Arts·Video

How an accountant found healing by making painstakingly precise geometric drawings

When a Halifax filmmaker discovered his accountant Bert Haché made astonishing art, he knew he had to share the story.

When a Halifax filmmaker discovered his accountant made astonishing art, he knew he had to share the story

Halifax filmmaker Dominic Fegan was looking for help with his taxes when a friend recommended that he meet with local accountant Bert Haché, who he called a "whiz with numbers." Fegan booked a meeting, and it didn't take long before he discovered that Haché was indeed a true mathematician and perfectionist when it came to accounting, but also had a fascinating talent: creating painstakingly accurate geometric art.

Fegan was intrigued and asked to see some examples of Haché's artwork. When he received the images via text, he wasn't sure if he was looking at something made by a computer program or a drawing kit. When Fegan asked what program Haché used, he was stunned to learn that Haché had actually created everything by hand using a straightedge, compass, drafting pen and some simple math.

Artwork by Bert Haché. (Bert Haché)

"I immediately went back to the text messages and zoomed way in," says Fegan. "From what I could see, there were zero imperfections, no asymmetry whatsoever."

Fegan's filmmaker brain was piqued by his accountant's art practice, and he decided to create a short documentary, The Artistic Accountant, to share Haché's story and some of the hundreds (possibly thousands) of drawings that he's created. "The doc allowed me to delve into who gets to call themselves an artist — something that I've struggled with in the past," explains Fegan. "I was questioning that notion and I think this documentary allowed me to delve into it a bit further via Bert's story."

The Artistic Accountant: Clip

1 year ago
Duration 1:02
See Bert Haché's story and his astonishingly precise artwork in The Artistic Accountant, now streaming on CBC Gem.

Through making the documentary, Fegan discovered that Haché's art practice has also been a source of healing from the grief of losing someone very close to him. "It was an escape from everything," Haché shares in the documentary. "It's a form of mindfulness, a form of meditation."

"I think the doc shows that there are many ways to cope with grief, that finding a practice that works for you can be a fulfilling process in and of itself," says Fegan. "I think it also shows that artistry and creativity come in many different forms and can be a therapeutic practice."

Bert Haché in The Artistic Accountant. (CBC Arts)

"Bert was in his mid-50s when he started drawing so it shows you can still take up new hobbies or practices at any age. He took skillsets he already had — precision, drafting, aptitude with numbers, etc. — and applied them to something that helped him cope during a tough time in his life. I think the fact that Bert acknowledges his own imperfections and the flaws in his art reminds us to be gentle to ourselves as we navigate life's challenges."

The Artistic Accountant is streaming now on CBC Gem.

Artwork by Bert Haché. (Bert Haché)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mercedes Grundy has been producing videos for CBC Arts and Exhibitionists since 2015. She is a unabashed Leonardo DiCaprio enthusiast with an educational background in photography, and produces film and theatre when not busy here at the CBC. And while her love for the arts does not discriminate, she openly acknowledges she is a horrible dancer.

now