The ultimate artist for the genre of Space Art is Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon and the only Apollo astronaut to document his experience by artwork.
Alan started painting after working in other NASA projects; his last venture was training astronauts for the soon to end Shuttle programme. He could easily have taken other jobs at organisations such as Rockwell or McDonnell-Douglas, but it was painting he cared about most. It was a hobby he did at weekends, but he decided to take it to a new level and turn it into a profession.
He paints with acrylics, tending to be impressionistic as well as technically detailed. His images show an eyewitness account of the first human exploration of another world. There is an irony that his paintings somewhat fill in a missing gap, because the TV camera taken to the moon for Apollo 12 was broken by Alan himself by inadvertently pointing it at the sun, so no moving footage was taken of this mission, although still pictures were.
What is remarkable about each painting is that it includes small amounts of materials from his space suit mission patches, the gold foil that insulated the Apollo 12 command module and finally a small amount of moon dust (gained from his dirtied mission patches). It is a high level of personalisation and real history that Alan includes with his paintings.
The moon has an inherent problem with trying to paint it’s surface in a realistic way and that is the lack of colour on the moon, as well as a uniformly dark sky. Alan is fully aware of the issue: “There’s only a few colours you can use on the Moon and make it look real; you can use reds and oranges-which are becoming my favourite-and yellows. But you use almost anything else and it doesn’t look right. It took me years to understand this, but being an art lover, it can still be frustrating.” (from MOON DUST, by Andrew Smith, Bloomsbury publishing 2005, Pg 185).
Including some kind of personalisation in our artwork is a continual goal for all of us. It might not be moon dust, that we include in our art, but using symbolism, self created models or an image presenting a personal story may be our own way of showing our uniqueness.
We include an interview with a digital space artist Mark Edwards, who has a wonderful portfolio created with Terragen.
Read the interview in our free on-line magazine publication here: