A brief note to mark the passing of early NASA space artist Robert McCall, who was 90. Along with the work of Chesley Bonestell and others I couldn’t name as I was likely too young to notice, McCall’s art is certainly an influence on why I’m involved with science and technology today. You may not know it, but it’s likely you’ve seen his work in connection with reports on space, or in works of science fiction for the page or the screen (the 2001 painting in this gallery graced my copy of the novel, and I think one of the movie posters).
I think it an understatement to stress the importance of the work of space artists to communicate to the public the potential of space exploration – particularly in the days prior to significant photography from outer space. There’s an aspirational quality to the work (particularly used by Wernher von Braun when he turned to Bonestell and others to illustrate his space plans in magazines during the 50s) that is hard to ignore, and useful to encourage support. He will be missed. Please visit his website and take a look at his work.