The artists of Future Life


My earlier post about Future Life magazine mentioned the regular Portfolio series which featured interviews with illustrators and space artists, the latter group being the people who providing conceptual paintings for astronomy books and government entities such as NASA. Since the magazine files at the Internet Archive aren’t searchable I thought it worth making note of the interviews here, for my own benefit as much as anything else. (This blog has often served as a useful notebook.)


Issue 1: Chesley Bonestell.

Many of the artists featured in Future Life were receiving their first (in some cases, only) high-profile feature at a time when little attention was given to the producers of this kind of work even in popular science-fiction magazines. The story magazines have always run interviews with writers but prior to Future Life, Science Fiction Monthly was the only magazine that I’d seen with a regular illustration feature, and that title didn’t last very long. Future Life covered some of the same people, Chris Foss, for example, while seeking out the prominent figures of the US illustration world. Not all the art is to my taste at all but the interviews are of interest even if you don’t like the pictures. One surprise was finding an interview in one of the issues that I’d missed with Ludek Pesek, a Czech artist whose views of the Solar System and depictions of the evolution of life on Earth I knew from the Puffin books he worked on with Peter Ryan. Those books were aimed at a young readership and were great favourites of mine before I’d seen anything by Foss and co. Another of the space artists interviewed is David Hardy, a British contemporary of Pesek’s whose view of an alien planet will be familiar to Hawkwind enthusiasts on the back cover of Hall Of The Mountain Grill. Another notable feature of the series is the lack of women artists, although this isn’t so surprising given that women creating pictures of space hardware are few even today. All the same, they might have featured Rowena Morrill, a popular cover artist for SF and fantasy novels at the time, and someone whose work I prefer to many of the people they did profile.


Issue 3: Boris Vallejo.


Issue 4: Robert McCall.


Issue 5: Shusei Nagaoka.

A Japanese artist best known in the West for his album-cover art for ELO, Earth, Wind and Fire, and many others.


Issue 6: Ron Miller.


Issue 7: The Brothers Hildebrandt.


Issue 8: David Hardy.


Issue 9: Vincent DiFate.


Issue 10: Syd Mead.

The great Syd Mead was featured several times, with a centre-spread painting in an earlier issue (the centre-spread Gallery being a smaller, regular art feature although the art wasn’t always up to Mead’s standards), and in one of the last issues talking about his work on Blade Runner. This car design, incidentally, is now 50 years old.


Issue 11: Chris Foss.


Issue 12: Jack Olson.


Issue 13: John Berkey.


Issue 14: Andrei Sokolov.


Issue 15: Duke Lee.

Not an artist but a micro-photographer.


Issue 16: Jon Lomberg.


Issue 17: Rick Sternbach.


Issue 18: Don Dixon.


Issue 19: Morris Scott Dollens.


Issue 20: Karl Kofoed.


Issue 21: Ludek Pesek.


Issue 22: Adolf Schaller.


Issue 23: Ron Cobb.

Ron Cobb’s feature shows a couple of his early designs for Ridley Scott’s Alien.


Issue 24: John Allison.


Issue 25: Steve Dodd.


Issue 26: Dale M. Figley.


Issue 27: Ron Miller.


Issue 28: David Egge.


Issue 29: Keith Page.


Issue 30: Ronald Hall.


Issue 31: Wayne Barlowe.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Future Life magazine
Science Fiction Monthly

2 thoughts on “The artists of Future Life”

  1. “This blog has often served as a useful notebook.”

    Now’s there’s an understatement! Thanks ahead for the pleasures derived herein.

    Hard to beat good old Chesley Bonestell. I still have a couple books with his stuff from when I was in high school.

  2. Thanks, Stephen. Bonestell is definitely the Grandmaster of Space Art so it was fitting that they began the series with his work. It used to be that you couldn’t open a book on astronomy without encountering at least one of his paintings.

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