Art in Space

Taking art to new heights

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 15:09 04/04/2014
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
Planet Labs art director Forest Stearns takes a break from painting the geodesic randome at the Awarua Satellite Ground Station.

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@devlincolle American artist Forest Stearns is taking the world of art to new heights.

The art director, who has recently completed work in Southland, has sent his paintings into space.

He works for Planet Labs - a San Francisco-based space and data analytics company which is using the Awarua Satellite Ground Station near Bluff for a pioneering Earth observation project, one of only two stations in the world to do so.

He has just finished painting the geodesic radome at Awarua, which he believes could be the world's first radome mural.

The Radome houses a 5-metre dish-antenna, controlling a constellation of 28 Earth observation microsatellites (with cameras) and downloads photographs of all the Earth from space every day.

Stearns paintings of migrating animals have been etched on the miniature satellites (now in space), where he says they are looking back at earth as they migrate outwards.

He sees his paintings as symbolic markings, which have always been part of human story telling.

"These are my new cave paintings."

Cultures are rated by art and language and he wanted his bold paintings to make an impact and illustrate the importance of birds and animals on earth.

The art was for astronauts to enjoy from space and anything else that might be out there, he says.

Art was universal and it was his intention to remind humans as they migrate they had a responsibly to planet earth and its environment.

 

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