With Arthur C. Clarke, 1972David A. Hardy writes:

I produced my first space art in 1950 at the age of 14. Much later I discovered this was the same year as Alexei Leonov, the Russian cosmonaut/artist, and leading Japanese astronomical artist Kazuaki Iwasaki. I illustrated my first book – Suns, Myths and Men, for Patrick Moore – in 1954 at the age of 18.

When I started, the only space artists I knew of were Chesley Bonestell in the USA and R.A. (Ralph) Smith in the UK (whom I met), and of course I was influenced by both of them. Later I discovered the work of the early French astronomer-artist, Lucien Rudaux. I first met artists of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (www.iaaa.org) at the Iceland Workshop in 1988, also attended by Russian artists, including Leonov. In September 1996 I became President of the IAAA. I am still a Fellow and Vice President for Europe, and in January 2002 was honoured with its Lucien Rudaux Memorial Award. In 2003 an asteroid, previously known as ‘1998 SB32’, was officially named ‘Davidhardy’!

I have attended IAAA workshops in Hawaii, Utah, Tenerife, the Kennedy Space Centre, Nicaragua, Yellowstone Park, Death Valley, Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater, USA, and have travelled to total solar eclipses in Chile, Venezuela , Zambia, the Libyan Sahara, China and Easter Island. I’m also Vice President of the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists (ASFA), and have been nominated several times for its Chesley Award. On a more local level, I've been Chairman, Secretary, Newsletter Editor and Publicity Officer for the Birmingham Science Fiction Group. I usually attend at least two SF conventions each year (always exhibiting in the Art Show of course!), have been to several in the USA and Europe, and have been Artist Guest of Honour at Eastercon, Novacon, Albacon, Stucon, Eurocon and several others. I also enjoy giving illustrated talks using Keynote (Apples's Powerpoint, so better, naturally ;-) ) I was voted 'Best Artist' at Eurocon 2011 in Stockholm.

With Sir Patrick, 2003I have illustrated and produced covers for dozens of books in the UK, USA and Germany, both fact and fiction, including many by Patrick Moore, some by Arthur C. Clarke and the late Carl Sagan, all of whom own (or owned) my originals, along with Wernher von Braun, Isaac Asimov and even Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, among many others. I also worked on Patrick Moore's The Sky at Night on TV from when it started in 1957, more or less until the present day (sadly it now uses little space art), and have appeared three times in person. In 1974 I started writing my own non-fiction books for both children and adults. My first novel, Aurora: A Child of Two Worlds, was published in 2003. Since 1970 I've worked on covers for SF magazines (Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, Interzone, etc.), factual magazines (New Scientist, Focus, Astronomy Now, Sky & Telescope, etc.), movies (e.g..The Neverending Story), TV (Blake's Seven, Tomorrow's World, Cosmos, Horizon, etc.), computer games, record and CD art (from Hawkwind to Holst's The Planets Suite), video, planetarium art: in other words, I don't like to get in a rut. . . Which is why, after getting an Atari ST with 512K of RAM in 1985, I'm now using a 27” Intel iMac 2.8GHz with 8GB of RAM, and now do the majority of my art using Photoshop CS5 – though I still enjoy painting, using acrylics and airbrush, or oils, for private commissions or for fun. I have exhibited internationally, and the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, D.C. has two of my paintings.

David with portholeThe books which bear my name as author (or co-author) as well as illustrator include Challenge of the Stars with Patrick Moore (1972/1978 as New Challenge of the Stars), which I've been delighted to find seems to have inspired quite a few of today's younger space artists; Galactic Tours (1981) with the late Bob Shaw – a sort of interstellar travel brochure, which led to my becoming Thomas Cook's consultant on space tourism some ten years later; Atlas of the Solar System (Heinemann, 1982); Visions of Space (1989/90), in which I collected nearly all of the space artists of note at the time – 72 in all, many of whom I now count as my friends – as well as the early practitioners, as far back as 1874; and, most recently, Futures: 50 Years in Space, with Sir Patrick Moore (AAPPL, 2004), reprinted in paperback as 50 Years in Space in 2006. Futures received the Sir Arthur Clarke Award in 2005, and was nominated for a Hugo – SF’s Oscar. In 2001 Paper Tiger published Hardyware: The Art of David A. Hardy, an art book about my life and work from the beginning, with text by writer and poet Chris Morgan. All of these are now out of print, but a few new copies of some are available here. Others may be purchased from booksellers including Amazon: see the Books link on this site.

dave & familyDave & familyOn a personal note my wife, Ruth, is a pianist and my daughter is Meraylah Allwood, also a successful artist and illustrator, specialising mainly in Celtic and environmental subjects. She has also illustrated several books on trees. My granddaughter Jenny is a photographer and also very conservation-minded, while my young grandson Aidan is an excellent animator, Wallace & Gromit style!

(See also the Hardy Wikipedia entry. And if you have a strong stomach you might find this useful Guide the Universe of interest. Or something. . .)

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This section of the website gives you an opportunity to purchase not just a print, but an item that has been personally tailored for your taste. This includes hand-painted ties (effectively tiny originals) and clocks. There are also inexpensive postcards, and a music DVD.

Books

Hardy has produced a large number of books over the years, some in collaboration (notably with Sir Patrick Moore) and has written several of his own.
     Hardyware is a profusely illustrated book about his life and work. Most are out of print now, but may be obtained from Amazon (.com and .co.uk), and some other books are also available here.
       His novel, Aurora: A Child of Two Worlds, which received very good reviews in both the UK and USA – also included on Amazon – has just been re-released (September 2012) in a revised and updated edition, and can be ordered from its publisher, Wildside Press, or from Amazon. In case of any difficulty please e-mail us.

 

Original Artworks

Although very high quality prints or giclées are available (and are the only option when the 'original' art is digital), there is nothing to compare with owning a piece of original art, knowing that nothing quite like it exists elsewhere! Modern demands mean that Hardy works mainly on a Mac today, but he still enjoys painting in the 'traditional' way in oils or acrylics, using brushes and sometimes airbrush. Large paintings are especially satisfying.

Several original pieces are available on this website, but if there is nothing available at present that takes your eye, please go to Commissions or Contact AstroArt to let us know what you need.

Covers

A large part of Hardy's output is covers or jackets, for both fact and fiction, paperback or hardcover. Where type is included here it is usually because Hardy added this himself, but the image can usually be supplied without text on request, so please ask.

Portals

In 1972 Hardy painted an inhabited planet in a globular cluster for Challenge of the Stars with Patrick Moore, a version of which became a famous album cover. He first painted a 'portal' or gateway to other worlds in 1981, for Galactic Tours with Bob Shaw. 30 years later a commission came from a man who had loved this painting when a boy, for a large painting with not one but five portals.

That might have been the end of the story had it not been for Facebook and a German fan. . . See the whole story in pictures here!

SF (SciFi)/Fantasy

The mass media usually use the term 'Sci-Fi' to cover the whole of this field, but those involved in writing, art, or just fandom usually apply different definitions. In Science Fiction, or SF, the laws of science and the universe should be adhered to (though may be bent!), whereas in Fantasy the imagination may be given freer rein, and we enter the realms of magic and sorcery.

Sci-Fi is usually applied to the media, whether film or TV. The most 'hard line' SF fans sometimes pronounce it as 'skiffy', because the producers of movies and TV series often borrow from the SF field, but are careless in their application of the rules which apply in literature. . .

Commercials & Ads

The distinction between 'artist' and 'illustrator' is hard to define, and is largely personal. At one end is the Fine Art market, and it has to be said that this has not yet fully embraced Space Art! At the other end is art produced specifically for commercial purposes, such as advertising and posters. Even some of the Old Masters produced these, in order to make a living, and Hardy is no exception! In fact, this is an artform in itself, since in order to reach its market the art has to be well-designed and make an impact. . .

Hardware

Hardware (not to be confused with the book, Hardyware!) includes spacecraft, rovers, probes and satellites, bases, space stations – in short, anything built by humans to aid their exploration of space. It may or may not include the landscapes of the world on which they are being used; and it may also include the humans themselves, but wrapped in protective spacesuits – or even robots.

Bhen

Bhen, the benevolent B.E.M., is not, as some think, a 'little green man'. If you compare him with the NASA hardware of which he usually makes unorthodox use, you will see that he is actually some two and a half metres (8 ft) tall. He's a sort of interstellar hobo, apparently not needing to beathe and being able to resist all kinds of hostile environments, such as heat and radiation. But he is among the most popular of Hardy's creations.

Nearly all of the Bhen paintings that appeared on The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF) are shown here, and are available as prints.

Volcanoes

People sometimes express surprise when they find that space artists like David have a great interest in volcanoes, but it is actually quite natural. The volcanic areas of Earth are often the best 'analogues' of other worlds; Mars and Venus have massive volcanoes, and Jupiter's moon Io is the most active body in our system. Titan, Enceladus and Triton also possess volcanoes or geysers.

This is why the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA), of which Hardy is European Vice President, holds workshops in places like Iceland, Hawaii, Death Valley, Nicaragua, St. Helens. . .

SF & More. . .

David A. Hardy is best known as an astronomical or space artist, but as a freelance (since 1965) he has turned his hand to many other areas of art and illustration, from fine art to advertising and work on TV and movies. He has also written and illustrated several of his own books, and a novel.

The main area is of course science fiction or SF (for those in the field, the term 'Sci-Fi' is reserved for the media rather than literature – but Hardy has worked in all of them including fantasy!)

The 1950s

In 1950 David A. Hardy found a book called The Conquest of Space by Willy Ley, with paintings by Chesley Bonestell. It is not an exaggeration to say that this book changed David's life!  He was knocked out by these wonderful paintings which looked like photographs; of gleaming spaceships on the Moon, canals on Mars, or of Saturn with its rings, seen from various moons. Our knowledge of space and the worlds around us has changed out of all proportion since then, but Hardy has captured every new discovery and development since those days.

In this section you can see a selection of the art that David produced from 1952 to 1958. He will never sell this artwork, but prints can be produced from high-quality scans.

Extrasolar

Extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, are the non-luminous companions of other stars.

Most of those discovered so far have been gas giants, many even bigger than Jupiter (though some are closer to their star and hot), but the search is on for an Earthlike world. Several solid bodies have been found, but the conditions for life are very exacting.

The Outer Planets

The Outer Planets contain the largest bodies in the Solar System after the Sun.

The planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Beyond them lie dwarf planet Pluto and other members of the Kuiper Belt.

Space Debris

Space Debris encompasses objects from tiny meteoroids (meteors when they burn up in our atmosphere, meteorites when found on the ground), asteroids, comets, and objects in the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud at the outer limits of our Solar System.

They make for spectacular art, whether as rocks or hazy comets floating serenely in space, or streaking through the air with a fiery trail and blasting great craters in the earth.

Saturn

Lord of the Rings

  • Diameter: 74,896 miles/120,533 km
  • Distance from Sun:890 million miles/1,432 M km
  • Length of Year: 29.4 Earth years
  • Rotation: 10 hours 39 minutes
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 1.1
  • Axial Tilt: 26.7 degrees
  • Average Temperature: -218C

The Solar System

The solar system consists of Sol (our sun) and eight planets (Pluto since having been deisgnated a dwarf planet).

The inner planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

The outer planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

There are also moons, asteroids, comets and space debris.

All artworks of moons are listed in their parent planets section.

Further Information

Vist Wikipedia or Nasa for information and photographs.

Uranus

Into the Depths

  • Diameter: 31,763 miles/51,118 km
  • Distance from Sun: 1,784 million miles/2,871 M km
  • Length of Year: 84.1 Earth years
  • Rotation: 17 hours 14 minutes
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 0.9
  • Axial Tilt: 97.9 degrees
  • Average Temperature: -197C

Sol

The closest star; powerhouse of our system

  • Diameter: 865,000 miles/1,392,000 km
  • Rotation: 25 days (equator)/ 34 days (poles)
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 27.9
  • Axial Tilt: 7.15 degrees
  • Surface Temperature: 5,500C
  • Core Temperature: 15,500,000C

Mercury

Planet of extremes

  • Diameter: 3.029 miles/4,875 km
  • Distance from Sun: 36 million miles/58 M km
  • Length of Year: 88 days
  • Rotation: 59 days
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 0.38
  • Axial Tilt: 0.5 degrees
  • Average Temperature: -173C to 427C

Venus

Earth's Twin (in size only)

  • Diameter: 7,521 miles/12,104km
  • Distance from Sun: 67million miles/108m km
  • Length of Year: 225 days
  • Rotation: 243 days
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 0.9
  • Axial Tilt:177.4 degrees
  • Average Temperature: 470C

Eclipses

A total solar eclipse is one of the most magical sights in nature. Caused by the Moon passing between the Sun and the Earth, one has to be not just in the path of the shadow but in its umbra to observe totality. A famous scientist once observed that the difference between a 99% partial and a total eclipse is like the difference between a peck on the cheek and a night of passion!

The Moon

The Moon Our Closest Neighbour in Space

  • Diameter: 2,160 miles/3,476 km
  • Distance from Earth: 238,856 miles/384,401 km
  • Period of revolution: 29.5 days
  • Rotation: 29.5 days
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 0.16
  • Axial Tilt: 6.73 degrees
  • Temperature: 110C day max/-173C night min

Earth

The Earth Our Home World

  • Diameter: 7,926 miles/12,756 km
  • Distance from Sun: 93 million miles/150 M km
  • Length of Year: 365.24 days
  • Rotation: 23 hours 56 minutes
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 1!
  • Axial Tilt: 23.5 degrees
  • Average Temperature: 17C

Jupiter

King of the Planets

  • Diameter: 88,846 miles/142,984 km
  • Distance fromSun:483 million miles/778 M km
  • Length of Year: 11.9 Earth years
  • Rotation: 9 hours 55 minutes
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 2.6
  • Axial Tilt: 3.1 degrees
  • Average Temperature: -108C

Neptune

The Blue Giant

  • Diameter: 30,775 miles/49,528 km
  • Distance from Sun: 2,795 million miles/4,498 M km
  • Length of Year: 164.8 Earth years
  • Rotation: 16 hours 7 minutes
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 1.1
  • Axial Tilt: 29.6 degrees
  • Average Temperature: -201C

Pluto

On the Edge

  • Diameter: 1,432 miles/2,304 km
  • Distance from Sun: 3,675 million miles/5,914 M km
  • Length of Year: 248 Earth years
  • Rotation: 6.4 Earth years
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 0.065
  • Axial Tilt: 122.5 degrees
  • Average Temperature: -233C

Mars

The Red Planet

  • Diameter: 4.213 miles/6,780 km
  • Distance from Sun: 142 million miles/228 M km
  • Length of Year: 687 days
  • Rotation: 24 hours 37 minutes
  • Gravity (x Earth's): 0.38
  • Axial Tilt: 25.2 degrees
  • Average Temperature: -59C

The Inner Planets

The inner planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

Much Science Fiction has been written about these planets as they were thought most likely to be inhabited.

However, we now know this not to be the case and an invasion from Mars certainly won't be launched by native Martians.