WASHINGTON / July 19, 2009 / AFP — FORTY YEARS AFTER Alan Bean became the fourth man to walk on the moon, the now 77-year-old former astronaut still likes to share his memories of space flight with a broad audience — by painting them.
Bean decided to make the switch from astronaut to artist a dozen years after the Apollo 12 mission that took him to the moon in November 1969 and after spending two months in space in 1973 on board Skylab, and his souvenirs from both missions dominate his artwork.
When, at age 49, he dropped a bombshell on his bosses and colleagues at NASA, telling them that he was leaving to become a full-time painter, they wondered if he wasn’t in the throes of lunacy.
But they’ve all come round and now quite like the canvasses that Bean sells for up to 200,000 dollars these days, some incorporating precious moon dust and threads from the American flag that was on his space suit during his moon flight into the textured acrylics that are his preferred medium.
“It may be 500 years from now, but they will have a gallery on the moon,” he said.
Did you know? July 20, 2009 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon-landing in 1969! Pop artist Peter Max was also influenced by outer space, saying, “If I didn’t choose art, I would have become an astronomer.” What inspires you?
For information on the Smithsonian exhibit “Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World,” visit www.nasm.si.edu
Learn more about Pop artist Peter Max www.parkwestgallery.com