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Jul 26, 2009

Ground Control to Major Tom, Part 2

"Shelby Street Bridge" - 30" x 40" - oil

Available at The Arts Company

So as promised, I'm delivering the rest of the Air Force story. The reason for this trip was to document the space aspect of the United States Air Force. The folks in Washington noticed that there are hundreds of paintings of airplanes but very few pieces of art that focus on the space program.

During the next couple of days of our space technology field trip we visited Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Space X. Usually the artists on these trips take hundreds of reference pictures to work from once they get home. I said usually. This was far from a normal trip. We were not allowed to take any of our own photos and at Boeing, I couldn't even take in a lead pencil. A lot of the information that we were given was fascinating for a regular Steve like me. I would love to talk more about the trip but 70% of what we saw was classified and I can't even acknowledge 90% of what I didn't see (hush, hush). Don't even get me started on the little green . . . never mind.

7 comments:

Shirley Peters said...

This is so funny. Taking artists to a top secret environment, and forbidding them to do drawings?
sooo, I guess they want abstracts?

Deborah Ross said...

What an interesting trip that must have been. Especially the classified part. But how do they expect you to paint when you couldn't photograph? Weird. I hope you have a good memory.

Steven S. Walker said...

Well they're suppose to get all of their in house photographers to take photos for us and send a CD. That's all well in good but it's nerve racking to depend on someone else for photo reference. I may have to stage somethings at home.

Cathyann said...

This is an amazing story, Steven. Can't wait to see what you create from it..for them and for you. It sounds as surreal as a movie script could get if someone was to make a film about artists. Does the gov't have money to do this? What if that got out,eh? I mean people complain about bailouts...

Aside from all that, congrats on the commission. At least you won't be bored by the assigment.

Steven S. Walker said...

The government uses the art as an advertisement to illustrate why the space program, training and other exercises are important when trying to convince senators to support them. In addition it does help those stale military buildings. They probably spend more on toilets than art.

Kerri Settle said...

Love the angle you chose for the Shelby Street Bridge painting!

It sounds like you had an interesting trip. I'm looking forward to seeing what you get out of the pictures they decide to send you.

Steven S. Walker said...

Thanks Kerri, This painting took longer than usual but I'm pleased. Turns out that one of my grad school friends is the photographer at one of the visits in L.A. I expect that I'll have good reference to work from.

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