cartoonist, caricaturist, painter and advertising agent, was born in Balmain on 7 May 1904. He worked as an illustrator and artist for a number of publications and was staff artist on the Evening News in 1923 and an illustrator and cartoonist for the Australian Woman’s Mirror in 1927. Known as 'Aub’ (which he sometimes used on his cartoons), he contributed to the daily and Sunday Sun (Sydney) and was a Bulletin regular from the 1930s. Also worked freelance.

Aria’s war cartoons for Smith’s Weekly include 'Design for Living’ 1938 showing Chamberlain (British PM) as a swastika (ill. King, 128); 'Trinity’ 1938 about war profiteers (ill. King, 130); and 'Service with a Smile’ re: appeasement 11 March 1939, 12. 'Coffee for one’ 1950, published in the Sydney Morning Herald , is on Menzies’ anti-communist stance (ill. King, 164). His Sun-Herald cartoons include two originals dated 1950 in the Art Gallery of WA: 'Abo’s (sic) fingers caught in a deck chair or Deck chair collapsing’ (957/D311) and 'A Going Concern, 1,500 pounds sterling’ (957/D313). His caricatures include one of Syd Nicholls as 'Fatty Finn’ in 1932. He also painted watercolours and portraits.

Aria originated several comic strips, including 'The Aria Kids’ in 1927, which appeared for several years in the Australian Woman’s Mirror , an Evening News (Sydney) publication subsequently owned by the Bulletin Newspaper Company. Two original cartoons of 1931 and 1932 are at ML PXD 764. His original Bulletin cartoons, signed 'Aria’, include an Indigenous Australian squatting on the steps of a bank (paid 19 August 1959): “Sorry, sir, he won’t go away – says this land is his tribe’s hunting ground!” (ML Px*D445 – used in SLNSW b/w exhibition 1999). Others in the collection are the Finey realist-style ' Food Relief. Official (to dole applicant): “Do you keep a dog?”. Dole Applicant: “We did – but we ate him!”’(ML Px*D445), published 16 November 1932; “Sputnecks!” – a line drawing of crowd with heads stuck in air (Px*D445) published 16 October 1957; a critic in beret and duffle coat to artist facing a blank canvas, “Don’t touch it, Paul – there you have the perfect abstract!” (Px*D445), published 18 November 1959. The NLA owns the original of “What’s a pedestrian, Dad?” 1930s, ink (R4912), probably done for the Bulletin . At the Bulletin Aria was the 'inseparable cobber’ of Bill Mahony , according to Douglas Stewart (1977, 36).

In June 1999 the SLNSW acquired 49 original ink drawings for Aria’s comic strip 'Mr Tutt’ 1941-46, published in the ABC Weekly in the 1940s. (PICMAN notes 1-44 comprise Mr Tutt comic strip, generally sight gags with little texts – subjects include Christmas, sleeplessness, art, pavement photographers. Nos 45-49 are editorial cartoons, including no.46 General Macarthur, and no 47 on the inaccuracy of weather forecasting. Some are inscribed with publication dates or ABC Weekly volume numbers. The dated drawings are from 1941, 1944 and 1946. Presented June 1999, PXD 786).

Lindesay states that Aria was director of a well‑known (art?) correspondence school in Sydney, while Stone claims he was a highly successful advertising agent. He died at Woollahra on 8 August 1962 (SLNSW). He and his wife, Iris Dexter, had no children.

Kerr, Joan
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