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What If...I told the story of a fine arts guy, who recognized on university graduation that the brushes should go in the cupboard until he saw the world and became rich and famous. Well he saw the world. For all you latent artists out there thinking of hauling the brushes out from under the stairs, here’s the story of that guy and his journey into the creative life.

 

This website is also for the thousands of artists who use right and left brain to create art. In the late 1940’s an NY art movement calling themselves Spatialists, stated “we refuse to accept science and art as two distinct phenomenon”. Why do paintings have to be flat? Then of course Da Vinci.

 

  • 1943-1960’sThe prehistoric Years

    My journey as an artist started early. I was 10 when I first met Ernst Lindner; Order of Canada and one of the founders of the University of Saskatchewan’s Emma Lake School of Art Campus. At the time, he was Head of the Art Department, Saskatoon Technical Collegiate. His daughter sat in front of me in grade 4. On parent/teacher night, my childhood paintings on the Victoria School bulletin board, caught his attention. He mentored me through the rest of public school and part of high school until his retirement when I was in grade 10.

     

     

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  • 1966 -1983Toilet Paper & Shopping Centers to Advertising Agency

    First job out of the gate was Scott Paper. One of the best corporations I had the pleasure to be involved with. After 4 plus years in various sales and marketing positions, I was destined to become the youngest Scott sales manager for the province of Saskatchewan, which I had left 4 years before. In a spring meeting with Mike Ferry, the corporate personnel manager, I turned the position down recognizing it wasn’t for me. Mike said

     

    “As you were honest with us, go find the job you want. You will remain on full salary, car and expenses 8 months until the new year. ”

     

     

     
  • 1984 -1986’s Warner Bros to EDTI & EXPO 86

    In 1984 with EXPO 86 underway, I received a call from my friend and Ex Trizec boss Richard Weiser with instructions to proceed to New Jersey for a meeting with Warner Brothers and Disney executives and creative staff. I arrived at the conference room to find 100 or more people seated, listening to a speaker at a podium, under the lights. His name was Bob Petralia. He was describing Warner Bros intention of presenting the next level of entertainment to the world at EXPO 86 in Vancouver Canada. The audience consisted of the best creative minds of Warner and Disney. Petralia, whom I’d never met, looked up from his lectern and asked if Richard Alm was in the room. I replied with a wave at which point he announced that

    “Richard is the new Vice President Warner Leisure Canada and is responsible for coordinating your talents to achieve our entertainment objectives. ”

     

     

     

     

     
  • 1986 -1989’sWhat if...
    Winesoda Beverages Inc.

    When work was done and EXPO 86 was operational I had time to notice that the only beverages available on tap were beer in flimsy plastic cups and the cooler market in bottles was just becoming popular.

    What if I could create a small footprint, portable, on tap, multi-flavoured carbonated wine beverage system. I designed and built a prototype in Vancouver and shopped it around for production financing. George Gund was owner of Minnesota North Stars hockey and the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball teams. He was was negotiating with a hot new prospect Michael Jordan when we met on the North Star, his yacht moored at the Bayshore in the Vancouver Harbour.

     

     

     
  • 1990-1992What if...
    They wanted a photo booth & I gave them a satellite connected, giant Coke Can

    In 1990 I joint ventured with a Canadian public company to develop a prototype multi use interactive entertainment kiosk for operation at gas and service centers for long distance truckers. I named the product AVECA, Auto Vend Entertainment Center of America. Bleeding edge at the time, the unit as shown, had two way television screens and cameras plus a 1000 disc Karioke player with the singer broad casting from inside as shown. A joystick & keyboard allowed interactive satellite feed to various company, industry and government institutions so truckers could check in with dispatch or even write government exams. The unit had a coin vend dispenser built in. I sold my shares in the company and built an office in new commercial space at Pine and 7th Vancouver.

     

     

     
  • 1992-1997What if...LottoSoft-
    The Touch and Win Lottery Terminal

    In 1992 at an Electronics Show and Convention in Los Vegas I met with Tony Marsh, the president of ACE Coin Equipment, manufacturer of 70% of “Fruit Machines in pubs throughout England and France. Although having sold his company recently to Allied Lyons Corp, the largest British brewer, for 22,000,000 Pounds Sterling, he still had access to bleeding edge software to complete my next project.

     

    A small footprint (1.25 sq ft.) vertical, unique video gaming terminal, located in a MAC Store or 7/11. If you won, it printed out a paper redeemable receipt that cost $0.0025. It would replace the the BC Lottery Corps Scratch and Win tickets which cost over $0.25 from their dedicated printing plant in Kamloops. With knowledge gained from the AVECA experience and using Tony’s new digital video interactive (DVI) technology I formed Lottosoft Software Inc. as a joint venture with Ace Coin Equipment Ltd of the UK to create a free standing lottery kiosk which we called Touch and Win!

     

     

     
  • 1997-2002MotionCast to Area 54

    In 1997 I took an idea to a business associate I had known since University. He said if I could get a US Patent pending he would take the project public.

    So began a 5 year process. I met with Dr. James McFarlane, designer of the Oberon Class submarine, Commander, Canadian Navy ret. and owner of International Submarine Engineering ISE. On hearing my concept, agreed to become manufacturer of record. In return, he would assign any one of his 100 engineers on staff to help if I ran into technical problems as overseen by my patent attorneys.

     

    Finally, in May of 1999, after many hours of engineering lectures and time spent with lawyers, I received a US first of category patent pending on “A system and method to simulate the environment”.

     

     

     
  • 2000’sWhat if...
    I created a glass cockpit

    One final hands on, what if... project was the glass cockpit. I was contacted by Dr. McFarlane in 2001 and asked me to be in his office at 0800 hours the following day. The question he said, “Can you build a glass cockpit to manage an RUV. It must seat 3 people: pilot, engineer and owner, be portable and fit through ship gangways into an 11’ length x 6’ wide x 8’ high, life-vest locker room on board a ship being constructed in Bremen Germany. The equipment had to stand alone attached only to the deck.” It had to be designed, built, tested and shipped in 6 months. I asked who it was for but couldn’t tell me. I asked why his staff of over 100 engineers, some with NASA experience couldn’t do the job. He said they told him the hardware would not fit in the space nor on time. So of course I agreed to the project, too stupid to know I could not do it.

     

     

     
  • 2002 - 2004What If...
    I pull the brushes out from under the stairs

    In 2002, after years of creating complex inventions with hundreds of developmental design drawings, building prototypes, financing and preparing visual name branding and advertising programs to take my products to Wall Street. The money is in the paper. The inventor is lucky to keep 3%.

     

    It was now time to simplify life, honour my mother and return to my first passions, sculpture and painting. “When I produce a bad painting, it’s my fault. When I produce a good painting, it’s my fault.” “There are no longer myriads of middle men that take their piece and try to turn a race horse into a giraffe.”

     

     

     
  • 2004 - 2018What if...
    I built a studio
    and added Giclee Production

    In 2004 I converted the family 3 car garage into a one car garage, art gallery and studio which we euphemistically called the The Alley Gallery. The space was L shape, about 900 sq. ft. with an 18’-0 ceiling. I painted the walls white, the floor sea blue and hung paintings everywhere. I built the office/studio at the long end at the 4 foot level, to create 300 Sq. ft. office/studio and under office storage crawl space.

     

    In 2005, to utilize my Photoshop skills, I purchased an Epson Fine Art printing business. It consisted of a 24” museum quality, 8 color canvas/watercolor paper printer, an 18” - 8 color printer, a 12” x 18” flatbed scanner, computer, monitor, keyboard, ink, paper & a customer list. The 4’ W x 10’ L x 3.5’ H storage dolly I had previously built became the printer dolly. A roll away large work surface complete with everything built in.

     

     

     
  • 2008 - 21’sWhat if ...
    I reincarnate the 40’s Spatialist Movement into a modern idiom.

    Just prior to the Robert Genn episode that follows, with a background in sculpture and product design, I had begun to question the age old tradition of painting on a two dimensional flat surface. Canvas can be stretched many ways. Stretcher bars don’t have to be straight!

     

    I tested an idea! As part of producing Giclees for myself and others, I had to fabricate, stretch and staple over 100 canvases a year. I took the opportunity to experiment with the art of making the stretcher bars with washboard and angled surfaces, stretching the canvas every which way, inserting canvases into other canvases. Basically, just experimenting with a stick & fabric.

     

     

     
  • 2009 - 2012’sWhat if...
    I painted 178 Canvases

    A turning point of my paintings came in 2009. I had an opportunity to have my work critiqued by Robert Genn and Janice Robinson, signature members of the Federation of Canadian Artists. Arriving with a portfolio, a brochure, a CD and several favorite large canvases, I felt comfortable with the coming review.

     

    After introductions Robert asked why I was there. I replied that I wanted to know where I was on the road to success in the art world? He looked over his glasses at me and said...

     

    “You are on page 3 of a 783 page book. Stop creating those large paintings nobody can afford. Go to your room and paint 300 small 11” x 14” canvases.When you have finished, you will have a style people will recognize. ”

     

     

     
  • 2017 - 2021’sWhat if...
    I was offered a commission.

    In 2012 Tony, a friend and business associate, asked me to do a commissioned piece for his new home in Barbados. He wanted a 5’ - 4” x 4’ - 6” brightly colored Toucan. It was completed and delivered rolled up in 6 weeks. His interior decorator re-stretched the canvas and hung the work in it’s spot in the dining room. You can go through his stunning home by typing “Marsh Mellow Barbados” in Goggle or your Explorer.

     

    He called in October 2016 asking if I would be interested in creating another commissioned art piece for his new home under construction in Burmuda. I must interject here and bring you up to speed.

     

    Tony Marsh was my business partner in LottoSoft. When he left hospital after the horrendous accident in his wife Pat’s Ferrari that left 2 dead, Tony was incarcerated for a year. We kept in touch. A couple years pass and he called me out of the blue from Whistler.

     

     

     
  • 2021 - The Now!What if...
    We Moved

    In 2017 we were enjoying our Cabo condo in the sun. My good friend and realtor for many years called to say the Vancouver market had reached another peak and it was time to sell. Our 1800 square ft. condo overlooking Vancouver was sold in 10 days for a silly price. We had a closing in June, but now what? We returned to Vancouver in April with the intention of downsizing on Vancouver island. We had an established realtor in Nanoose Bay 20 minutes north of Nanaimo who showed us 3 homes in Fairwinds Resort, the third was on the first hole of the Fairwinds Golf Course. We bought it on the spot for 1/2 the silly price of our Vancouver home. Downsizing was hard with 4600 square ft. to fill. We became islanders overnight. As you can see from the photos, my new studio opens into the back yard, facing the 9th hole of Fairwinds Golf.