o/t: Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future

Here’s a forthcoming movie that couldn’t be further away from film noir: a feature-length documentary about the great astronomical artist (and so much more) Chesley Bonestell. I’ve adored Bonestell’s work since childhood, and quite a few years back was privileged to be the editor on Ron Miller’s deservedly Hugo-winning, illustrated large-scale biography of the man, The Art of Chesley Bonestell (2001; with Frederick C. Durant III) — in fact, it was Ron who drew my attention to the movie.

To learn more, scurry to the movie’s website here, where you can see lots of yummy artwork and watch a tantalizing trailer.


12 thoughts on “o/t: Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future

  1. Thanks very much, I am glad you brought this to my attention. Did some more research on the artist and shared it with my husband and son.

    • He really was an exceptional artist in all sorts of fields. At the opposite end of the spectrum from the astronomical/space art, he did a fabulous series of paintings of Spanish missions in California.

      • Last night after I read this reply, I saw online that there was a book with his paintings and wondered whether my husband had that book. He has a LOT of books about California history. He does have the book: The Golden Era of the Missions with text by Paul Johnson and paintings by Bonestell. Very cool.

  2. Bonnetstell is one of my favorite SF illustrators. His work was kind of a change of pace from the typical bug eyed alien type illustrations used in the 30’s and 40’s. I’ve been trying to remember when my favorite Bonestell cover appeared on Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. Finally found it thanks to a link from ISFDB.com. Hopefully this link works, it’s the March 1953 cover, titled ‘The Fleet Leaves Mars’. He takes the fairly common motif of a fleet of planes flying in formation and transfer it to Mars.

    • An interesting illustration — many thanks. I’ve seen a lot of Bonestell’s work, but I don’t recall having come across that one before.

      If you get a chance to take a look at the Ron Miller book I mention, grab it. The sheer range of Bonestell’s work in addition to the astronomical/space/sf art he’s most commonly associated with is really quite extraordinary.

  3. I backtracked you from your comment in the latest schlock-value, and that led me to find this post. Chesley Bonestell was a favorite of mine when I first discovered science fiction back about 1960. I will certainly track down the Ron Miller book and the new movie. Thanks for the heads-up. SL

    • Welcome here, Syd: how very good to come across you. Your name is very familiar (and I’ve just been checking in the SFE), but I can’t recall if we’ve met at a con or something. If we have and I’ve forgotten, please forgive an old man’s dwindling braincells.

      I must have been discovering Bonestell about the same time that you did — about 1960. My (much) older brother had a book of his work — Conquest of Space, I think — and of course I filched it for a read.

      Dave Hardy tells a great tale of how, as a kid, he took a Bonestell pic of the lunar surface in to school to show the art teacher . . . who started telling him how photography was all well and good but painting was the real potatoes. It apparently took Dave some while to get it through the teacher that the Bonestell pic wan’t a photograph. His proof? At the time no one had been to the moon to take a photograph . . .

  4. Dear John,
    Many thanks for bringing some added awareness to “Chesley Bnestell: A Brush With The Future” and for posting the comments from your followers. We’ve been busy as bees trying to finish the film by the end of the year. It runs 95 minutes and is quite a fascinating account of Chesley’s life and works as told by people whom he influenced. Ron Miller and Melvin Schuetz are the Co-Producers and have been providing invaluable help throughout its production. Will post some concrete news “when it hardens”`

    Very gratefully,

    Doug Stewart
    “Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future”

    • Congratulations on having the movie so near to completion, Doug! By all means post the “concrete news” about release dates, etc., here; alternatively, send it to me direct — Ron has my e-address — and I’ll make a post out of it.

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