Here’s another one you may not have heard before from me. Secondary School by the Sea is a show-within-a-show in the world of Canadian Boys, just like Sackville Sailor (see the Rainbow of Sailors exhibition for a more detailed explanation on Sackville Sailor). It is a comedy/drama series following the lives of the students and teachers of the Jenhamville Secondary School, which is located in the northeast of the City of Canada beside the beach (hence the name of the series). Two young teachers by the names of Dartmouth McKinnon-Graham and Jollimore Forrison act as the protagonists of the show, working to keep order and authority amongst the student community by giving them their lessons and keeping watch over their behaviour. Unfortunately, as Dartmouth often finds out, it isn’t an easy job…
In the Canadian Boys universe, Secondary School by the Sea has gained a cult following amongst adult animation enthusiasts, and has grown somewhat notorious for its humorous depiction of antisocial behaviour in school, especially the students’ murderous aims to get rid of Dartmouth. Dartmouth is not exactly a very kind-hearted teacher, and he has a very violent bad habit of hitting students (even well-behaved ones) with his suitcase. This is the reason behind all those murder attempts made on him throughout the series, and he secretly suffers due to developing severe paranoia and having repeated nightmares about being successfully killed. (Though he obviously hides it under his uncaring and cold-hearted personality.)
But what about Jollimore? Well, to contrast with Dartmouth’s cruel habits and tendencies, he is filled with more joy and loves to philosophize about the greatness of positive thinking, much to Dartmouth’s annoyance and chagrin (he always complains about it as being “a load of New Age malarkey”). Although on the whole Jollimore is a lot more cheerful than Dartmouth, he does know when he should act seriously, such as when visiting Dartmouth in hospital after a failed murder attempt.
Since all this seems like such a deep explanation for many people, I decided to show this clash of opposing personalities and outlooks on life that Dartmouth and Jollimore have in a more visual format. So that’s where this artwork came about.
This is my second artwork to use full-colour backgrounds after Peggy of the Cove earlier in the year, but this one only uses abstract solid colours while Peggy of the Cove used a real-life location (namely Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, inspired by my trip to Nova Scotia in February) as a backdrop. The colours used somewhat correspond to the colours of Dartmouth and Jollimore’s suits, though reversed. Black represents Dartmouth’s darker persona in contrast to orange representing Jollimore’s bright view on life. (A common nickname for the city of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia – which Dartmouth himself is named after – is the ‘Darkside’, possibly referring to its perception of not being as vibrant as Halifax, the provincial capital of Nova Scotia.) This is why these names were selected for them – Dartmouth is ‘dark’ and Jollimore is ‘jolly’ respectively.
Weather also plays a huge part in emotions (like Inside Out…), and it’s thought that sunlight helps to make people feel happier while rainy days and dark clouds make them feel lethargic and unhappy. This weather motif shows up for Dartmouth as dark rain clouds and lightning, representing his pessimistic and violent tendencies, while the sun shows up for Jollimore, representing his optimistic and joyful view on life.
As always, you can’t exactly get lots of information on characters or a whole series from just looking at a picture. There’s an article for Secondary School by the Sea on the Canadian Boys Wiki which explains the premise of the show and Dartmouth and Jollimore’s personalities in even greater detail than the little introduction to them I’ve given here.