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Sid Barron (1917 – 2006)

Sid Barron

Sid Barron was a Canadian editorial cartoonist and artist. He was born on June 13, 1917, in Toronto, died on April 29, 2006, in Victoria, British Columbia. He drew for the Victoria Times, Toronto Star and The Albertan.

His drawings were typically apolitical showing the views of the common person. They often contained a biplane with its landing gear falling off towing a banner with the words “Mild, isn’t it?” and a striped cat, known as “Puddy tat”, leaning on its elbow holding a card bearing a wry comment.

Sid Barron Biography

Barron was born in Toronto on June 13, 1917, the son of Daisy Hilda Wormald. in Toronto to an unwed mother who had become pregnant in England and came to Canada to join her older sister Florence who lived in the city. Florence and her husband adopted him and he grew up knowing his biological mother as Auntie Daisy. He was an adult before he learned the truth. The family moved to Victoria when Sid was two years old. His family moved to Victoria in 1919 where he grew up around the shipping port at Victoria’s breakwater.

Sid Barron photo
Photo: Sid Barron

He was a shy, skinny boy, with a severe stammer. It was so pronounced that in 1938 when he was 21 years old his father sent him to the National Hospital for Speech Disorders in New York. Tom Hawthorn reported that in later years, he liked to tell the story that on his return home, he announced, “I’m c-c-c-c-cured!” Also at age 21, he took his first formal art lessons from Allan Edwards, a precocious talent who was two years younger than him and had followed him through South Park Elementary and Victoria High School, but who already had a studio on Broad Street. Pierre Berton also took lessons here.

Barron was married three times; he and his third wife married in 1977 and after numerous travels, they moved to Coombs, BC in 1987 and opened their studio and Country Gallery, which they operated for 10 years. Barron died at Mount St. Mary Hospital in Victoria, BC on April 29, 2006, at 88 years.

Sid Barron Education Life

  1. 1945 Meitzinger Institute, Detroit Michigan, USA.
  2. 1941 Vancouver School of Art, Vancouver, BC.
  3. 1940 Private Lessons with Alan Edwards, Victoria.

Sid Barron Professional life

He began working as an artist in 1940, painting in watercolor and tempera (as he was allergic to oil paints). Barron worked in the Canadian comic book industry during the 1940s before entering the world of editorial cartooning. Known as “the poet of the mundane,” Barron soon transformed into “one of the funniest and most stylistically distinctive cartoonists to emerge in the post-war editorial cartoon world. His painting subjects were harbors, ships and beach scenes He began his career by painting schedule cards for the Union Steamships in Vancouver, illustrating window cards for Victoria shops, and designing boxes and neon signs He moved to Toronto where he painted billboards and did war illustrations for the Toronto Star.

The “War Exchange Conservation Act” halted among other things the importation of U.S.periodicals including comic books. Canadian industry was born, and Sid found work as one of the freelancers in the stable of Educational Projects Inc., a Montreal-based company that brought out a single periodical Canadian Heroes. He drew cartoons of real wartime events some of which we’re told through the characters “Ace Deacon” and “Bos’n Bill” and he drew a number of the fictional “Canada Jack” stories.

Sid Barron (1917 - 2006) Cartoonist, by Sharmin haque prima

At the end of the war, The Star Weekly magazine hired him as a freelance illustrator, but this employment ended when the publisher went the cheap route and began purchasing syndicated works from American artists. He spent much of the 1950s seeking work on the coast and in Ontario.

Peter Desbarats, in The Hecklers, noted that: “During this period, it became apparent, he developed a caustic assessment of the manners and moral values of his compatriots who populated the newer suburbs of Canada’s expanding cities.”The suburbs of Toronto were fertile ground for his humor especially “Don Mills” which in his cartoons became “Dawn Mills’.

In 1958, he was hired as a cartoonist by Victoria Times publisher Stuart Keate. Three years later he. began selling cartoons to the Toronto Daily Star, In 1962, he moved to Calgary to work for The Albertan, but continued freelancing for the Star a practice which lasted thirty years. He left The Albertan just before Vance Rodewalt arrived in 1970.

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria held an exhibition of his works in 1973. His cartoons focused on social rather than political comment and came to carry two standard features. The “Puddy tat,” a cynical Cheshire Cat with ridiculous stripes, appeared in a lower corner holding a sardonic sign and the biplane often towing banners like “Mild Isn’t It.” And “Aren’t the mountains pretty today?”In 1983, editorial cartoonists met at a convention in Toronto, gathering one evening in the CN Tower restaurant high above the city. Roy Peterson, of the Vancouver Sun, hired an airplane to fly past towing a banner reading, “Mild, isn’t it?”

Sid Barron cartoon
Cartoon by Sid Barron

The largest collection,1,344 of his originals is held in the Library and Archives Canada, in Ottawa. The Glen Bow Museum in Calgary owns 70 originals that were published in The Albertan. Other Collections of his work can also be found at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Glen Bow Museum, the National Archives of Canada, the Okanagan Heritage Museum and in private collections in Canada and the USA.

Sid Barron cartoon
Cartoon by Sid Barron

 

He quit drawing cartoons in 1989, retiring to Coombs on Vancouver Island where he was able to indulge in his passion for watercolor seascapes. He died on April 29, 2006, at Mount St. Mary Hospital in Victoria. He was 88 years.

Publications

  1. 1989: Portfolio ‘89 Canadian Caricature, Macmillan, Toronto.
  2. 1988: Portfolio ‘88 Canadian Caricature, Eden Press, Montreal.
  3. 1987: Portfolio ‘87 Canadian Caricature, Guy Badeaux, Croc Publishing, Ludcom Inc. Montreal.
  4. 1986: Portfolio ‘86 Canadian Caricature, Guy Badeaux, Croc Publishing, Ludcom Inc. Montreal.
  5. 1985: The Best of Barron, Lester & Orpen Dennys Ltd, Toronto.
  6. 1981: Penticton International Auction of Fine Art, Penticton Arts Council, Penticton.
  7. 1972: The Barron Book (With Puddytat Centerfold), Star Reader Service, Toronto.
  8. 1968: A Scar Is Born by Eric Nicol, Illustrated by Barron, The Ryerson Press, Toronto.
  9. 1967: Barron’s Calgary Cartoons Vol.1, The Alberton, Calgary.
  10. 1960: 2nd Annual Barron’s Victoria, Victoria Times, Victoria.
  11. 1959: Barron’s Victoria: cartoons selected from the Victoria Times, Victoria.
  12. 1965: “Barron’s Toronto” Star Reader Service, Toronto.
  13. 1958: B.C. Paintings: Burnaby 58 / [Alvin L. Balkind], Burnaby Centennial Committee.
  14. 1944: “A Christmas Carol” for coloring, Educational Products Inc.

 

Sid Barron (1917 - 2006) Cartoonist, by Sharmin haque prima

Exhibitions

Solo

  1. 2010: Ship Shapes, Polychrome Fine Arts, Victoria BC, Canada.
  2. 1976: Sid Barron, Open Space, Victoria.
  3. 1973:Sid Barron, Paintings and Collages, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
  4. 1965: Mr. Sid Barron, Canadian Art Galleries, Calgary.
  5. 1949: Sid Barron, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver.

Duo

  1. 1992: A Lifetime of Explorations, Sid & Jesi, Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo.
  2. 1991: Sid & Jesi Barron, The Old School House Gallery, Qualicum.
  3. 1983: Sid & Jesi Barron, The Little Gallery, Victoria.
  4. 1981:The Art Gallery at the Crystal (Sid & Jesi Barron), Crystal Gardens, Victoria.
  5. 1979:Sid & Jesi Barron, The Little Gallery, Victoria.
  6. 1978: Barron & Jesi, Watercolors & Drawings, The Little Gallery, Victoria.
  7. 1977:Sid & Jesi Barron, Santa Cruz, California, USA.
  8. 1977:Sid & Jesi Barron, Majorca, Spain.

Group

  1. 2011:Hobnob 3, Polychrome Fine Arts, Victoria BC, Canada.
  2. 2010:Wish List, Polychrome Fine Arts, Victoria BC, Canada.
  3. 2010: Hobnob 2, Polychrome Fine Arts, Victoria BC, Canada.
  4. 1995: La Fleur Invitational Exhibition, The Old School House, Qualicum.
  5. 1995:The Circle Show, Barron’s Country Gallery, Coombs.
  6. 1995: Studio Show, Barron’s Country Gallery, Coombs.
  7. 1994: Studio Show, Barron’s Art Centre, Coombs.
  8. 1994: Arts & Crafts Jury Show, District 69 Community Arts Council, Qualicum.
  9. 1992: Studio Show, Barron’s Art Centre, Coombs.
  10. 1992: Expose Yourself, Eagle shore Gallery, Qualicum.
  11. 1992: Ten Faces, District 69 Community Arts Council, Parkville.
  12. 1992: Studio Show, Barron’s Art Centre, Coombs.
  13. 1992: 6th Annual Garden Party & Art Auction, The Old School House, Qualicum.
  14. 1991: Studio Show, Barron’s Art Centre, Coombs.
  15. 1990: Studio Show, Barron’s Art Centre, Coombs.
  16. 1989: A View of the World from Ontario, John B. Arid Gallery, Toronto.
  17. 1988: Studio Show, Barron’s Art Centre, Coombs.
  18. 1987: Studio Show, Barron’s Art Centre, Coombs.
  19. 1981: Penticton International Auction of Fine Art, Penticton Arts Council, Penticton.
  20. 1979: Spring Show ’79, The Little Gallery, Victoria.
  21. 1978: Leaf hill Galleries, Victoria.
  22. 1973: The Little Gallery, Victoria.
  23. 1967: Cartoon Sale, Alberton, Calgary.
  24. 1958: B.C.Paintings-Burnaby 58, Burnaby.
  25. 1958:18th Quarterly Group Exhibition, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver.
  26. 1957: 17th Quarterly Group Exhibition, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver.

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Written by Sharmin haque prima

Dr. Sharmin Haque Prima is a dental surgeon. She has done BDS in 2015. She is now doing a master’s of public health at North South University.

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