David A. Hardy
Having illustrated his first book in 1954, David A. Hardy owns the distinction of being the longest established space artist on the planet.
Inspired by American master Chesley Bonestell and Britain's Ralph Smith, Hardy fine-tuned his illustrating techniques painting boxes of chocolates in his job working for Cadbury near his home in England. And he started freelancing in 1965 after a missed opportunity to work on the classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Since then, Hardy has churned out countless works of astronomical art for theater productions, movies, books and magazines. He's also produced several books himself, including the novel Aurora and Hardyware: The Art of David A. Hardy, a 128-page retrospective of his work. His latest book is a highly praised collabortation with famed astronomer Sir Patrick Moore called Futures: 50 Years in Space.
In earthly matters, Hardy has a passion for motorcycles which began when he needed transportation to get across town to peer through a friend's telescope. A pal had a motorbike, and he braved riding on the back of it rather than taking the dreaded crosstown bus. After a stint in the Royal Air Force, Hardy got his own motorcycle and continued to ride them -- apparently including one road trip on a distant moon -- until reluctantly giving up the pleasure a few years ago.
Hardy's work is owned and praised by famed science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, and he was a favorite of the late great sci fi legends Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan. He currently serves as a vice president of the IAAA, the space artists guild.
"David Hardy's space art is unique," says rock legend Brian May, former Queen guitarist and renowned astronomy buff. "He creates his own special kind of virtual reality -- through his astounding vision and technique we glimpse landscapes in worlds where man has never set foot."
This rocket landing on the moon is reminiscent of Chesley Bonestell's work. Actually, it's a digital/paint hybrid designed to recreate 1950s-style space art. It's one of a series, first revealed at Worldcon in Boston in 2004.
The bright star HD70642, visible with binoculars toward the constellation of Puppis, was already known to be a star like our Sun. Now a planet with twice Jupiter's mass has been discovered in a nearly circular orbit around it at approximately half the orbital distance of Jupiter, suggesting the possibility that habitable Earth-type planets may be orbiting further in.
Designed as the jacket for his book Visions of Space, this is a self-portait of Hardy painting on the Jovian moon of Io. Of course, there are many reasons why this would be impossible in real life, but anything is possible in the fantastic universe of space art!
This print has proven to be one of Hardy's most popular. It shows an imaginary gas giant seen from its jagged moon, with a spacecraft ascending.
To see more of Hardy's timeless art, hop on the rocket for a ride to his website
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