Like Macbeth, Trump's a bad actor, who does not want to believe the predictions of all those twisted sisters suggesting unlikely omens of his demise. For all of us, the play goes on until Macha, the old crone governing future events cuts the life cord. As Shakespeare noticed: All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts." Some of us are in that "Last scene of all that ends this strange eventful history...second childhood...sans everything." Actors usually accept the roles thrust on them by the Three Wyrd Sisters, but usually actors find the waiting time between playlets a kind of purgatory.

There are Seven Seasons of Life and some actors get only 15 minutes of glory in all that time. Trump has had more time than needed and has had a few stellar roles but largely bit parts. He apparently liked Season 6, when he played the part of "Astute Businessman" best of all. A silver-spooned New York-based property developer he took on the role of President on January 20, 2017. Close to his 99th day in office he spoke briefly with Jeff Mason."I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," Trump told Reuters in that interview. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."

 There are
Mac Trump also admitted that he was antsy about the necessity for 24-hour Secret Service protection and its accompanying constraints. "You're really into your own little cocoon, because you have such massive protection that you really can't go anywhere," he said."I like to drive," he said. "I can't drive any more." He has had to turn for advice to his immediate circle, and external suggestions are filtered.  Even when he ceases to hold office, life will never return to what it was. There are costs associated with taking that "Braveheart" role, and one has to remember that William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson in the motion picture, was betrayed by his own kind and was ultimately hanged, drawn and quartered by the English king.

It has been noticed that Trump is not a typical conservative Republican, but one who vacillates between left and right views as the wind blows. By the time he has dealt with his current fears of failure, he will probably have aged too much to star in another nutcracker such as "The Apprentice."

It is too late for Donald to set up a studio in the Outback. Neither Trump nor movie studios is the main focus of this essay. In 2016 The Hollywood Reporter described and illustrated "Trump World Studios," a film and television studio complex Trump proposed to build and run himself in Florida. Had it been built it would have been twice the size of the Universal Studios Florida theme park and nearly ten times the size of the Walt Disney theme park Disneyland. Erected at Homeland, a suburb of Miami, it was set to be developed on 800-acres of government land (cost $1). Trouble was, some of that land had already been allocated to other uses; there was an endangered snake species resident, and it was near a very noisy Air Force Reserve Base.

The project was abandoned in 2012, with Trump stating, "It was a job I was thinking of doing, but I didn't do it." It might have been a better scenario all around, if that base had agreed to relocate, and the studio had found some way to cohabit with the local snake population. A film studio is a complex devoted to every aspect of making and producing a motion picture. In 1893, Thomas Edison built the first movie studio in the United States. The largest film studio in the world is Hengdian World Studios, in Zhejiang, China. Studios of this size typically have a number of galleries in the original sense of this word, viz. A long room or passage connecting completely enclosed major work or play areas. In the old, old days before glass was commonplace it was open to the weather on one side creating a porch or colonnade. In the above situation. these areas would have been enclosed with glass to keep out the weather and unwanted visitors.

If he had opted for fine art as  opposed to political sinecure he could have been the ultimate minimalist. Minimalism is a style that uses pared-down design elements. It began in post–World War II  America in the 1960s and early 1970s.  Black on black canvases or those featuring white on white were considered the prime non statements of purpose.

Notice the pretend colonnades fronting the south facade of this so-called gallery where Rod was schooled for one full terms in the 1950s.  In the Late English sense a gallery was though of as a long narrow room having doorways opening on both sides along its' length. The word probably goes back to the Latin galeria, "a church porch." Later it came to be identified with a interior balcony of a building.  projecting out and over the main floor of a church or hall. In a theatre setting. these were the cheapest seats in the house. In Rod's day at Mount A' the copying of paintings in the permanent collection was frowned upon, and male students were beginning to join the student body, although vastly outnumbered.

For purposes of orientation Rod has placed small red dots over the interior front entrances in both photos. The large red dots indicate an entrance to the west wing. There was a a similar entrance to a west wing.  Studio workspaces were located north of gallery proper (to the right in the 1899s photo).  There were  few travelling exhibitions in those days so the space featuring a plaster Venus de Milo was used f0r painting interiors or imaginary subject matter.

The gallery was sometimes used for display or the sale of paintings, but for the most part featured the permanent Owens collection. This is the modern understanding of the term gallery, extended today to every conceivable salable product. The Owens Art Gallery was opened in 1895 on the campus of Mount Allison University. It aimed at the teaching of fine arts in aid of the Mount Allison Ladies’ College, and came to house a collection of approximately 300 works of art and statuary transfered to Sackville from their original home in Saint John. The painter John Hammond, who assembled the collection for the late John Owens, was transferred to Sackville with the  booty and continued to direct and conduct art classes . "Several of the original paintings in the Owens collection are marked with brush strokes of paint from students trying to match their palettes with those of the original painting which they were copying."

The Owens was administered by the Head of the Fine Arts Department: John Hammond from 1893 - 1916; Elizabeth McLeod (1930 - 1935); Stanley Royle (1935 -1945); and Lawren P. Harris (1945 -1973). And no this was not Lawren Stewart Harris, who was his dad, and whose reputation and prices soared in the present century. He  had his office workshop just off the front entrance.  A superb reporter as a war artist during WW II, he became a notable portrait painter of Mount A's top brass, and a great exponent of basic design, which incorporated ideas espoused by Lawren Senior.  Unfortunately he never has his dad's intuitive approach to abstract art and his non-objective work (one of which is partially seen above) was inconsequential.  He was a great fan of masking tape


These two teachers were a bit of a misfit being realist painters.  Graduates of Mount Allison were required to create a self-portrait as a leaving gift. The late David Alexander Colville was born in Toronto in 1920 and trained under Royle, graduating in 1942. He went overseas as a war artist in 1944. When Rod came to study life drawing and still life painting under him, he had had one solo
exhibit at the Saint John Museum and was earning $1,600 per year. When Rod left in 1955, Colville went on to his second one-man exhibition at Hewitt Gallery, New York. The late Edward "Ted Pulford" was born in Saskatchewan in 1914. He joined the RAF in 1940 and survived WWII.  He enrolled at Mount Allison University, studied fine art under Stanley Royle and Christian McKiel, followed by Lawren P. Harris and Alex Colville, and was drafted as an instructor  when he graduated in 1949. He was the most amiable of the three and had a lot of talent which was crushed a heavy teaching load.

The gallery had tensions at the god-like levels, but  the fine art students  were not impacted being too young to care. The basement-dwelling faculty, who shared their floor with Job Sears, the do-everything janitor and furnace-man,  lived under a snobbish cloud.  Rod's first wife the late, Anne Torey, was a student. "One of the oldest and longest running programs for training in craft and design in Canada, the program ran from 1906-1960 in the Owens Art Gallery. The curriculum varied over the years, but included a wide range of practices, including metalwork, woodcarving, leather work, china painting, pottery and weaving."

This painter was the first disruptive element in centuries introducing unpleasant visual "truths"to European art.

Those northern anterooms off the gallery at Mount A could have been termed  a bottega during the Italian Renaissance. It  derives ultimately from the Latin apotheca a "warehouse" or"repository." In this instance the "workshop"and storage space of Tinterreto. It was understood, in his time, to be the stomping ground of a master artist, who employed other artists and apprentices in the execution of the projects or commissions. Typically, he conceived the subject matter and added finishing touches to complete each work.Paintings which were not up to scratch we sold under the label "workshop of..." In time, the word bottega came to identify a less grand "corner store." As you can see, this was a busy place.

In contrast, this is how a  later artist depicted Tinterreto's less cluttered studiolo, or "stufy," a theatrical set-piece, which was intended as a sales room.Ostensibly it was a room  for study and contemplation and revelation, a separate smaller space sometimes in the same building.

At a later date, and in northern rather than southern Europe, patrons began to show a preference to portraiture over religious or mythological themes.  Jan van Eyck developed painting in oils in a hyper realistic manner, a time-consuming layering and drying process which require less collaborative work. More of a cottage industry, the workspace and studio were combined. Early  in his career Rembrandt painted himself in a stripped-down studio. This was one of the earliest cases of self portraiture, which did not have a name at the time. Rod has created and or owned a number of heavy-handed easels like this one.

In spite of changing  times, and the creation of mass- produced art gear and paints, the art studio retained its basic form from the Renaissance through the 1800s. The Ateliers consisted one master artist and his dedicated students who graduated from apprentices to journeymen to masters in their own right.  The only competition for this system came from the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts  founded in Paris in 1816, which organized own exhibitions (known as salons) to support, critique, and analyze artistic developments. It tied art to the French Academy system and created the monopoly against which Impressionist painters rebelled.

This was decidedly a snobbish, money-oriented business, which has never been completely extinguished. Those in the know who had a modicum of talent were able to establish very impressive studios. The Academy was not based on a perceived need for originality, and often preferred  a romantic over a warts-and-all image.

These were the patricians who gave a bad name to the concept of "As pretty as a picture."

During the 19th century the Industrial Revolution came to paints and art supplies.  While artists of past centuries had had to produce their own paints, laboriously mixing ingredients, paints in tubes came on the market, as did lightweight portable easels and all kinds of supportive gear as seen in this Winslow Homer. Painting en plein air—,  "in open air," became popular. Artists,, with some means, no longer had to wait for wealthy patrons to commission portraits but could enjoy painting as an activity of "edification and leisure" and show hoping for sales of non-commissioned works.

This new way of doing work favoured some of the French Impressionists. In the 1870s, Monet, equipped a house boat to act as a floating studio.  It was painted with the artist and his wife by Manet. "Studio" had become a less rigid term.

Of course spending too many hours communing with nature can be dangerous. Rod's youngest brother Master Mariner Curtis Mackay lost visual acuity to ultraviolet light. Rod and a close friend experienced surgery after contracting skin cancer.  And there are other examples.

There is an argument for studio-based painting which protects a painter from the vagarities of weather. Oddly enough, this painting created as much public outrage as that of the Impressionists. That's a story in itself! It is difficult to assess how tidy or untidy a painter is from publicity photos.

Picasso being the exception in this and many other ways. His studio was always in organic turmoil, recorded regularly in Life magazine.

In 1960s New York,  artist Andy Warhol reinvented the studio as an entertainment space, where he and admirers assembled to silkscreen prints, which could be mass assembled, over-and-over, sometimes using different colour combinations. His studio was fueled by amphetamine and  the rotation of people famous for being famous. From this studio there emerged the idea of the branded artist. In his case he shrewdly exploited American popular culture.

Non-objective art also found a reactionary in hyper realism, the modus of Alex Colville and some of his students.  Colville was just starting as a brand in the 1960s, when he still taught at Mount A,Warhol's "Factory" and had a very Spartan studio in the attic of his nearby home. As a "Lion In Winter" he ended his painting career in a slightly more grand studio in the Town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Nice to see that he was not a complete neat freak as students used to think. Painters in acrylic are bound to over-paint their easels, and if it dries...

Wargol's "Factory" was actually a bit of a one-man show.  Jeff Koons's New York studio, on the other hand, may be kinky but is not an ongoing party. This entrepreneur employs hundreds of assistants who are specialists in painting, casting, finishing, computer graphics, and so on; each the master of one very refined, and very specific, skill. "Among curators and art collectors and others in the art world, Koons' work is labeled as Neo-pop or Post-Pop as part of a 1980s movement in reaction to the pared-down art of Minimalism and Conceptualism in the previous decade." His workspace actually qualifies as a factory.

Writing on April 29, which the Great Man promised would be a hugely big day: Did we oversleep and miss something? This is what came out of WeeD's studio to grace his gallery walls. But then, there are more pressing matters impinging on the subject at hand. In case you think Trump is the only president unfairly targeted by cartoonists.

Remember "Just Plain Bill?" Not Hillary, but William! Writing for the New Yorker in 2012, Robert Mankoff dismissed the late Ronald Searle as a "hands" rather than a "heads" cartoonist, a non-idea man. Guess he did not see a fair sampling from the Searle studio. Thing is Searle was usually a generalist rather than a political cartoonist. He was a rebel and his cause was calling attention to every case of elitism. Since this illustration is so many decades out of co
ntext, we are not sure what news story inspired this, but we do get the general idea. Wonder how he might represent Trump? Some artists certainly are rabble-rousers, creating troubles for themselves with no malice aforethought.

Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen, a literary and philosophy magazine launched  in Germany in 1663 was the first of this kind. The earliest periodicals to branch out from news were Harper's and The Atlantic, which focused on fostering the arts. The first to give total attention to visual arts may have been The American art monthly, The Aldine (1869-1879). The most influential was The Studio, whose first cover is seen above. It featured a weird mix of traditional academic and off-the-wall modern art. The cover was created by Aubrey Beardsley and influential Art Nouveau illustrator. In those happier days, there was no gulf between the practical and impractical worlds of art, and artists moved between Applied and Graphic Art without comment.

The Studio was published in London from 1893 until 1964. was founded by Charles Holme and became a home for Arts and Crafts as well as the Art Nouveau movement. A retired wool and silk businessman, Holme created the magazine as visual way of representing world cultures to each other, hopefully  resulting in international understanding and peace. To do this, he created a French edition published in England and an American edition, created in New York from 1897 forward and entitled "International Studio." Publication of this magazine ceased in 1933.

Once a year from 1906, this firm published an annual which dealt with architecture, interior design and design of furniture, lighting, glassware, textiles, metalwork and ceramics. These annuals promoted Modernism in the 1920s, and later the Good Design movement.

John Hammond put together the nuclear Mount Allison collection was a close friend of railway developer William Van Horne, and like him was a great admirer of the painters of the French Barbizon and Dutch Hague schools. Owens’ executor, Robert Reed, hired him to assist with purchasing and assembling the basic art collection. From May 1884 to September 1885, John Hammond traveled in Britain and Europe, buying works of art and shipping them back to Saint John. These were 300 predominantly European paintings, prints and drawings acquired in 1885 as a teaching collection for art students to study and copy. He did bring back the romantic paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne Jones. By coincidence these were artists admired by Aubrey Beardsley. He was taught by Frederick Browne and it was Burne-Jones who supported his training at Westminster School of Art as an evening student.

The publishers of the magazine also printed and distributed catalogues of art shows they sponsored.  Obviously they were not above titillating their readers.  In 1891 Breadsley and his sister Mabel met Oscar Wilde at the home of Burne-Jones. Rod has inserted his caricature. Oscar was fifteen years his senior and a "made man" with elitist approval. While they became friends Beardsley is said to have "sneered" at the masks he displayed while admitting his genius as a writer. He was probably annoyed at Wilde's later claim that he "created" the young artist.His teen aged scratches did not hint at the controlled linear style which made him famous. There is more perspiration than inspiration involved in the creation of a recognizable style.

By 1892 Beardsley had moved away from pen-and-ink and creating carved process blocks, which were then replacing the older wood blocks as a printing device. "Images that are printed with this technique are typically much bolder than other types of printmaking: since the blocks are carved by hand, there is often less detail and more texture to the prints. ... Block printing is also known as 'relief printing' because the ink leaves a raised texture on the paper." In that year Joseph Malaby Dent asked Beardsley to illustrate Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory.

Oscar Wilde wrote Salomé in 1892. It was performed in Paris but when Wilde attempted to get it produced in London starring Sarah Bernhardt it was banned as being blasphemous. It was  alternately published in book form and the Pall Mall Budget asked Beardsley for a drawing to illustrate the review. seen above, it was rejected it was declared "obscene." However, in April, 1893, it did appear in the first number of The Studio magazine. Wilde liked the drawing, and his publisher, John Lane, the founder of The Bodley Head Press, suggested that that the artist be hired on to do an illustrated edition of the play. In February 1894 that book was offered for sale and stirred up scandal. The Art Journal commented the effect of Beardsley's drawings was "terrible in its weirdness and suggestions of horror and wickedness".

Out of favour at The Studio, he was in with Lane, the publisher of a runaway best-seller.  He invited Beardsley and his friend, Henry Harland, to produce a new quarterly, called The Yellow Book. The art critic at The Times found this cover repulsive and insolent, but notoriety meant that the first edition of 500 copies was dispersed in five days. Beardsley became the art editor and managed to persuaded William Rothenstein, Charles Conder, John Singer Sargent, Philip Wilson Steer, Frederic Leighton and Walter Sickert to contribute. Harland brought in H. G. Wells, William Butler Yeats, Arnold Bennett, Max Beerbohm, George Gissing, Henry James, Edmund Gosse and Arthur Symons. Up, up and away? Still, to some extent it is never just luck, but how an artist plays the game.

There is a propensity for visual artists to become entrapped in the virtual world they create and early fame is dangerous. Alan Crawford: "In a sense, Beardsley's public persona was as much a work of art as his drawings. He cultivated a dandified appearance before the world, and liked to appear wicked, witty, and decadent like the French. He let his reddish hair fall in a fringe so that he looked half like a boy, and dressed his poor thin body immaculately, as if he expected not to be touched by life - a grey suit, grey gloves, a golden tie, a tasseled cane...." He was seen publically "dipping into the low life."

That is the advantage of having modest expectations as a fine artist, and no interest in being considered outrageous. Oscar Wilde could not avoid that trap, and he and a cohort were sentenced to two years in penal servitude for "gross indency." During the trial it was noted that Wilde had been apprehended with a copy of that notorious Yellow Book on his person. Guilt by association. Beardsley's sexual preferences were never completely known but he was not a fellow homosexual traveller. Nevertheless, the public stoned his publisher's headquarters and demanded his resignation and John Lane bowed to their wishes. Sympathetic friends of all sexes rallied and gave him charge of The Savoy in 1896.

At the opening party, Beardsley suffered a return of the haemorrhagic tuberculosis he had experienced as a younger man. In 1897, he was administered last rights as a convert to Catholicism and in the following year died at a hotel on t
he French Riviera. At least he did not dip into that disturbingly deep commercial art pool?

The question is, who has the most fun? "Die young and make a nice corpse" or "Die old because your genes were too tight?" Who is more outrageous?

Neither Beardsley (1872- 1898) nor Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (18864-1901) made lovely corpses since both suffered from wasting diseases from childhood. Searles tribute to that great misfit never made he pages of an art magazine but appeared in the December 1969 issue of Playboy. Had they been published in Lautrec's time they might have been met with the same moral indignation showered on some of the work of the Impressionist in Victorian/Edwardian times. It is said that Ronald found inspiration for his well-endowed prostitutes in Hamburg, Germany while Henri painted what he saw in the bordellos of Paris. Obviously both these boys could put together a mobile studio.

Searle's parents were not wealthy; Beardsley's, lost wealth when he was a child, but Henri's folk were true French aristocracy, but on frequently hostile terms. He was tended by a nanny when they were separated. However, when he went to lived with his mother in Paris at the age of eight she saw that he has drawing and painting skills and he was given informal lessons. He was a fragile kid, treated for a left femur fracture when he was 13, and a right one in the next year. The breaks did not heal and afterwards his legs did not growth although his torso developed normally. His adult height was 4 foot, eight inches. He also had hyper atrophied genitals.This teapot configuration did not prevent him from having sexual relations as an adult, but his height was only restored in Searle's imagination.

The diminutive artist painted himself into this famous image of Parisian night life. When the Moulin Rouge cabaret opened, Toulouse-Lautrec was commissioned to produce a series of posters and never afterward had to worry about a living or the opinions of other jealous artisans. Toulouse-Lautrec was mocked for his short stature and physical appearance and that led him into the habit of drinking a lot of beer.

While in London doing commercial ad work, he met and befriended Oscar Wilde. When Wilde faced imprisonment, Toulouse-Lautrec became a very vocal supporter and created his portrait at this time. For a long while he drank only beer, but unfortunately he developed a taste for absinthe. The drink known as Tremblement de Terre, a half-and-half mix of absinthe and cognac is said to be his invention. A confirmed alcoholic he hollowed out his can which he need to walk, and kept it filled with liquor. He had sex with prostitutes but the painter Édouard Vuillard  guessed that this was because he "found an affinity between  between his own condition and the moral penury of the prostitute." In 1901, at the age of 36, he died from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis at his mother's estate. His mother, the Comtesse Adèle de Toulouse Lautrec, and his art dealer, Maurice Joyant, continued promoting his artwork after his death and the rest is art history.

The misfits of the modern age were sometimes described as Bohemians. The French elitists saw the Romani people as foreign visitors from Bohemia. It was first extended to describe writers in a similar unkind way. "A Bohemian is simply an artist or "littérateur" who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art. (Westminster Review, 1862). It was extended to "the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities. Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which often were expressed through free love, frugality.

"However those that attained wealth rarely rejected it and there arose an "aristocratic bohemian circle... sometimes referred to as haute bohème." There were pejorative connotations of carelessness about personal hygiene and marital fidelity directed at all of them. The artists described above might be considered as bohemians and some of them set a very high bar for amoral behaviour but a model some of Rod's contemporariness tried unsuccessfully to emulate. Carmen, "the cigarette girl," was my grandfather K's favourite Texaco Afternoon At The Opera title character. Carmen (1876) was a French opera set in the Spanish city of Seville, and referred to as a bohémienne in Meilhac and Halévy's libretto. Her signature aria declares love itself to be a "gypsy child" (enfant de Bohême), going where it pleases and obeying no laws. She sung her way to death through a apasmatic TB lung-bleeding event, a complete impossibility. Aida, although well born, had an even worse end, buried alive in a tomb under the sands of Egypt.

In England, Bohemian in this sense initially was popularized in William Makepeace Thackeray's novel, Vanity Fair, published in 1848. George du Maurier's  best-selling novel of Bohemian culture Trilby (1894) introduced the control-freak hypnotist Svengali. The novel followed the misfortunes of three expatriate English artists and their Irish model in the artist quarter of Paris. It will be remembered that Beardsley was coming into favour at this time, although he only visited France on one occasion, and Wilde was no hypnotist. But then, there was that Great English Beast
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) "the wickedest man in the world" and a Satanist and proof that the Devil does not reliably look after his own since he expired in mid-life.

"Lise The Bohemian" as portrayed by Renoir. While some of these unkind folk were obvious sociopaths some looked devoid of guile. But then there was Aimee Crocker, an American who inherited a fortune from her father E.B. Crocker, a railroad tycoon and art collector. She knew how to spend the filthy lucre. A world traveler, adventuress, heiress and mystic, she was dubbed the "Queen of Bohemia" by the world press. She partied with famous artists of her time; Oscar Wilde, the Barrymores, Enrico Caruso, Isadora Duncan, Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin and Rudolph Valentino. "Crocker had countless affairs and married five times in five different decades of her life, each man being in his twenties. She was famous for her tattoos and pet snakes and was reported to have started the first Buddhist colony in Manhattan. Spiritually inquisitive, Crocker had a ten-year affair with occultist Aleister Crowley and was a devoted student of Hatha Yoga." And then, as they say, she died!

In twentieth century North America, the bohemian beat was  seen in the 1940s hipsters, the 1950s Beat generation, the widespread 1960s counterculture, and 1960s and 1970s hippies. Rod looked the part in the 1070s, but always said "Not all are hunters that blow the horn! (Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon, 1834 -1892)." Celebrity, however long in passing, is an illusion.The recently late Robert Pirsig has said, "Once you become a celebrity, it satisfies some people to tear you down, and there's not much you can do about it." I'm sure Donald Trump would agree? But then. some folk are smarter that WeeD, in spite of all the Words he possesses. Pirsig adds, "Usually you get a warning, when they're all over you with praise. Then you know they've got some false image of you." And then BEWARE, the End Is Near!

The ball is in your court! Pirsig thought that , "The celebrity business is another whole phenomenon that's related to Indo-European conflict of values." That's probably correct but the idea that it is "a peculiarly American phenomenon is demonstrably wrong." Q.E.D. note the examples given above. The process involves captapulting individuals into fame, lavishing praise and wealth upon them and then,. once they have become convinced of their worth: The game changes to bringing them down. This is the reversal of the old saw that, "Who the gods love they first make low."

"Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise/(That last infirmity of noble mind)/To scorn delights, and live laborious days." - Milton.  That is the theory, however, "English are the stiff-upper-lipped ones. And the middle class. They're the ones who are crippled emotionally because they can't move up, and they're desperate not to move down." - Tracey Ullman. That's the way it has been in that country and in parts of Europe. The upper crust still strives to protect lower classes from undue fame, but the Old World is becoming Americanized.

This is Rod's mash up of three Ronald Searle images. Robert Pirsig who died in nearby Berwick Maine on April 24 thinks that North Americans like to elevate unknowns and then destroy them because of social tension: "'re supposed to be socially superior like a European and socially equal like an Indian at the same time. That's an impossible goal, and explains why negative physical and intellectual differences lead a lot of people to become "guilt-ridden and destructive."   Pirsig agrees with their cry that "that's not fair," is true, but knows that they are incorrect in assuming that "Everybody's equal." Fame should never ha a driving force: "To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top."

Hence it must follow as the day the night, celebrity is a two-edged sword: "They love you for being what they want to be but they hate you for being what they're not." Thus for all artists (including the rhetorical Donald Trump) praise should be suspect. At one time the admirer may be smiling because the famous individual appears to have matched his European expectations, but this position is mercurial and can become a frown if the big shot is seen as acting in an undemocratic, superior manner.

"The old Indians knew how to handle it. They just got rid of anything anybody wanted. They didn't own property, they dressed in rags, some of them. They kept it down, laid low, and let the aristocrats and egalitarians and sycophants and assassins all look at them as worthless. That way they got a lot accomplished without all the celebrity guilt." Of course times, have changed even for aboriginals. However, aiming to get by rather than go nova, is an option, especially in the cases of arts which do not imperial human life in their execution.

Some Americans in both the United States and Canada profited from this Victorian Era quarrel. Some emerged as nouveau riche, a relatively new social caste not much interested in appearing worthless and positioned to enjoy life. Some described them has having "an ugly gracelessness."  The Industrial Revolution was complete by 1840 but was forwarded by the needs of war and allowed a new "post Civil War industrial revolution."Fortunes were made by middle class entrepreneurs, as well as the wealthy, in steel. lumber cattle, machinery, railroads and land. Rod's ancestors, on all sides of the family, benefited from this boom. It was easy land was cheap for this with cash, labour was cheap due to European immigration. There were no income taxes and no social network aimed at attempting to share the wealth.

Some of these disupters underwent hardscrabble experiences on the road to the top, and having struggled for success and fame, had no intention of remembering their roots and being generous.  Pirsig says that the Victorians Era became "involuted..Twisted in upon itself like the curves of their ornamental wood work and the paisley patterns of their fabrics... all a pose." As he notes, "The Victorians always took themselves seriously, and the thing they took most seriously of all was their code of morality or 'virtue.'" The American Victorians found moral guidance in Merrie Old England, but the code there was decidedly not Shakespearian morality, which had some elements in common with Bohemianism. Queen Victoria's ancestors had been German and the Victorian morality of her nation was based on the German Romantic tradition of what constituted "quality" and "virtue."

In his writing,  Pirsig was constant in his search for "quality," and was sure that the upper crust had no idea what the word implied. He decried their social and psychic lives, filled "with impossible proprieties of table manners and speech and posture and sexual repression... It was a 'quality' of manners and egotism and suppression of human decency. When Victorians were being moral, kindness wasn't any where in sight. They approved whatever was socially fashionable and suppressed or ignored anything that was not." Meanwhile the "Indians," whatever their skin colour,  could only hunker down
and recycle the leavings of their betters.

The Victorian Era which ended in 1902 seem to merge seamlessly into the Edwardian Era having defined "Truth, Virtue, Quality" and "Culture" according to their desires. But it was adults born in both reigns of British monarchs who sent their children out to fight "The Great War" which was not the war the ended all wars, but the one that kept the witches' cauldron boiling. Incidental losses on the German side often included the death of former relatives and friends. Pirsig said that was was fought on behalf of ideals rather than natural truths and the support of the Christian God. "that war was the natural consequence of Victorian moral egotism."

Controlled flight 1910. "When it was over the children who survived never got tired of laughing at Charlie Chaplain comedies of those elderly people with silk hats and too many clothes and noses up in the air." Pirsig expressed gratitude that Victorian imagery had lost popularity. "Their paintings captured it perfect - expressionless, mindless, cream-skinned ladies sitting around ancient Greek columns, draped in ancient Greek robes, in perfect form and posture, except for one breast hanging out, which no one noticed, presumably, because they were so elevated and so pure. There never was a Golden Age of Art, but there definitely was a Golden Age of Illustration (1880-1920s), due to technological advances in graphic art. And that meant there was plenty of soft and hard printed pornography in this period.

As a youngster Stewart McKay acquired a complete collection of these magazines, which Rod read when occupying his father's room at 20 Rose Street. World War I was still being fought when this issue came out. While the A
rt Nouveau/Deco influences are seen in the design, the theme remained Romantic. Truthful coverage of that war  was withheld from children, which explains why, in spite family exemptions, he volunteered to fight World War II in 1939.

Judge not that ye be not judged? Rod's grandparents survived from top hat days well into the twentieth century, but his immediate patents belong to the "Roaring Twenties." They read Agatha Christie, Hemingway, Dos Passos and Fitzgerald and drank bootleg gin when necessary, drove fast roadsters, were not as "virtuous" as their elders, and never wanted particular reminders of the war nobody really won. Most of all they wanted nothing more of social morality. Instead of improving humankind, the Victorians had succeeded in creating a moral vacuum that has yet to be filled. Pirsig suggested that "Quality" and "morality" were identical although he was never sure how to completely identify either term.

Modern dance is a genre of western concert or theatrical dance, a reaction against ballet, primarily arising out of Germany and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An early proponent of Free Dance was Isodora Duncan (1877 and on) bare feet, loose hair, free-flowing costumes and all. Disturbed by the Great Depression (1929-39) and the rising threat of fascism in Europe, the radical dancers tried to raise consciousness by dramatizing the economic, social, ethnic and political crises of their time. There were many other art forms which reflected the laisse-faire anti-authoritarian mood back then.

That was the decade into which Rod was delivered: "The Dirty Thirties." His nuclear family, involved in a garage and auto business. survived this period much better than some thanks to prohibition, but that's another long convoluted tale. But suddenly, with World War II, most Visual Art forms excepting those involving the creation of propaganda became impaired if not completely shut, and Canada became a very authoritarian country in which one could not switch job locations without permission and almost everything was rationed. Streets were plowed using horsepower and hitching posts were restored in this Neo-Victorian Ice Age, when fear was dominant. The Golden Age of Illustration was past.

But some of their number, including Searle literally survived that war, and Modern Art, which did embrace making use of Elements of Design, continued until about 1970. Ronald became a  master of line drawing in the century past.

In the immediate post-war period, the mood was upbeat and the arts reviving. For almost three decades most people thought that science and technology would lead to a Utopian future.  When that did not occur, the folk revolted and created the Post Modern world with outrageous expectations shielding them from the truth that some opinions are better regarded than others. The world is certainly unfair, "and that's just the way it is" to quote some landlords R&R have known.

In the distant past, Oscar Wilde commented, "When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss Money." More recently, Searle entitled this cartoon, "Better to have an art adviser." The only thing WeeD appreciated about Andy Warhol, possibly the earliest Post Modernist, was his comment that "Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."

As the Virginia Slims ads used to insist "You've come a long way baby!" But now Post Modernism is passe, leaving another vacuum.


What have visual artists learned?

With present high UV ratings it is good to do studio work.
 As Noel Coward suggested in his 1931 song, only "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun."

2. "Contemporary" is synonymous with "ephemeral;" here today, gone tomorrow, "a series of avant-garde movements, each new wave outraging the last."  - Michael Scott. Individual ocean waves only last for a moment.

3. "All great contemporary artists, schooled or not, are essentially self-taught and are de-skilling like crazy." -Jerry Saltz. One of Rod's acquaintances says, "Whatever it takes..."

4. "The conceptual and politically-driven art so popular and considered to be the forefront of contemporary art today is limited by its topicality and will lose its 'punch' when topical concerns move on to other interests." - Scott Kahn

5.  "New materials (and new gadgets) are one of the great afflictions of contemporary art. Some artists confuse new materials with new ideas." - Sol LeWitt

6.  "All art is contemporary art because it had to be made when it was now." - James Turrell. Once "now" has past, it is just another old silk or beaver hat."

7. Hugh Grant, on decorating his Victorian home, "'What would be the coolest is contemporary art - it will make me look young and interesting.' I'm more than 80 percent skeptical of the whole thing." Sylvester Stallone has dumped a similar collection.

8. "A sad fact of life lately at the Museum of Modern Art is that when it comes to group shows of contemporary painting from the collection, the bar has been set pretty low." -Jerry Saltz

Rod could train as a tattoo artist, but there is already a parlour in Mahone Bay.  Rex Woods (1903-1987) was born in England but came to Canada to train at Ontario College of Art.  In the 1930s, Woods set up an independent studio and became one of Canada's most successful and sought-after illustrators, contributing to magazines such as Maclean's and the Canadian Home Journal.


Not so widely known is his important monumental group portrait of the "Fathers of Confederation," a copy of the original by Prince Edward Island artist, Robert Harris which was destroyed in the fire on Parliament Hill in 1916. The copy probably recreated from photos has three additional figures added to the original composition. The picture was commissioned by Confederation Life Assurance and donated as a centennial gift to the country in 1967. It hangs in The House of Commons, Ottawa.


Widely known and praised and regularly paid in his time, he is now virtually unknown.. His "The Vision of the Cross" sets him somewhat apart from JC Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell, to whom he has been compared. His work was deposited with the Royal Ontario Museum after his wife died in 1996.


An untitled display, with few interpretive panels, appeared at the Royal Ontario Museum in the winter of 2009–10; 17 works, chiefly Canadian Home Journal cover art. Fortunately there is a lot of his commercial art on line, However the archive, which is extensive and includes photographs, documents and other works, has not been catalogued and is not accessible to the public or specialist researchers. "Look on my works ye mortals and despair."

Ultimately even Damien Hirst will crumble. As he says, "an ashtray is perfect. An ashtray has got life and death." Now that's intellectualizing the secret of life.

So, if that is not all there is, what is going to go wrong next?  Rod is not certain why he should keep trying, but since it is inconsequential and anachronistic, why not? Keep tuned for more radio static.