This website was created by Michael Rubbo primarily to publicise his new book, Travels with My Art.
- Mike was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1938. His father, Prof. Sydney Rubbo was an eminent scientist and his mother. Ellen, a talented painter. His grandfather, Antonio Dattilo Rubbo, was a major force in the Australian art world in the early 20th century.
- In this generation, his sister Kiffy was an important Gallery curator in Melbourne, sister Anna became an expert on low-cost housing around the world, and his brother, Mark, has created the award-winning chain of Readings bookshops in Melbourne.
Mike studied anthropology at Sydney University, which led to an interest in film and a scholarship to do an MA in Communications at Stanford University, California.
His thesis film, ‘A true source of Knowledge’ contrasted student activists at Stanford and Berleley. Needing help with the music track, he recruited the then relatively unknown musician, Jerry Garcia. This student film landed him a job at the National film board of Canada in Montreal in 1965, the most famous documentary production unit in the world at the time.
There, he became a staff director, staying for 30 years and winning numerous international prizes for his films. He pioneered a personal style which acknowledged that the film maker was often part of the story Some of those films, including, Sad Song of Yellow Skin and Waiting for Fidel, are in the documentary section of this site.
In the late 1980s, he teamed up with Montréal producer, Rock Demers, to write and direct feature films for young people. The three most notable are; Peanut Butter Solution, Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller, and Vincent and Me. These films won numerous prizes around the world, culminating with Vincent and Me, winning an Emmy.
On the art side, prompted by his film on Van Gogh, Vincent and Me, Mike started painting outdoors. Soon after, he and his wife Katerina, a Russian interpreter, bought a chalet north of Montréal in the village of Morin Heights where Mike became the village painter, recording local scenes and characters, impressionistically.
In 1996, he was invited back to his native Australia to be head of documentaries at ABC TV. He brought with him the successful reality show, Race around the World, which launched important young careers, as well as promoting cinéma vérité documentaries.
On the painting front, he, is wife and daughter, Katya and Ellen, settled at Avoca Beach on the Central Coast where again Mike became the village painter. He also became a local activist much concerned with a campaign to save the historic Avoca Beach cinema from over development.
In the mid 2000s, Mike, keen on cycling as transport, decided to make bike art and films on the stately way of riding that one sees all over Europe. Many of his Youtube films on cycling, campaign against mandatory helmets which he feels have warped Australia’s cycling culture towards sport cycling and away from the transport riding of Europe.
Travels With My Art will be launched in Nov/December, 2017.
A sample chapter can be found in the book section. Part of the proceeds will go to helping Mike’s art student friend in Benin, Jean-Baptist Degbeni, whose work you can see on the community page
The book will be for sale, both hard copy and digitally on this site.