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Old March 2 2010, 05:41 PM   #1
Ptrope's Avatar
Location: USA
Robert McCall - Space Artist RIP

Artist, Muralist, and 2001: A Space Odyssey Poster Illustrator Robert McCall Passes Away

This has been reported in TrekToday news (see the sidebar), but this being the art forum, I'm sure many here, like myself, were inspired by the works of Robert McCall, a truly quintessential visionary of space. I'm sure any who've been to the Smithsonian have marveled at his enormous work on the wall in the old Air & Space Museum, at the detail and the depiction of history it presents.

RIP, Bob; thanks for the wonder.
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Old March 2 2010, 06:17 PM   #2
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Re: Robert McCall - Space Artist RIP

Aw, crap. I checked out this book of his works from the library not too long ago. Great bit of inspiration there. BTW, the copy in the Huntsville library is actually signed by him!
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Old March 2 2010, 10:04 PM   #3
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Re: Robert McCall - Space Artist RIP

I have a print he did of a wall size mural at epcot called "The Prologue and the Promise". Such a tragedy that it was painted over when they changed the ride it was based at.
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Old March 2 2010, 10:19 PM   #4
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Re: Robert McCall - Space Artist RIP

He was a gifted artist who portrayed space travel in epic fashion. He will be missed.
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Old March 2 2010, 11:07 PM   #5
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Re: Robert McCall - Space Artist RIP

I love that style of art, retro future stuff that really evokes the spirit of those old sci-fi books. What a guy.
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Old March 3 2010, 01:50 PM   #6
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Re: Robert McCall - Space Artist RIP

RIP Robert McCall
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Old March 3 2010, 02:12 PM   #7
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Re: Robert McCall - Space Artist RIP

The Axeman wrote: View Post
I love that style of art, retro future stuff that really evokes the spirit of those old sci-fi books. What a guy.
Completely agree. I love that kind of thing and there was no one better at doing it than Robert McCall. What a loss.
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Old March 5 2010, 08:25 PM   #8
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Re: Robert McCall - Space Artist RIP

It occurred to me today that I met McCall a long time ago -- I was a (virtual) kid, and I'm trying to remember exactly when and where. I think it was a touring exhibition. I distinctly recall he had a childlike fascination with the science behind the art and the art behind the science -- he saw both as interwoven facets of the human psyche.

That, and his favorite fictional space vehicle was the Enterprise -- the movie version, specifically, which he was commissioned to paint in 1979. (That might help me nail down the occasion, which I'm still struggling to remember, though I know he was the guest of honor.) He signed a poster of his for me, and I should still have that in my collection someplace. Anyway, I remember chatting with him about the Smithsonian Apollo mural, and sharing the fact that my mother was a mural artist as well, and I remember him saying how he hated the idea of being finished with it. When he started a project, he would fall in love with it so much that he never wanted to be done.

He painted the Enterprise because he begged for the opportunity. (No, not for the movie poster, that was Bob Peak. This was for publicity art, which wasn't as well-distributed as it should have been.) And I distinctly recall him talking about how studio artists typically embellish a starship with the usual flourishes -- like jet trails, smoke and fire pouring out the rocket engines -- when the science and the designers' manuals distinctly tell you that's not what goes there. Case in point, he said, was the covers of those Star Trek compilation books (I think he meant the James Blish series) where the cover artist would invariably paint little white windows on the warp engines. Aagh!--he just hated that. You wouldn't just go paint little white windows on the Eagle moon lander, would you?

Heaven help me, I'll remember the occasion, but I'm guessing it was some kind of traveling art/book tour, probably in Oklahoma -- my thinking is, maybe in a tour that stopped over at the Kirkpatrick Omniplex, my guess is, 1981 or so. Delightful man and a pure artist in every sense of the word. If he left this world happy and full and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, then he was a blessed man indeed.

In honor of Robert McCall, I say we ceremonially unpaint the fake jetstreams, fire, smoke, and windows from everybody else's spaceship art through the decades.

-DF "God is an Artist" Scott
a.k.a. Scott M. Fulton, III
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