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Winter at Canyon Ferry

Photo by Clarkson C.1991


Robert N. Clarkson, performing artist and entrapreneur

Born March 1950 in Clinton, MO
Residence is Helena Montana where my family moved while I was an infant.

Carroll College, graduate B.A. Economics 1973
Completed Post-graduate credit in Public Administration; (Accounting, Labor Relations, and Marketing)

1970 - 1974 Air National Guard
1975 - 1980 Army National Guard
1981 - 1991 U.S. Army Reserve
POSITIONS HELD: Medical Services Specialist, Armor Cavalry Platoon Leader, Media Relations Officer, Training Officer, Personnel Officer
UNITS: 120th USAF Dispensary, 103d Public Affairs Detachment, 163d Armored Cavalry Regiment Trp F(-), 159th Spt Gp, 6228th USAR School, USA CIDC Sixth Region HQ


College jobs: car wash manager, college publications photographer, free lance commercial photography and news reporting, airport flight line worker (General Aviation), bar tender, private security guard, played trumpet in the Muncipal Band and Orchestra, folk singer, summer tour guide/bus driver, and rental property maintenance.

College Leisure Activities: painting, skiing, competitive swimming, college pep band, flying, and intermural soccer. Also in my college years I obtained a private pilot license, rebuilt a 1963 Corvette, competed in Sports Car Clubs of America speed events, and traveled across North America as a crew member with an International Formula Car Racing Team.
During my senior year I produced a one-man art exhibit of original paintings and photographs.


In 1973 I purchased Eighth Avenue Grocery Building, remodeled the residence and store room and opened Clarkson Studio Photography.
During this time, I continued to assist family maintain their real estate rentals, and earned extra income by renting the house adjacent to the studio. I limited my business involvement from 1991 to 1995 to help assist my dad care for my mother when she became terminal. Then in 2001 my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I again limited my business activities to help provide in-home care for him until he died in the fall of 2002. During this time, I completely remodeled and furnished the townhouse rental unit into a luxury overnight tourist lodging facility. In July 2003 the VRBO, The Sleepy Senator Tourist House, hosted the first guests and in 2004 was subsequently declared the "Number One place to stay in Helena" by TravelSmart Publication of NYC.
After my father died I acquired several of the family residential rental properties and became CEO of Clarkson Properties Rental Management.

2003-2014 TEACHING
In 2002 I had started substitute teaching in the local school system for extra income while re-establishing my businesses activities after my parents had died. Then in 2009 I was requested to work under contract as a High School Drama Coach / Thespian Sponsor. Most days were long, made even more so, by merely being relegated to monitor movies or study halls. I seldom was appraised of any "problems" within the school classrooms from many epidemic diseases, illegal drug usage, or legal mood-altering "leveling" medications, or about any potential of disciplinary problems. In 10 years I observed a 'closed' society which constantly moves children up and out of various schools, with parents losing all interest just as soon as their child 'graduates,' a system that does not want to allow any outsiders inside to observe or study it, a system in which most of the employees after attaining tenured job-security merely will hang on for 20 or so years to retire, using required continuing education benefits to prepare themselves for life after retirement. Then, once secure with benefits, go off to follow their real "calling" in life. I continually observed a system in which administrative policy and government mandates often prevented academic or vocational technical skill achievements much beyond reaching "mediocrity" and where most artistic creativity is suppressed by unskilled instructors, having only academic credentials; or else those few "excellent" dedicated arts instructors receiving no administrative support for their program. Teachers are kept isolated from each other by class schedules and duties, but in my town they each do receive upper middle incomes and superior benefits to even most state jobs, with the 2-teacher households actually becoming affluent in terms of average incomes here in America. Yet, substitutes here still earn the same pay as they did back in the 1970's when my girlfriend was substituting. I witnessed millions being spent on athletic fields, when the budgets could not find the thousands needed to provide textbooks in classes where students are being required to have the latest computer to 'download' the book in e-pub format and then pay a fraction for it on their own, but then being prohibited by the school rules from using these electronic devices in these classrooms! Yet, the public still elects the same people back to the oversight public administrative boards. Commuting to and from the schools in winter often involved hazardous icy roads, no visibility from rising and setting sun glare, and often seeing near misses among the hordes of inattentive rushing parents, chauffeuring children to school, mixed with hundreds of impulsive impatient teen drivers, pedestrians and bicycle riders never watching, all arriving and departing at the same place at the same time, with most ignoring local traffic speed limits and signals all along the "one-route" providing limited access to the facility. I finally quit this job completely, refusing my contract renewal offer, in the fall of 2014.

I started performing Magic and Illusion Shows professionally at the encouragement of many professional mentors and friends when I was 37 years old after a lifetime of study and collecting magic props. I swiftly rose to International Status and reputation as a club room performer and emcee for magician's conventions.
I have held International elected office and appointments in the Society of American Magicians, an international amateur magic association. I have appeared at many international magic conventions stage shows and even toured as a featured artist in a tent circus in addition to a busy schedule producing and appearing in my own illusion shows for schools, conventions, dinner meetings, charity events, county fairs and festivals. I have been a magic and special effects consultant to local ballet and theater companies. I have been featured in regional television news interviews, and radio talk shows. I also had a brief acting career, performing lead roles in summer stock and community theater productions and appearing in state tourism promotional films and commercials.

The summer I graduated from college, 1973, I opened Clarkson Studio in a 19th Century neighborhood store and house building I purchased. I started creating display images for local advertising and now have an extensive portfolio of published product advertising and media editorial assignment images, published world-wide, and I have exhibited artistic photographs in galleries and at the prestigious Pacific Northwest Photo Expos.

My biography has been published in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who Among Emerging Business Leaders, and Who's Who in the World. My photographs have been published worldwide, including on many magazine covers and in display advertisements, and I have received the Award of Merit from the Professional Photographers of America.
My Bed and Breakfast, Vacation Rental Unit, was named "The #1 Most Interesting Place to Stay in Helena" by TravelSmart Magazine of NYC.
I have received achievement awards and the Life Membership Award from the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians Wizard Award and Order of Harry Houdini Award, Silver Tier. I have served many years on the Society of American Magicians' International Board of Directors in both elected and appointed positions. I am a member in the prestigious Hollywood Magic Castle Academy of Magical Arts, The Society of American Magicians, The International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Invisible Lodge, and the NY Edison Hotel Magic Table.

Until recently I had been a member of the First Christian Church of Helena and was elected congregation moderator. For several years I worked part-time with a local ambulance service and was an active Ski Patrolman on MT Belmont. I am a certified open water scuba diver. I spent several summers as a projectionist at the local Drive-In Movie Theater and was active in the Helena Exchange Club for nearly a decade, elected to both the local club and district club offices, and received many awards for my participation in the service club. I am a Past Commander of the Reserve Officers Montana Department and Helena Chapter, and I am a Past Master in a Helena Masonic Lodge. I was elected to serve on the City of Helena Citizen's Council for four terms.

I curently live in a scenic Montana community with my standard poodle in my parent's former home, a 5 bedroom 2.5 bath Victorian, constructed in 1891 by Thornbourgh and Day, supposedly designed by famous 19th Century Architect George Appleton of NY. It is near the Montana State Capitol Building and was originally built as a speculation shortly following the vote making Helena the New State Capitol. For decades the house title was in default and litigation, until it eventually was awarded to high-ranked English nobility involved in the British Foreign Service as part of the wealthy influential family's investment portfolio, who owned it until just prior to WWII.

My constant companions for over 12 years, Heather (Berry's Coppertop) and Shaka (an Artic Lobo wolf) who both died during the winter of 2006. The dogs have their own webpage

Studying about spirituality, magic, religion, bowling, reading, snow skiing, auto sports, concerts, playing the guitar, swimming, hiking, and I am a classical movie and jazz enthusiast.

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COPYRIGHT by R. N.Clarkson 1991-2006, updated 2011
Office at:
401 North Hoback Street
Helena, Montana 59601 USA