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Is Space Art Dead? (Part II)

Mercury Summer 2009 Table of Contents

Cook opening page

Image courtesy of Lynette R. Cook.

by Lynette R. Cook

Broad, sweeping changes in the art world at large have eroded the ground beneath freelancers since the 1980s. The royalty-free CD containing clipart and illustrations (and the appearance of stock-image libraries); the maturity of the personal computer and the sophistication of graphics software; and the availability of spectacular space imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope and other telescopes and probes are just three examples of why many space artists feel the bottom is dropping out of their profession.

Are professional space artists just complaining, or do our comments reveal actual truths and major shifts in the space-art universe? To find out, I next took my investigation to a few key space-art users and sellers in order to get their perspective: Novaspace Galleries, which identifies itself as the world’s largest source for authentic space memorabilia; a number of astronomy and science magazines; and Science Photo Library, an image bank that pays their artists and photographers a royalty for every image used by their clients (unlike the stock houses described in the first half of the article).

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