Tuesday, September 6, 2016

To The Stars!

This is awesome -- the competition between U.S. and Soviet artists to envision the forthcoming "Space Race" brought together people as disparate as Norman Rockwell, Walt Disney, and Wernher von Braun.  Early on:

"For Rockwell, who was used to laboring over a painting for weeks or months with life models, working with NASA was a unique challenge. The agency would send him constant updates as the plans and designs of the lunar module changed and were updated, giving the painter—accustomed to creating with physical reference in front of him—a massive headache.
The man who eventually brokered the deal that got Rockwell his spacesuit was the director of NASA’s Art Program, James Dean. 'I had [NASA’s first Chief of the Astronaut Office] Deke Slayton mad at me on one side and Norman Rockwell aggravated at me on the other,' he said. The suit was delivered to Rockwell’s studio, on the condition that it be returned every day and brought back again the next with its own technician and babysitter.
On January 10, 1967, over two years before Neil Armstrong first put his footprint in moondust, Look magazine published Rockwell’s painting. In it, a small spacecraft sits in the blasted landing area, with gray moon rocks in the foreground. From the small weathered capsule, bearing the flag of the United States, two figures emerge. One carries a handheld video camera, the other has one foot raised, his heel making first contact with an alien surface. This was the American public’s first glimpse of what would eventually become an incredible reality."

Obviously, the propaganda value of all this stuff was quite high.  Rockwell was basically brought in to "sell" the upcoming moon landing to the American public.  But the images created by him and other early conceptual space artists speak for themselves.

Also, Chesley Bonestell.

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