Sunday, February 28, 2010

Artist-in-Residence of Space

I was going to continue on with posting Moebius work, but I just learned of the passing of Robert McCall, who Isaac Asimov referred to as "the nearest thing to an artist-in-residence of space." McCall died at his home in Arizona, that I once visited on a pilgrimage of inspiration.

In just now looking through the inventory of McCall's work, I noticed a resemblance in some ways to the work of Moebius. Not that either one borrowed from the other, but both of their technical draughtsmanship had similar sensibilities, resisting being too technical and pushing their imaginations beyond the obvious solutions. They both worked as visualizers for movies, designing the future as they went.

McCall is/was one of the higher pedestals in my hero hall of fame, as I'm sure he was to many people. I admire people who maintain a balance of humanities and sciences, not to mention having the spirit of exploration and adventure. As Michael Collins, of the Apollo 11 crew, said, "Robert McCall captures the essence of life in space, rather than just space itself."

I visited with McCall twice, once in 1982 at the Boulder Center for the Visual Arts, and at his home/studio in Paradise Valley. Each time he graciously talked shop with me, sharing his vision and technique, and allowing me to inspect the minute details of his work. My avid interest in space was fused with my avid interest in his work and he remains an inspiration to this day.

I'm going to post more of his work over the next couple of days as my little tribute.

As he looked when I visited with him in his studio, even wearing the cover-all suit.

The sunburst in space was iconic to his later work.

He was an illustrator for the magazines, as well, such as this piece for a Boy's Life story of time travel.

He envisioned the 'near' future, such as a Mars colony . . .

As well as the 'far' future, where man's presence in space is assured.


quicky said...

great post for a great artist

Michael Dooney said...

Man I always loved his art.He was so bold and brushy in a realm where most artists are ultra detailed and overly rendered. I remember seeing a PBS documentary on him years and years ago that showed him painting with a house painters brush...I always wished I could see that again but I've never found it.