In 1929, at the Galerie Le Centaure in Brussels Belgium, the world was first introduced to ‘The Treachery of Images’ by then 30 year old Belgian surrealist painter Rene-Francois-Ghislain Magritte.

Known for his propensity for horror, whimsy, and mystery, Rene joined with his surrealist contemporaries in constantly testing the boundaries and authority of both words and images through his art and never perhaps was it more evident than in this work depicting a simple bent billiard briar pipe with the French words scribbled bellow  “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, which translates to English as “This is not a pipe”

Much has been said about this painting and its ability to flip the tables on the expectations of the viewer. That of course an image of a pipe is not a pipe but then can a pipe truly ever ‘be’ in an artistically rendered state? Maybe art takes the source and transcends it to a new being. Or, perhaps, an imitation will always be a superficial and flat shadow of the real. And all of this causes me to wonder if the surrealists were, in some small way, early pioneers of immersive theater in their ability to bring in the viewer, their audience, and make them in that moment of contemplation, part of the art itself. 

Ironically, Rene avoided in-depth analysis of his own works despite the intensively provocative nature of them. And so perhaps he would have appreciated my desire to parody “The Treachery of Images” several years ago with a meme announcing the newly minted logo of a pipe shaped microphone with the words ‘This is not a podcast’. 

For 10 years, Country Squire Radio was the number one pipe podcast that gave a rallying point for pipe enthusiasts seeking knowledge, community, and thoughtful conversations around the craft. My guest today is Jon David Cole, my former co-host of Country Squire Radio and the owner and tobacconist of the Country Squire in Jackson Mississippi. 

As a craftsman, Jon David has an intrinsic understanding of how art and product development can, or at least should, be deeply intertwined. As a retailer, he understands the experience driven economy that sustains his artistry through telling a story.

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