Space Art in "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Robert Comsol, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    I had always felt the crew quarters aboard the TOS Enterprise and the interiors in general to be somewhat sterile and sober given the lack of decoration with paintings and the like.

    Then, "Is There In Truth No Beauty" came in Season Three, and suddenly the dining lounge featured four different space art paintings on the wall (vertical frames with several images)

    and one in Miranda's quarters

    I must say that these space art paintings (depicting alien artifacts?) look really superb and classy and are rich in atmosphere with a unique style of the artist.

    Needless to add, I would like to give these a closer examination but have not been able to find these on the web.

    Does anybody know what happened to these "props"? Who was the artist?

    Or is it a piece of Star Trek history that got lost? I would really like to know...:confused:

    Bob
     
  2. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    I think Mike Minor did most, if not all of those, if you do a search for something like "star trek art" with his name attached, you'll probably find some interesting things?
     
  3. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, Terra
    The fourteen paintings you identified were all done by the late (and great) Mike Minor for the third season. They appear in all the places you indicated. (Many of the same pictures also decorate the rec room in "Day of the Dove" and "The Way to Eden." There are also two paintings that were used to decorate Kirk's quarters, too--probably best seen in "Wink of an Eye." They are on the wall that Kirk faces as he sits at his little desk.)

    [​IMG]

    In addition to the fourteen astronomical pictures you spotted and the two that decorate Kirk's quarters, Mike also did three "alien life form" paintings visible in Sickbay--for a total of twenty paintings.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    Yeah, those are Mike Minor's work. I recognize a number of them from when they were printed in articles about him.
     
  5. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, Terra
    Maurice:

    Other than the one resembling the pyramid Meidum that appeared in an article about Mike Minor in Starlog magazine, do you know at this point which other ones were reproduced--and in which periodicals they can be found? "A number of them" sounds worth investigating--unless that "number" is simply the number "one."
     
  6. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    I've been mildly curious about those paintings every time I noticed them. Good topic. :techman:
     
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    I recognize several of them but I don't recall exactly which articles in which they appeared. I do have a way to possibly verify. Let me write an email. :)
     
  8. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Thanks for the hint and here we seem to have part of the story:

    "Gene liked the artwork, and had me show it to the art director, Matt Jefferies. Jefferies bought about twenty pieces to use as art objects around the ship. Some of the critters were hanging in McCoy's office and cabin during the third season."
    (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Michael_Minor)

    Unfortunately a Google search didn't yield any real visual results, except the Trekcore links to this thread. :rolleyes:

    So do we at least know what these landscape paintings were supposed to show? Ruins or remains of ancient civilizations?
    And do we know anything about the "tags" that apparently show up in every painting's lower left corner?

    Bob
     
  9. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    The ENTERPRISE INCIDENTS interview with Minor explains that he thought of the art as snapshots/memories of some of the places they had visited. I re-acquired that issue (for about the 11th time) recently, so I'll try to post the full quote in the next day or so. I think the only illustrations are from TMP and of the Tholian and Melkot, but if there are pics of his pics I'll let ya know.
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    The Mike Minor painting behind Larry Marvick at the bottom was illustrated in this TMP issue of Starlog:
    http://mystartrekscrapbook.blogspot.de/2009/05/mike-minor-illustrating-future.html

    Now, we "just" have to locate the other paintings... ;)

    If these are really snapshots from places the Enterprise had been (beautiful idea), it should be interesting if we could tell on which planet this pyramid would have been.

    Hope that none of additional finds will compromise the matte painting enhancement work done for TOS-R.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  11. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Location:
    Kingston, ON
    Well, we know who the artist was - now all that's left is to figure out what happened to these paintings. Hopefully they were kept by someone. You never know, they may turn up at a garage sale somewhere.
     
  12. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Let us hope that he signed his paintings with "Mike Minor". Then somebody will google the name, find this thread and will hopefully tell us about it. ;)

    Bob
     
  13. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Bob Burns has most of Minor's stuff I think. At least the TMP/p2 stuff. As for material that Paramount bought in the 60s ... boy, that'd be something if it survived, wouldn't it? Uhura's earpiece was still around a decade later ...
     
  14. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    I dare to say that you'd to be blind and stupid not to realize that Mike Minor's paintings do have some objective value. That's the kind of stuff that usually never ends up in a garbage can, right?

    As we have just witnessed with the WNM phaser rifle, some things just spent a little longer in some kind of time capsule before being rediscovered (and Jules Verne's first story "Paris in the 20th Century" spent 125 years in a time capsule if I remember correctly). I just hope to be still around when Mike's artwork shows up...;)

    Bob
     
  15. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2013
    Location:
    Will be Celebrating Spocktoberfest this year!
    I would hope so. But I wouldn't count on the sense of another. Just saying, I don't count on the average person to value the things I do.

    I noticed one of the paintings behind Capt. Kirk's body in "The Turnabout Intruder" when he was speaking to McCoy in Kirk's quarters.
     
  16. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, Terra
    Simply because I don't have anything better to do today, I'm beating trevanian to the punch and I'm reproducing and posting the relevant "Mike Minor's astronomical paintings from TOS" content from the magazine Enterprise Incidents, Issue Number 14 (February 1984). The article "Mike Minor: Star Trek Through the Years" by Mr. James Van Hise is about ten pages long, so I'm not going to reproduce the whole thing. But the relevant content is in what has to be the longest single paragraph this side of Mark Twain's humorous short story "The Story of The Ram."


    "I'd watched Star Trek from when it first aired in 1966 and just got my guts together one day and called up Gene Roddenberry's office and made an appointment. I wound up going to see associate producer, Bob Justman, who went on do do hings like Man from Atlantis and A Man Called Bronson [I think he meant Then Came Bronson--Ed.]. I had a pleasant little interview with Gene; he was more than civil. He was very warm and asked me for my background. I had a folio of sketches, astronomical art and slides which I showed to Bob Jusstman and he got me in touch with John Dwyer, the set director at the time on he show. We worked out a very simple deal where as an outside supplier I would bring in the finished work and, of course, Paramount could say that they were purchasing my work rather than hiring someone who was non-union since I was not involved or associated with any of the guilds at the time. They saw some of my sketches and Roddenberry said, 'You, know, I've always wanted to have art on the ship in some form or manner so that it's not so sterile. To portray the beauty of the universe on a budget. Something which would show that the universe is a beautiful place out there, not all bleak, dead planetoids.' So I came back to them some weeks later with some sketches and they liked them and chose several and I wound up doing about eighteen small acrylic paintings which were mounted and hung around several areas of the ship and if you blinked you'd miss them but they were there in Rec Room, Kirk's quarters, and the mess hall (which was a redress for budgetary purposes of the Rec Room). My goal was I purported to 'sell' them as the space traveller's guide to the universe, as snapshots or some kind of reproduction or memory of places they'd been on the tour of duty. There were little placards which I made up with little stardates. Some of them were from space, of planets and there there was one I did of the camera winging past an Earth-like planet with lots of clouds and in the distance was a double-star and it was throwing off hydrogen gas rings. I was quite enamored of that conjectural painting by (Chesley) Bonestell of the Bettalyrae [It's spelled Beta Lyrae--Ed.] system which is supposedly material from a blue giant being sucked off by a white dwarf companion, and because of gravitational forces it's whiplashing around the smaller companion and then being launched out into space as ever widening concentric rings. [I think he simply meant 'spiral' instead of 'ever-widening concentric rings'--Ed.] of hydrogen gas. As a matter of fact I made use of that years later in Spacehunter in the opening. If you're up on astronomy you'll see that one in the opening shot of Spacehunter. We come down to that in three dimensions, and go into that system and find a starliner drifting through on a sightseeing trip. Anyway, I did these paintings for Star Trek in '67 and they purchased them for a very low figure, but it got me in the door. It was minimal money and they had a minimal budget of $6,000.00 for sets per episode and the set decorator had less than that."


    For those that haven't seen Chesley Bonestell's famous "Beta Lyrae" painting, it looks like this:


    [​IMG]


    As a side note, we get to see the Beta Lyrae star system (also sometimes called by its traditional Arabic name Sheliak) in the animated episode "The Slaver Weapon." Mister Spock offers that "Beta Lyrae is one of the rare spectacles of the galaxy; almost every ship that passes stops to see it."

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Thanks Greg for this insightful information. :techman:

    I wouldn't be surprised if one of the structures on these paintings was from Vulcan.

    Bob
     
  18. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, Terra
    If the paintings (some, all, or just any) do surface one day, I wouldn't be suprised if the little identifyling placards are misplaced or lost and are no longer attached.

    Then again, the old, original, Galileo was "destroyed" years ago too, so you just never know.
     
  19. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    I always thought it was odd that the paintings were composed as narrow vertical frames instead of being "widescreen." If the same canvas shape was oriented the wide way instead of the tall way, a more natural vision could be presented.
     
  20. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, Terra
    Well, I think that was more John Dwyer's call more than Mike Minor's.

    Mike Minor actully did compose many of the paintings in a landscape orientation and not a portrait orientation. It would appear that set decorator John Dwyer was then responsible for "stacking" the paintings in columns. Here are two on top of one another--a set from Kirk's quarters:

    [​IMG]

    (The two paintings themselves are actually in landscape orientation.)

    Orienting them the "wide way" instead of the "tall way" would indeed be a more natural vision. Having done some set decorating on the Enterprise, I can tell you that trying to show a futuristic and exotic 23rd century starship that is different from the 20th century--but not too different--might be the exact reason why the more "natural" way of displaying the paintings wasn't employed.