David A. Hardy is the longest-established space artist in the West, having been first published in 1952, and now works in both traditional and digital media. He is equally well known for his science fiction work, but always insists upon scientific accuracy!
David Hardy was born April 1936 in Bournville, UK. After working in a laboratory and two years in the RAF he started a career in the Design Office of Cadbury’s, where he created packaging art and catalogues for the company’s confectionery. However, in 1950 at the age of 14 he had already started painting space art. He later discovered this was the same year as Alexei Leonov, the Russian cosmonaut/artist, and leading Japanese astronomical artist Kazuaki Iwasaki.
Although basically self-taught he studied briefly at the Margaret Street College of Art in Birmingham, and was soon painting for the BIS, where he met the by then prolific BIS Fellow R. A. Smith, who was one of his foremost influences, along with Chesley Bonestell from the USA and early French astronomer-artist, Lucien Rudaux. He also illustrated his first book – Suns, Myths and Men, with another great member of the BIS, Patrick Moore – in 1954 at the age of only 18.
His first science fiction art was published in 1970, but he has gone on to illustrate hundreds of covers for books, and for magazines such as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) and Analog Science Fiction and Science Fact. His work also appears regularly in magazines such as Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy, for which he also writes articles. David is known as much for his non-fiction, accurate astronomical paintings in the tradition of Smith and Bonestell, as for his science fiction work, in which he created ‘Bhen’, his famous green alien which lent humour to his vivid astronomical scenes, who has appeared on a dozen issues of F&SF – the latest, on his ‘40th anniversary’ and the first digital, in November 2015.
He is European Vice President and former President of the International Association of Astronomical Artists, and until recently Vice President of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. He has attended IAAA workshops all over the world and usually exhibits his work in at least two SF conventions each year, including several in the USA and Europe, and has been Artist Guest of Honour at Eastercon, Novacon, Albacon, Stucon, Eurocon and several others. Hardy is one of a handful of artists to have an asteroid named after him: in 2003 asteroid 1998 SB32 was christened Davidhardy; and in August 2015 he was awarded the American Astronautical Society’s ‘Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History’ in the category of Artist (the first to receive this). His website is listed below and he may also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
David A Hardy's Gallery
Daedalus: Initiated by Alan Bond, Daedalus is the result of the world's first engineering design study, between 1973 – 1977 by the British Interplanetary Society (BIS), for an unmanned spacecraft to reach another star. The star selected was Barnard's Star, 6 light years away. The method of propulsion chosen was nuclear fusion using pellets of a deuterium-helium-3 mix, ignited in a reaction chamber by an electron beam. It developed into Project Icarus, which is ongoing. (Gouache, for Marshall Cavendish, 1984.)
Enzmann Starship: This concept for a manned interstellar mission was proposed by Dr Robert Enzmann in 1964, and modified in 1973. An 11 million tonne ball of frozen deuterium would act as fuel to power thermonuclear powered pulse propulsion units. The deuterium might be obtained from Jupiter, as shown here. The craft would be assembled in Earth-orbit, and would be some 600m long. (Acrylics; private collection of K. Long.)
Ice World: A planet similar to Saturn’s moon Titan, but orbiting a distant star and not surrounded by dense clouds. The vapour from geysers drifts upwards, to be swept away by stratospheric winds (like Neptune’s Triton), and a ringed planet is in the sky. (Acrylics; private collection of G. Bate.)
New Horizons at Pluto: Hardy's friend, scientist and digital artist Dr Dan Durda, produced a very accurate 3D model of New Horizons, which David combined here with his 1991 painting. The probe revealed 'polygonal structures' in an area called Sputnik Planum – very similar to those seen here – and Charon also has large canyons or crevasses like these!
Project Dragonfly: The winner of the i4is competition ‘Project Dragonfly’ in July 2015 received a signed copy of this digital painting by David A. Hardy, which was also used in connection with the project. Project Dragonfly is an ongoing initiative of i4is to help facilitate deep space missions that utilise laser-sail propulsion. In 2015 a design competition was run which involved seven different teams of university students who had to design a vehicle architecture according to set criteria, such as utilising a 100 GW beam. The winner was a team from the University of Munich and the artistic image above depicts their design.