Cropped version of Astronaut Glory II digital painting
Last night an interview with space artist and Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean aired on WBEZ here in Chicago. The interview, conducted on the PRI program The World opened with Alan Bean discussing one of his favorite paintings – a self portrait titled That’s How It Felt To Walk On The Moon and the emotions he felt walking on the Moon: "It’s an incredible moment. It’s a moment where you feel like you’re the luckiest guy on Earth. It’s a moment where your life is at stake and the people that got you there had better have built that suit right…"
Bean went on to discuss how he went about incorporating moon dust into each of his paintings. The key is a realization that Bean had regarding emblems that had been cut from his Apollo and Skylab spacesuits and presented to him by NASA upon his retirement from NASA.
"One day I was sitting down … and looking up at these emblems from Apollo 12… You know those things are dirty with moon dust. I had wanted moon dust to put in my paintings but didn’t have them and never thought of it being in those patches… If I would be willing to cut them up I could put them in the paintings. And then I would have pieces of my spacesuit in there and dirt from the Ocean of Storms… I hated to cut them up… but I’m using the rest of my life to make these paintings. I think it would be appropriate to cut them up and include them in the paintings."
Responding to a question about moon dust and posterity: "I believe in doing what you can because I’ll be gone in 10 or 15 years but your listeners need to think about this: they’re only going to be here once. Sometimes we think there’s other people around that will make up for what we don’t do. Sure they can, they can mow a lawn, they can drive a car, they can take a job and write an article or something but they can not do what’s in the heart of each of your listeners. And if they don’t do it, it will never be done again until time ends."
The radio interview lasted 8 minutes and audio of the interview is available at Moon Artist – PRI’s The World.
The interview was apparently timed to coincide with the July 16 2009 opening of an Alan Bean art exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum titled Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World.
To learn more about Alan Bean and his brand of space art, you can read an interview I had with Alan Bean many years ago and visit Alan Bean’s web site. There is also a brand new book of Alan’s space art: Alan Bean: Painting Apollo by Alan Bean I have not yet seen the book but am looking forward to getting a copy.
Check out this new youtube video of Alan Bean talking about his space art.
The Illustration: Astronaut Glory II
The picture used to illustrate this post is a cropped version of a digital painting I created a few months ago as my way of commemorating the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. Unsigned open edition versions in a variety of sizes can be purchased at Fine Art America. A small quantity of signed limited edition versions are available on my web site at Astronaut Glory II Space Art Print.