Science Book a Day Interviews Ron Miller

ron-miller

Special thanks to Ron Miller for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – The Art of Space: The History of Space Art, from the Earliest Visions to the Graphics of the Modern Era

I am an illustrator/author specializing in science, astronomy, science fiction and fantasy. In addition to providing artwork for many magazine and book publishers, I’m the author, co-author or editor of some fifty-odd books (some odder than others), including several novels. I’ve also designed postage stamps and worked on motion pictures as a production designer and special effects artist. – From Ron’s Homepage

Ron’s Homepage: http://www.black-cat-studios.com

#1 – What was the impetus for The Art of Space?

I was approached by Will Steeds of Elephant Books, who was interested in creating a new version of The Art of Chesley Bonestell. This idea evolved into doing a more general book about space art.

#2 – How long did it take you to collect all the images you used in the book?

About three months. Most of the historic art I already had in my files. The bulk of the time was spent in contacting contemporary artists to obtain their work and get permission to use it.

#3 – Being a history of ‘the future’ were you amazed by what it got right? And what it got wrong?

Just like science fiction writers, space artists really can’t be very much more right than the science of the time during which they are working. Once upon a time, astronomers thought Mars had a blue sky, that Venus was covered by jungles and that the surface of Jupiter was volcanic. The artist who depicted these worlds this way was no more wrong than the astronomers. Now we can look at images like this as being a kind of record of what the universe was once thought to be like. On the other hand, when there isn’t too much specific information, a writer or artist can often make an inspired guess based on available evidence. Sort of like when a paleontologist recreates a dinosaur from only a small fragmen of bone. Space artist Lucien Rudaux, for example, who worked in the 1920s and 30s, depicted Mars as a desert under a pink sky and Venus as being a hot, barren wasteland.

#4 – You feature many different artists in your book. Who was your favourite artist and why?

Probably Chesley Bonestell. There were some great space artists before him, but he really set the standards…and inspired hundreds of astronomers, scientists and other space artists—such as myself.

#5 – Are you working on any new books/projects you can tell us about?

Always got something going on (or at least I try to)! A book about spacecraft, a new novel that is making the rounds, working on the promotion for a new comic book series and a new collection of paintings inspired by the upcoming fly-by of Pluto.

[Image Credit: http://www.sciengage.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/RM200508040496.jpg ]

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