The AstroArt of David A. Hardy
David A. Hardy, FBIS, FIAAA
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 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 a former 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 (Apple's 'Powerpoint', so better, naturally ;-) ) I was voted 'Best Artist' at Eurocon 2011 in Stockholm. At Easter 2019 I was elected an Honorary Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society (which I had joined in 1952!)
I 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 owned my originals, along with Wernher von Braun, Isaac Asimov and even Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and Brian May, 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, with a revised edition in 2012 (also available as an eBook from Amazon). 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 CS6 – 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.
The books which bear my name as author (or co-author) as well as illustrator include Challenge of the Stars with Sir 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. There is also an excellent record of Hardy books, covers etc. at:
Dave & family
On a personal note my wife, Ruth, is a pianist and my daughter is Meraylah Allwood, a successful professional artist and illustrator, specialising mainly in Celtic and environmental subjects (www.meraylah.co.uk). She has also illustrated several books on trees. My granddaughter Jenny is a photographer and has a Bsc in sustainable horticulture, while my young grandson Aidan is an excellent animator, Wallace & Gromit style, but is now working with a 3D printer!
(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. . .)