Even if you don't know the name of Robert McCall, chances are you've seen his spectacular artwork before in sci-fi magazines like Starlog and Omni, and in his acclaimed series on the future of space travel in Life. With medals, merits and awards from dignitaries and organizations around the globe, this Ohio-born painter has done more to help visualize America's growing presence in space than any other artist. As the official visual historian of NASA for nearly four decades, McCall immortalized some of the finest moments in spaceflight history, from Alan Shepard's first manned journey on Mercury 1 and the celebrated Apollo moon missions to the Apollo-Soyuz linkups and modern space shuttle launches.
His impressive galaxy of work was instrumental in furthering the innovations of scientists, engineers and dreamers in myriad ways, with paintings documenting NASA's rise to prominence in the '60s and artistic imaginings of mankind's peaceful thrust into the far reaches of space, colonizing the moon, mining asteroids and creating utopian societies beyond the stars. Injected with a pioneer spirit, his art carries a patriotic flair and unwavering hope in the limitless promise and potential of space exploration, picturing the quiet majesty of working in space while showcasing the sleek gleaming machines that would take us there.
McCall's monumental six-story-tall mural graces the National Air And Space Museum in Washington D.C., and the U.S. Postal Service has issued stamps bearing his art to commemorate our space program. His concept images and promotional work on 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek films and Disney's The Black Hole helped alter the look and feel of science fiction movies forever.
Robert McCall passed away in 2010, but his contribution to generations of filmmakers, writers and astronomers cannot be bound by mere words of appreciation. To pay tribute to his life's work is to absorb its altruistic imagery and tilt your childlike gaze to the sky. With the wonders of Christopher Nolan's Interstellar currently blazing on the big screen and Rosetta's Philae lander plunked down on the surface of a streaking comet, it's a perfect time to look back and marvel at the stirring works of one of America's finest artists. For more space art, prints and images, visit McCall's official website here.