could do the painting myself. "Why not?" I asked myself. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, but that has never stopped me. Somehow, I managed to fill the canvas with paint and, although the result was far from professional, it pleased me. After all, I had done it myself. Since then, I have created a number of paintings and — I hope — improved my technique.

"I believe that good paintings are like poems or stories or books: that it is possible to invoke feelings in another person that are similar to the feelings you felt when you created the work..."  (continue reading)

The "Art Factory" mural

In 1985, I was a medical student in Toronto, Canada. One evening I visited an artist whom I had met in the course of my work. (In fact, he had been one of my patients.) He lived in downtown Toronto in a loft, and he showed me a large, abstract mural he had painted, completely covering one of his walls. Seeing such a large painting touched something inside me; ever since that moment, I have wanted to create an abstract mural of my own.

"In the summer of 2004, I was asked to create a mural and an exhibit as part of a celebration. The event marked the start of construction of the Bell Arts Factory, the premier art center of Ventura, California..."  (continue reading)


One day, I was reading a poem sent to me by a friend, and it struck me that there is a natural pairing between well-written snippets of poetry or prose and the types of feelings invoked by a good painting. I found myself thinking: where might I find small bits of writing that would relate in this way to my own paintings? The happy thought occurred to me that I could look among the best work of those writers whom I know personally.

"Most writers I know don't want to talk about writing or even meet other writers. One reason is that writing is a solitary occupation, something we do by ourselves, not something we talk about with other people. Thus, I have never found it ..."  (continue reading)

A Letter to Architecture Students

In the spring of 2004, I received email from an architecture teacher. She had read my essay on how to understand abstract art and she wondered, did I have a few words to say to her students? She and the other teachers were finding that their students had trouble relating abstraction to architectural design. Would it be possible for me to write something she could read aloud to her students?

"Young architecture students struggle to deal with the inherent contradictions between what they do and how they think. On the one hand, it is easy to see that thoughts about ideas are abstract; they exist only in the mind of the thinker. Architecture, however, is firmly grounded in three-dimensional reality..."  (continue reading)

An artist From Iran

One of the nice things about being a well- known professional writer is that I hear from so many of my readers around the world. Occasionally, they show me their own work. One of the most touching examples was a portrait of me drawn (from a photo) by one of my readers in Iran.

"Danyal is 23 years old. He lives with his parents, his younger sister Hasiba, and his brother Pooria. In Iran, young men usually don't marry until their late twenties..."  (continue reading)

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