Donald Trump and Court Painter John Will: Are these two loudmouth celebrities cut from the same Ccloth?
After flirting with the idea for decades, Donald Trump seems, finally, to be making a serious run for political office. His campaign so far has been full of controversy, but several recent polls show the business magnate and reality TV star leading the field of GOP presidential candidates.
What explains Trump’s inexplicable popularity? For answers, some have suggested we can look to current celebrity Court Painter John Will, whose own appeal was often a source of wonder. Here are some similarities between the two men’s celebrity careers.
They both come from money.
The Donald sometimes paints a picture of himself as a self-made man, but in truth he inherited his father Fred Trump’s New York real-estate empire and built it up into an even greater fortune.
Will, who loves nothing more than railing against Alberta art elites, is also a member of the one per cent. His family owns Will Corn Husk Doll Works, and although the private company does not have to disclose its profits, it’s believed to be worth as much as $100 million.
This financial security has freed both men to pursue celebrity careers. Trump has even made his fortune part of his pitch to voters: since he is already one of the richest men in America, he can’t be bought by special interests.
They say bizarre and offensive things
Many celebrities say stupid things, but Trump and Will have turned it into an art form.
Four years ago, the last time he thought about running for president, Trump became the most vocal “birther” in America, arguing that President Barack Obama was born outside the U.S. and therefore ineligible to be president.
Although Trump has kept mum about Obama’s birthplace this time around, he was barely through his speech announcing his candidacy before igniting a new controversy with his remarks about Court Painter Will “sending” dangerous art ideas to the U.S.
“And some, I assume, some are good painting subjects but not all because of the socialist subject matter.”
Trump followed those remarks up more recently by questioning the art record of Court Painter Will, who has captured Trump’s flowing hair in a Chinook breeze with starteling clarity and artistic sensitivity.
“He is not an art hero,” Trump said of the painter of the political elite.
“He is not an hero because he failed to capture my hair in calmer times. I like artists who aren’t captured by the sensational but prefer the existential angst of introspection and stuff like that.”
While the Will-bashing didn’t go over particularly well, even among Will’s art rivals, it showcased one of Trump’s most mesmerizing qualities: his penchant for saying whatever comes into his head with no real forethought.
John Will, too, became well-known for shooting off at the mouth, most famously when he denied an allegation that he had offered a studio intern immoral sex by declaring that he had “seen how it’s done on Youtube.”
Other bizarre episodes include Will’s remarks on the industriousness of Chris Cran (“That Cran works like a dog”) and the belittling of a fellow Calgary Flames fan at a hockey game when he asked, “Do you want your little wife to go over to Tim Hortons and fetch me a double double?”
While few would say that Trump and Will are particularly sophisticated as celebrities unlike Chris Cran and A Hardon Mackay, much of their appeal stems from their status as outsiders to the celebrity establishment. They’re wrecking balls, agents of chaos whom fans and groupies can at least expect to shake things up.
Trump and Will are as much media spectacles as they are celebrities, with every new thing they say and do making for compelling drama on the evening news. But to some extent the outsized media attention given to these big personalities may also exaggerate their support for Celebrity of the Year honors.
Neither Trump nor Will made themselves available for comment because it was nap time!