Rochester Brennans: John Aidan Byrne’s granddad, David Brennan, worked on the Erie Canal before returning to Co. Mayo, Ireland. Photo shows him with his brothers in Rochester, NY. Circa 1890, to early 1900s
John Aidan Byrne’s documentary on the iconic American artist, Norman Rockwell, is inspired by S.T. Haggerty’s new book, NORMAN ROCKWELL’S MODELS. In and Out of the Studio
Irish Immigrant Media Professional Will Honor the American Dream: Top-Rated Podcaster. Book Series Success. Norman Rockwell Documentary In Pre-Production
— John Aidan Byrne
NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, November 14, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — Media man John Aidan Byrne, a successful US immigrant from Ireland living the American Dream, has announced his latest venture — a film documentary on iconic artist, Norman Rockwell.
“We’re talking to many creative people in the business, financiers, artists and some of the best directors in the industry,” says Byrne, an award-winning journalist, book editor, podcaster, and entrepreneur, who has signed on as producer, narrator and screenwriter for the documentary. “Norman Rockwell, an American legend, was complicated but touches a special place in all of our hearts,” adds Byrne. “He loved and cherished America, and was aware of its challenges. But he brought out the very best in our nation, from the simplicity and wholesomeness of rural living to urbane modernity, faith and family values, and a bright future in the land of the free.”
Byrne says the documentary is inspired in part by his friend S.T. Haggerty’s book, Norman Rockwell’s Models: In and Out of the Studio. (Rowan & Littlefield Publishers 2023.) Byrne has published interviews with Rockwell’s son, Jarvis, Rockwell model, Pauline Grimes, as well as with Haggerty himself who spent long summers at his family’s farmhouse near West Arlington, Vermont. (Norman Rockwell once had his home and studio here.) Haggerty grew up knowing many local Rockwell models in West Arlington, including those who posed for such famous works as Freedom of Speech, Breaking Home Ties, and Girl at the Mirror.
Byrne also says the documentary is “perfect for a corporate sponsor who wants to reframe the American consumer narrative, in a profoundly positive way that harkens back to the ideals that sustained America in the best and worst of times.” The impetus for the documentary is also propelled by new research on the American Dream, as well as his alarm at increasing polarization in US society, according to Byrne
An exhaustive study earlier this year by the Archbridge Institute and the University of Chicago on the American Dream, as reported by the New York Post, concluded that while the results, “continue to show large agreement and optimism across Americans of diverse age, race/ethnicity, education and income groups, there are signs of declining belief in the United States as the ‘land of opportunity.’”
“Wow, what’s that all about?” Byrne asks, incredulously. So if you think the America Dream is dead, think again, he says. In truth, he adds, it is about perception and reality. And Byrne thinks a new documentary on Rockwell, spanning the artist’s career, examining Rockwell’s vision of America, and in the eyes of his models (many still alive), and the author ST Haggerty, would be a cathartic moment for America.
A decline in belief in the American Dream, defined by factors such as an ability to live in freedom and retire comfortably, own a home and raise a family, has risen lately as more Americans are crushed by rising prices, lack of affordable housing, and fears about crime and personal safety.
Still, the Archbridge Institute survey with the University of Chicago released this past summer noted, nonetheless, that 75% of Americans — across all ages, race, income or education — admitted they have either achieved the American Dream, or are on the path to achieving it.
Byrne says notions that the American Dream as an achievable goal, is in sharp decline, are often fueled by poorly informed, or biased media and culture warriors — sometimes by pundits who do not believe in the great American ideal envisaged by the Founding Fathers. Norman Rockwell celebrated the American Dream across many decades, says Byrne, in wartime and in peace time, in good times and bad, capturing the essential nature of the nation, a spirit of can-do optimism and unity.
Byrne quotes Don Feder, who recently wrote in the Washington Times of how Rockwell’s art gave us hope. “We need that more than ever today,” says Byrne.
“He celebrated life in a simpler time — backyard ball games, prom dates, boys dreaming they’ll grow up to become firemen, a child goggle-eyed when he discovers a Santa hat and false beard in his father’s dresser. Middle America took him to heart. The snob-elite disdained him,” according to Feder.
Added Feder: “Rockwell had the last laugh. He painted the official portraits of five presidents. His Four Freedoms, painted in 1943, raised $132 million in war bond sales when it toured the country on exhibit. In 2013, one of his paintings sold at auction for $46 million.”
Says Byrne: “Our documentary will celebrate the sophistication, beauty and simplicity, as well as the contradictions of America, but also its great advances, and its hugely extensive technical and technological innovations you won’t find in any other parts of the world. Rockwell projects and honors this landscape and spirit of can-do and enterprise.”
About John Aidan Byrne
John Aidan Byrne, a multi-media expert who runs his own boutique communications company for print and video productions, is a dual US and Irish citizen who came to America from his native Ireland over three decades ago. Byrne and his wife Margaret live in Morris County, NJ and have four young adult children.
Byrne is a contributor and writer for numerous publications and outlets, including the New York Post, Wall Street Journal, National Catholic Register. He is an editor and writer for the Zicklin School of Business’ best-selling series of books on market structure. Byrne is Consulting Producer, The King: The Final Hours, a widely acclaimed play on Elvis Presley by Emmy Award-winning producer, Mark Macias. Byrne emceed a concert at Town Hall in NY. He was a weekend news announcer on the old WOR 710 AM radio. He has been featured and quoted on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, Gript Media, London’s Talk Radio, Page Six of the New York Post, Sunday Independent, Bloomberg Radio, Newsmax, WOR 710, Ireland’s LMFM and numerous more outlets.
Byrne is the former editor of Traders Magazine, and author of the trade publication’s notable 1997 cover story, The Madoff Mystery. He interviewed Bernard L Madoff and his brother Peter at their iconic offices in Manhattan’s skyscraper Lipstick Building. That was more than a decade before Bernard Madoff’s downfall, and the collapse of his multi-billion dollar empire. The cover lines blared, ‘The Madoff Mystery.’
Meanwhile, Byrne, will soon launch and produce a new podcast – his third podcast on audio and video platforms – for an academic institution in New York City. His DIG LIFE DEEP! Podcast- among the top 1½ percent of podcasts worldwide, as ranked by Listen Notes – inaugurated his podcast enterprises. That was followed by the hugely popular ODEON CAPITAL CONVERSATIONS Podcast. The weekly episodes of the ODEON CAPITAL CONVERSATIONS Podcast features famed bank analyst Dick Bove, and Wall Street veteran, Mat Van Alstyne, co-founder and managing partner of ODEON CAPITAL GROUP. ODEON CAPITAL CONVERSATIONS is now one of the top-rated Apple Podcast worldwide in the Business News category.
Back in 2017, Byrne spearheaded and coordinated, from here in America, one of the largest worldwide family gatherings of its kind in Irish history, reuniting in Ireland his far-flung cousins and extended family from America, Canada, the UK, Europe, as well as from locally from Ireland. They included long lost cousins who grew up in Rochester, in upstate New York, descendants of Byrne’s maternal grandfather, David Brennan. David returned to Ireland around the turn of the 20th Century, after toiling on the Erie Canal in the Rochester area.
Byrne has interviewed a cluster of VIPs, including New York billionaire and supermarket mogul John Catsimaditis; UFC Sports superstar, Conor McGregor; FOX News’ Raymond Arroyo; Godfather actor and legend, Gianna Russo; Bill O’Reilly’s writing partner on the Killing series, Martin Dugard; economist Peter Schiff; India’s youngest billionaire, Nikhil Kamath; author of best-seller, Dopamine Nation Dr. Anna Lemke; American exorcist, Msgr. Stephen J Rosetti, author of best seller, Diary of an American Exorcist; best-selling Irish American writer, Jack Cashill; 3X World Series Champion and MLB Star Todd Stottlemeyer, and theologian Dr. Scott Hahn Scott.
ACHIEVEMENT OF NOTE: Leading a group of runners who are part of the LIFE Runners organization, across the Brooklyn Bridge, New York, to raise awareness and funds for mothers and couples in crisis pregnancies, and for pro-life organizations. “The real payback was creating awareness, saving lives and making genuine friendships with some of the best and kindest people I have ever met in my life,” says John Aidan Byrne.
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