Hardy art

hardy1.jpg

Hawkwind continue to be the overwhelming topic of the moment while I’m reading Joe Banks’ marvellously detailed account of the group’s first decade. One of the many attractions of Hawkwind for this listener was their intersection with other areas of interest: Moorcock and New Worlds, obviously (two of Robert Calvert’s poems appeared in New Worlds Quarterly), but also SF and fantasy in general. The alien planet on the back cover of the Hall of the Mountain Grill album was immediately recognisable as the work of British space artist David A. Hardy thanks to a feature in Visions of the Future (1976) a collection of artwork reprints from the art and fiction magazine Science Fiction Monthly. Hardy had a long association with astronomer Patrick Moore, illustrating the covers of Moore’s novels and later collaborating on a speculative science book, Challenge of the Stars (1972). A few of the latter paintings were reprinted in Visions of the Future, including one with the title Alien Life Forms that depicted amoeboid creatures on a remote planet. The painting would have become the back cover of the Hawkwind album if Hardy hadn’t insisted on creating a new work in a more suitable ratio.

Hardy’s association with Hawkwind extended to their stage shows, with a series of circular paintings used by “Liquid Len” (Jonathan Smeeton) on a rotating projector that covered the band in moving panoramas of ancient monuments, dinosaurs, alien landscapes and exploding worlds. Two of the paintings appear as the endpapers in Joe’s book; the dinosaurs and the monuments may be seen here. Joe’s account also resolved another nagging micro-mystery by confirming that the stage projections used while the group played the instrumental Wind Of Change were also Hardy paintings, not an animated film as I’d been led to believe by a friend who saw one of the shows where the number was performed. The slides apparently showed an isolated tree around which a city grows then self-destructs, although I’ve yet to see a reproduction of any of the paintings.

hardy2.jpg

Cover design by Bryan Cholfin.

My own Hawkwind covers make very poor comparisons to Hardy’s meticulous renderings but we do have a further connection via The Very Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction, a collection of stories from the long-running magazine edited by Gordon Van Gelder. I designed the book’s interiors and Hardy contributed the cover art. Hardy painted many covers for F&SF throughout the 1970s and 80s, this shining rocket being a reworking of a cover he produced for the magazine’s 60th anniversary issue. The archetypal spacecraft of classic science fiction, and almost a definitive example. You might even call it a silver machine…

Previously on { feuilleton }
Silver machines
Notes from the Underground
Hawkwind: Days of the Underground
The artists of Future Life
Science Fiction Monthly
The Chronicle of the Cursed Sleeve
Rock shirts
The Cosmic Grill
Void City
Hawk things
The Sonic Assassins
New things for July
Barney Bubbles: artist and designer

2 thoughts on “Hardy art”

  1. Hi John, thanks for all your kind words about the book. However, you’ve just had me going back to check the text re David Hardy and the Tree & City sequence ;-) You can view the slides on Jon Smeeton’s website Robots For Peace (there’s a bit of a Motorway City vibe!): https://www.robotsforpeace.com/uploads/3/4/7/6/34765309/2302509_orig.jpg / https://www.robotsforpeace.com/hawkwind.html As you’ll see, the caption says “The City and Tree Sequence. Fondly remembered. Ink: Nik Evans. A limited edition poster soon, maybe.” (that final comment is the reason JS wouldn’t let me use this image in the book)

  2. Ah, excellent, thanks. I only read the full Smeeton interview a couple of days ago so hadn’t got round to looking at his site. I was fortunate to see what was possibly his last outing with Hawkwind at one of the Lyceum shows in London in 1980. (Also one of the last Tim Blake gigs.) I don’t remember much about the lights but they didn’t include the Tree and City on that occasion. I can see now why my friend might have thought the sequence was a film when Smeeton says that their slide machines could make still pictures seem like animations.

Comments are closed.