Born in Bordertown SA 1948, Ian’s childhood years were spent on the foreshore of Hervey Bay. It was here that his deep love of ships and the sea developed. By the age of 8 he was actively painting with water colours moving to oils when he was 11. His first oil survived and hangs in his Hunters Hill studio.
Marine artist Ian Hansen has a deep love of the sea and ships. He began painting them in water colours when he was eight and graduated to oils at the age of 11. He joined the Royal Australian Navy at 15 and served for 12 years, including service on HMAS Sydney in 1967-68 during the Vietnam War.
When he joined the Royal Australian Navy he commenced as an apprentice shipwright, he served 12 years reaching the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He saw active service in Vietnam 1967-68. Ian painted continually in off duty hours, recording the ships and scenes he observed during his travels. Prouds Art Gallery offered him his first one man exhibition in 1974 while he was still in the Navy, the success of this show convinced him to try becoming a full time artist once his service time expired in 1975. When he left the Navy, Ian became a successful full time painter and has since had exhibitions in the US, UK and Australia. His work hangs in Government House in Sydney, Qantas House, the Sydney Stock Exchange, AMP Building, the National Maritime Museum and in many private collections around the world.
After a brief stint of cruising and painting on board a 38 ft yacht, he built a studio overlooking the Whitsunday Islands, this idealic location was too far from the art world and he returned to Sydney in 1981. Married with 3 children Ian lives in Hunters Hill, Sydney, his studio the converted stables in the rear garden.
He regularly sails on his classic 45′ cutter ‘Karalee’, and crews on board the Barque ‘James Craig’ on her extended voyages. These trips reinforce Ian’s deep understanding of the sea, his illustrated log books are always viewed with great interest by visitors to his studio.
Sailing is still an important part of his life and Ian enjoys taking to sea on his yacht Karalee. It is from these trips that he draws his inspiration and great understanding of the sea.
In 2000 Ian was invited by the Royal Australian Navy to go to East Timor and record the Navy’s involvement during the crisis, he spent time on several ships sketching and painting, the resulting paintings now hang in the Navy’s Fleet Headquarters.
Ian exhibits with the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut USA, the Kendall Gallery on the Isle of Wight and various galleries in Sydney. In January 2002, he was appointed one of Mystic Museum’s “premier artists” – an appointment only given to twenty artists worldwide.
Ian works mainly on commission, he exhibits with ‘The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport’. In Connecticut USA, the Gallery hosts ‘The Annual International Art Exhibition’ and since his first acceptance in 1987, Ian has won 6 major awards, the first in 1961. He won 3 Thomas Well’s Awards, 2004, 2007, 2010 and an Award of Excellence, 2005 & 2012 at the International Marine Art Exhibition at the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport.
He joined Don and Margie McIntyre on a trip to Antarctica in 2002 aboard the Sir Hubert Wilkins on a 5 week voyage, during which Ian sketched and painted the magnificent scenes of the great southern continent. The Ice Ship ‘Sir Hubert Wilkins’ was the perfect vessel for Ian to spend the 5 weeks voyage to Antarctica using the time to sketch, draw and paint in water colours the scenes he saw, his illustrated log is kept for future reference.
Ian exhibits with the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, the Kendall Gallery on the Isle of Wight and Morpeth Gallery Australia.
In 2002 he was appointed one of the Gallery’s ‘Premier Artists’, only 20 are appointed worldwide.
Ian is a Fellow of The Royal Art Society, a Fellow of The Australian Institute of History and Arts and a Fellow of The Australian Society of Marine Artists. His works hang in Government House Sydney, Sydney Stock Exchange, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney Heritage Fleet, Royal Australian Navy, Naval Historical Society, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Lady Denman Museum, AMP building and many corporate and private collections throughout the World.
In February of 2005, he sailed aboard the square rigger James Craig, completing a round voyage from Sydney to Hobart.
In August 2008 he was invited to be a fellow of the Australian Institute of History and Arts for “reaching an extraordinary degree of competence” in his field.
Ian was declared the winner of the “The Thomas Wells Award on Saturday Night the 18th September 2004 in a star studded exhibition of the works of the 140 Marine artists who were the Finalists from around the world in this most prestigious global award. The exhibition, the 25th annual, was held in the maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Mystic Connecticut USA. This began a stream of awards including The Thomas Wells in 2008 and 2010, and in 2005 and 2012 Ian won The Award of Excellence at the same exhibition.
The Collections Research Centre (CRC) is the nation’s leading maritime research facility. Located across the street from Mystic Seaport, the former J. Rossie Velvet Company houses the Museum’s collections and offers safe and easy access to maritime researchers and scholars. Artefacts at the CRC include more than two million examples of maritime art, artefacts, tools, buildings, imprints and other documents, photographs, 1,000 ships registers, 600 audio taped oral history interviews, 200 videotaped interviews, and 1.5 million feet of historic and contemporary maritime-related footage. The CRC opened in the fall of 2002 and was designed to exceed national museum standards for conservation, preservation, accessibility, and safety. The research centre provides cutting-edge temperature and humidity control for the Museum’s artefacts and also boasts audio/video production suites and extensive photo processing and digitizing labs.
In 2013, Ian was appointed as the official artist for the International Fleet Review ‘2013’ commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Navy.