Thirty years ago yesterday in 1982, Sally Ride was tapped to ride in STS-7. She was selected to be the first American woman to fly into space. I usually try to share the freshest space artwork that I can find on the outerwebs, but I am selfishly taking the opportunity to share the work that originally got me going in space art, that highlight the LADIES of the manned space exploration- Philip Bond’s 2009 “Women in Space”.
Bond began the series with the intention of drawing each female astronaut; while still shy of capturing the nearly sixty that have flown, his results are cosmic. Bond’s sublime, cartoon-like portraits transform these female space pioneers into galactic superheros. Dipped in hues of lime, violet and blue, the collection forms a vibrant girl power astro yearbook. The series begins with Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to venture into space beating Sally by twenty years, and includes another twenty women who have bravely taken flight off earth.
Happy Belated Cosmonauts Day! Yesterday, April 12 was the 51st anniversary of the first manned space flight by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, orbitting the earth aboard Vostok 1. Also, for all the American patriots reading this, yesterday was the 31st Anniversary of first space shuttle launch – Columbia STS-1 in 1981.
Every April 12th, there are gatherings of space fans and fanatics for the International Yuri’s Night. There are over 75 organized events in 34 countries to celebrate the achievement of making it spaceward.
The above logo was created by Karen Lau of Astracultura around the 40th Anniversary of Yuri’s flight. As much as I enjoy the logo itself, I am especially fond of the typography used in all of the event’s branding; in particular the Faux Cyrillic Y, as the Faux Cyrille lettering is common Western trope used to allude to the USSR and/or Russia. Even as Yuri’s night was founded by Westerners (Loretta Hidalgo, Trish Games and George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic), it is a celebration to commemorate the international milestone of putting man into space.
I first came across Philip Scott Andrew’sLast Days photo essay a while back while I was still working on contract at NASA Ames Research Center right before the end of the Space Shuttle program. Ames is home to the largest federal supercomputer, the NASA Kepler mission, and a slew of other amazing missions/projects; it is not involved in launch of manned space crafts. Even still the day after the Shuttle Program it seemed like a dark veil or stormy cloud hovered above the Research Park. Few engineers and employees were out and about; the heads of the seldom few were hung heavy. Even I, whom didn’t dream of being an astronaut as child, who starting working at NASA because it was a golden opportunity to share amazing content in an innovative fashion, sunk a little.
Andrew’s photographs capture end of the NASA Space Shuttle Program in such a triumphant manner. In his frames, there is no confusion or dismay about where the Space Program is headed. There is no bitterness to lack of direction and aimless quest of human space flight. It glorifies the accomplishments and tireless of work of so many individuals to place man into orbit.
His artist statement in Issue 9 of Daylight Magazine reads:
In the simplest terms, these photographs tell a story about men and women who show up to work every day and launch spaceships. It is a marvel, a symbol of the United States’ twentieth century dominance. But it is a tragic story. The U.S. is abandoning not only its manned spaceflight program but the individuals behind it whose ingenuity, bravery, and attention to detail made the program not only possible, but reliable… In looking back, we can look ahead to find the next adventure over the horizon.
Last Days truly captures a moment in time. The work is pretty phenomenal in taking a snapshot of the unparalleled nationalistic spirit and technical accomplishment only possible through the hands of many. Check out his website, it’s full of gems.
I thought I would pass along this little gemstone that I stumbled across on Tumblr. I am really digging on Kyle Jones’ Space Cadet – and the rest of his work for that matter! His work reminds me of something straight outta Hanna-Barbera Productions circa the 1960s. I am particularly fond of the marshmallow clouds against the red horizon. I still can’t place the green rabbit friend of the cadet, but if this what the future looks like, I’m really excited.
Bobby passed along these drawings to me by Jonathan Andrew Taylor. I may be mistaken, but I believe the top image was inspired by Hubert Vykukal’s AX-3 experiment suit (which Alex wrote about a while back). The AX hard body suits were heralded because they gave the body almost complete range of motion; an astronaut could move into something like 95% of the body positions that they could if they were in the buff. Although, Taylor’s drawings make the suit seem rather limiting with the astronaut barely capable of peaking over the bottom of his helmet. I’m fond of the tri-color palette that Taylor employs. Stripping the suit of its standard patriotic colors, he recasts the image into another a sphere. It’s as if Taylor’s astronauts have complete range of motion in capturing a child-like pursuit of imagination.
Stan Gaz’s series Ensnared – Astronauts and Butterflies, explores the themes of “loss, memory, transition, and transformation.” His images depict archetypes of the hunter and the hunted, though it’s hard to tell which figures are really trapped. Is it the astronaut in his white, sterile suit or the delicate butterfly? Seeing this series made me think of Jean-Dominique Bauby’s memoir The Diving Bell & the Butterfly. Bauby, physically crippled by locked-in syndrome, uses the extended allusion of the diving bell (much like a space suit) to illustrate his oppressive state and still his mind is able to take flight like a butterfly. In Gaz’s artist statement, he states, “The roles can be oddly interchangeable, caught up in a cycle in which each is trapped by the other—where neither is ever free of the other’s influence, but nevertheless transformation still takes place.”
The French ambient duo AIR’s newest project, Le Voyage Dans la Lune, is a soundtrack for a voyage beyond the stratosphere.
Le Voyage Dans la Lune (translated as A Trip to the Moon) is a seminal French silent film from 1902 directed by Georges Méliès. It was the first science fiction film ever produced, loosely based on Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and H.G. Well’s The First Men In the Moon. There was a version of the film that was hand-painted that was lost for decades, but was found in 1993, and massive efforts to restore the work of art were begun.
In coordination, the Fondation Groupama Gan and Fondation Technicolor asked AIR to score a new soundtrack to the restored version, which you can hear a bit of in the clip above. In 2011, AIR released a new album titled Le Voyage Dana la Lune, which was ultimately inspired by the project.
The soundtrack is definitely a departure from AIR’s earlier sounds. More raw, more evident that there is a human beyond the scenes detailed layers of sound. The album is a work of art, dark but flawlessly executed in typical AIR fashion.
Seems like the news is full of bitter Americans, though Ham the Chimpanzee, the first chimpanzee launched into outer space in 1961, has to be one of the most bitter in history. British artist Joe Wilson produced the above package design for San Francisco based brewery 21st Amendment’s Bitter American Seasonal Ale. It’s a nice, cheeky alternative to traditional alcoholic product packaging which can sometimes take itself too seriously. I know what I’ll be grabbing next time I pop down to the corner store.