The world's pre-eminent artist of space and space technology Robert McCall died on Feb 26th at the age of 90. Within scientific and military world of space travel and aviation he is a legend. Among his many awards and honours is even the Yuri Gagarin Medal the Soviet Union gave him back in '88. He has left behind huge amounts of inspiring and influential art all over the place, from stamps to mission patches worn on the moon to a six-story-tall mural at the National Air and Space Museum.
Planet Blog marks his passing for one particular contribution. In 1968, Stanley Kubrick, asked him to do two paintings to be used as promotional posters for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Those posters did more than anything else to change the idea of the future in the popular consciousness. Prior to this the future was slick pointy-tipped space ships, space men with bubbleheads and cars with fins. With his painting of astronauts working on the moon and the pinwheel space station the future became functional, a workman's environment. A place where people live lives dependent on hardware that look like white goods on steroids and effectively are.
And the romance of a sophisticated future as we still imagine it today is encapsulated like a genie in a bottle, ready to grant many a hi-tech wish, by Robert McCall's painting of the Pan-Am space plane exiting the double wheel station. It remains the symbol of the dream of humanity in space, the finger pointing to the imaginings of a speccy hardware future.
Not a bad contribution by a guy Isaac Asimov once referred to as the "nearest thing to an artist in residence from outer space".
But I do have one question to ask...
Does it goes this way?