Hartel grew up in Upstate New York, Buffalo and Manhattan, and has also lived and worked in New Jersey, Waterford, Ireland, Washington DC, West Virginia, and now in Sligo, Ireland. He received masters degrees in psychology and medical science followed by a doctor of medicine degree, and currently practices as a physician in the specialty of pathology.
Hartel has always been interested in fine arts and has enjoyed membership in numerous ensembles of all musical genres nationally and internationally, and has performed as drum, marimba, tympani and concert snare drum soloist.
Hartel has accepted several awards as percussionist, including Most Outstanding Musician Award, John Philip Sousa Award, and six consecutive blue-medal awards for solo auditions with the New York State Music Association. He has recently joined as tenor in the Sligo University Hospital Choir.
Without formal training, Hartel paints and draws with mixed media including oils, acrylics, oil pastels and charcoal, mostly in abstract and neo-expressionist styles, with influences that include DeKooning, Pollock, Twombly, Clemente, Miro, Frankenthaler, Mitchel and Wool. Hartel has exhibited in art galleries and international art fairs in New York City and West Virginia and galleries in Dublin where his work is for sale and has been sold and auctioned for private collectors and charitable organisations.
Hartel currently exhibits in the Green Gallery, Stephen’s Green, Dublin and has been featured in many art book publications, cover art, magazines, and online galleries and social media. His work also includes some abstract photography.
''I think of my work as celebrating the spirit of everyone’s inner child through an improvisationally eviscerated and evocative energy. I see and feel this expressive energy retained in the strokes, lines, forms and colours encompassing their fleeting application, yet everlasting presence. Experimenting with a variety of tools and techniques of paint application that spontaneously achieves an immediate desired effect, I believe my work yields a veracity that may otherwise be diluted in hesitation.
I subscribe to a rawness and sense of urgency that I feel parallels the excitement of life and all its accompanying emotional and existential vicissitudes.
I strive to create a visual immediacy with bright and dark shades and lines that often combat, sometimes intensely, against each other keeping the viewer’s eye in perpetual motion, searching for captivation. I like to conceptualise my work as a bridge between fantasy and abstract reality that I hope challenges our thoughts, perceptions, follies and wits. This union of interactive physical and psychological senses, weather harmonious or divergent, engenders a gestalt with the viewer and artwork that transcends the piece. '' - Paul Hartel