(Stumbling upon this photo, seen on a greeting card, was worth interrupting my otherwise post-less vacation.)
Archives for July 2006
I suppose it’s a bit of a cheat on my part, featuring Alan Bean, since obviously his pieces are inspired by space — by the moon, to be exact — but if you haven’t seen his works, I can’t recommend him enough. Not only are his paintings highly detailed, they are kaleidoscopes of color and texture, as he uses bits of his own (Apollo-era) spaceflight suit, tools and equipment to texturize the surface before painting. He also includes a tiny touch of the lunar surface in each piece, having sacrificed his own (lunar) dusty mission patches to the greater good of having a bit of Moon in every painting he creates.
I particularly love these aspects of his art, and admittedly, picked the feature piece for its lively palette and more visible texture. Many pieces show more “true” color, but always with an added vibrance — perhaps the artist’s own radiance, creeping into his work. I would love to own one of his pieces someday, but until then, I’ll enjoy his online gallery and his book.
This contest first made a splash last month — as seen on SPACE.com — as Rocketplane, one of many spaceflight companies developing their own launch vehicles, realized that space tourists may not want to go the traditional route, when it comes to attire:
“Rocketplane made the fundamental design decision to fly in a true ‘shirtsleeve environment’ very early in the development program,” explained Chuck Lauer, Vice President of Business Development for Rocketplane, based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
“In our view, not having to wear bulky pressure suits, helmets or breathing masks will enhance the customer’s space flight experience,” Lauer told SPACE.com.
I stumbled upon a gem of a website today, Space Art in Children’s books 1950’s to 1970’s (title self-explanatory.) There’s a lot of great art from the days before spaceflight; sadly, most images are saved in GIF format (and thus aren’t fabulous on quality or color.) Still, a great resource for the way society perceived space and space travel, both prior to and during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs.
Of all of van Gogh’s works, I’ve always loved The Starry Night best. The night sky boiling away, above a tranquil, sleepy village. The intensity of this piece makes it eye-catching, to say the least.
Van Gogh’s night sky is a field of roiling energy. Below the exploding stars, the village is a place of quiet order. Connecting earth and sky is the flamelike cypress, a tree traditionally associated with graveyards and mourning. But death was not ominous for van Gogh. “Looking at the stars always makes me dream,” he said, “Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.”
The artist wrote of his experience to his brother Theo: “This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big.” This morning star, or Venus, may be the large white star just left of center in The Starry Night. The hamlet, on the other hand, is invented, and the church spire evokes van Gogh’s native land, the Netherlands. The painting, like its daytime companion, The Olive Trees, is rooted in imagination and memory. Leaving behind the Impressionist doctrine of truth to nature in favor of restless feeling and intense color, as in this highly charged picture, van Gogh made his work a touchstone for all subsequent Expressionist painting.
— The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999
Let me start off by admitting that I both own and adore this lamp. Part ringed-planet, part UFO, part dance-floor lighting, the BLIMP lamp is far too cute to refuse. Mine hangs in my office, and while it doesn’t project much “useful” light, it is heartwarming to behold.
If you’re in the mood to have celestial shapes projected in all directions, like the idea of a all-but-huggable Unidentified Hanging Pendant in your home, or have a sleepy youngster to entrance with the colorful beams and glowing planetary ring, I highly recommend BLIMP.
[Edit, August 4, 2007] It appears this lamp was discontinued by IKEA; it’s nowhere on the site. Maybe try eBay?