Artist Depiction Movie Review

Written by Joanna K. Neilson

Released by Clindar

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Written and directed by Brett Ryan Bonowicz
2018, 82 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Sci-Fi London UK Premiere 19th May 2019

Don Davis
Rick Guidice
Charles Lindsay


How do you imagine the future? How do you make the terrifying, empty darkness of space come to life, and illustrate all the exciting possibilities, if only humans could escape gravity and roam freely among the stars?

NASA decided, among its other collaborations with TV and film, to use art to capture the potential exhilaration and wonder of outer space exploration. Artist Depiction focuses on three of their artists: Don Davis, Charles Lindsey, and Rick Guidice and explores their various influences and backgrounds. Each one has translated NASA’s interstellar ambitions into fantastic works of art, or created large-scale art installations that challenge human perceptions of the elements, technology and space, or playfully investigate the concept of Artificial Intelligence.

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Each artist discusses what led them to illustrate the future, and how they feel about NASA and modern space exploration. They all came to NASA in a slightly different way, although Davis and Guidice, first and last interviewed, are the most similar in style - and in many ways their work far is easier to appreciate.

Davis and Guidice both spent many years illustrating intrepid concepts for Space Colonies in the 1970s, and their gorgeous artwork has been seen in almost every country. Their work, highly detailed and full of glittering nebulas and lush, densely populated biodomes drifting in the far reaches of the solar system, would not look out of place on the covers of Astounding magazine. And that’s exactly the point. Their incredible landscapes continue to inspire writers and scientists today. Davis in particular wanted every part of his pictures to be as accurate as possible, and it ensured that even the fantastic elements have an irresistible, realistic weight to them.

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On a more conceptual level, Charles Lindsey aims to fuse science with art, seeing the machines and technology used for space travel as nothing less than an extension of humanity itself, earnestly reaching out beyond Earth’s atmosphere. His work enables him to discuss complex scientific concepts with scientists at NASA - mainly within SETI - and the art opens up a path for the public to understand these concepts as well. He cares passionately about the link between imagination and science, and he discusses how art, in all its forms, can push the boundaries of what humans think they might achieve.

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The interviews with all three artists are simply put together, and the soundtrack is unobtrusive, but quietly suggests the enormity of the cosmos that lies just out of our reach. The artists point out that space travel is still coming, albeit propelled more by business than government ideology, but it’s clear that human imagination continues to drive even the private sector’s desire for off-planet exploration, and the fantasies of science-fiction remain an important driving force. Elon Musk has sent The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy into orbit, our handheld computers and ultra-connected lifestyles are the stuff of Star Trek-esque science-fiction.

The thrilling worlds and concepts of these fascinating NASA artists has never been more ripe for revisiting. Artist Depiction is an essential watch for anyone who wants to see how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go.


Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover

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