Spacefest X has landed
This year's Spacefest included the largest gathering of space artists I have seen in my four years participating in the show. More than forty artists were in attendance. I am happy to say that this was my most successful art show to date. This year I offered archival quality giclée prints on Epson Premium Lustre paper. I sold four prints as well as four stereographic cards, which were a popular new offering this year.
Also new at Spacefest this year was a panel discussion lead by Andy Chaikin with members of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA). The panel offered a retrospective of the original forming of the group and its history of artist workshops which have been taking place all over the world since the club's inception. The discussions were engaging and often humorous. One of the best lines came from "Mikey" Carroll who declared that his painting media of choice is "burnt Indian Flatbread and lipstick". At the end of the talk, the artists of the IAAA in the audience were asked to stand up and be recognized. We had each been given a Circus Peanut ahead of time as a symbol of being a member of the association. Orange food has been a "thing" in the group since the earliest workshops, as has been many other charming quirks of language that make the IAAA a worthy tribe to belong to.
We again signed up for the VIP meals this year. It was my goal in this moon landing anniversary year to be in the company of some of people who played a role in making Apollo 11 a success fifty years ago. At the luncheon, we were seated with no less than four people associated with the U.S. space program. We enjoyed conversation with the aptly named Apollo flight controller, Bill Moon, and Marie Fullerton (wife of the late space shuttle astronaut Gordon Fullerton). We were also honored to be seated with two of the "Mercury 13" women aviators, Gene Nora Jessen and Sarah Ratley. At the banquet dinner, we were seated with the very colorful Jerry Bostick who was an Apollo flight controller. Also at our table was the gentleman who portrayed Jerry in the movie, "First Man".
After the annual artist photo was taken, IAAA president Jon Ramer made a special presentation to bestow the organization's prestigious Rudaux Award to two of its members. The first was posthumously awarded to astronaut artist Alan Bean who passed away last year. Artist Pamela Lee was awarded the honor in person and was gifted the first physical manifestation of the award in the organization's history. The award, named for French space artist and astronomer Lucien Rudaux, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of astronomical art and have advanced of the genre of space art.
Each year at Spacefest seems to get better and better. The dates for next year's Spacefest XI have just been announced as July 9-12 in Tucson, Arizona, at the Marriott Starr Pass Resort. I plan to be there in 2020 with even more art. Hope to see you there!