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Hardy, David A

Entry updated 21 August 2023. Tagged: Artist.

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(1936-    ) UK artist and illustrator, known at least as much for his astronomical and space-exploration paintings, done in the accurate tradition of Chesley Bonestell, as for his sf work. Hardy is essentially a self-taught artist, though he attended the Margaret Street College of Art in Birmingham circa 1960 on day release from his illustration work for the chocolate manufacturer Cadbury, during which employment he honed his skills in commercial art, layout and typography before leaving for a freelance career in 1965. He had produced exhibition paintings for the British Interplanetary Society as early as 1952.

Among his best early work was the illustration of a nonfiction book by Patrick Moore, Suns, Myths and Men (1954); he later illustrated and cowrote with Moore Challenge of the Stars (graph 1972; rev vt New Challenge of the Stars 1978). A quarter of a century later they revisited this material, comparing the predictions made in the earlier books with the reality and with more recent expectations, in Futures: 50 Years in Space: The Challenge of the Stars (graph 2004; rev vt 50 Years in Space: What We Thought Then ... What We Know Now graph 2006), which won the Arthur C Clarke Award for Best Written Presentation. Solo, Hardy wrote and compiled Visions of Space: Artists Journey Through the Cosmos (graph 1989), an important and copiously illustrated history of space art that notably included contributions from both sides of the (then still extant) Iron Curtain. Other book credits include Galactic Tours (graph 1981) with Bob Shaw and The Fires Within: Volcanoes on Earth and Other Planets (1991) with John Murray, and artwork for Atlas of the Solar System (1982; rev 1986) and The Encyclopedia of Fantasy & Science Fiction Art Techniques (1996) by John Grant and Ron Tiner. His solitary novel, Aurora: A Child of Two Worlds (2003; rev 2012), concerning an expedition to Mars, reflects his passionate interests in space exploration, Alien contact (see First Contact), and rock music.

His sf work has appeared on numerous magazine and book covers, most notably including (beginning 1971) many covers for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, the magazine for which he developed his famous "Space Gumby", a green alien which lent humour to his vivid astronomical scenes. He was an important artist for Vision of Tomorrow, and has worked also for Science Fiction Monthly, If, Galaxy Science Fiction and, more recently, extensively for Analog. He has contributed articles and astronomical art for a number of popular science magazines, including Sky & Telescope and Astronomy Now.

He has been President (1996-2000) and is currently European Vice-President (since 1988) of the International Association of Astronomical Artists, and Vice-President (since 2009) of ASFA. He received the 2001 Lucien Rudaux Memorial Award for his astronomical art, and his cover art for Analog has four times (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007) been voted best of the year by readers of that magazine. A retrospective of his art is Hardyware: The Art of David A. Hardy (graph 2001) with Chris Morgan. An Asteroid discovered in 1998 was named 13329 Davidhardy in his honour. [JG/PN/JGr]

see also: Nova Awards.

David Andrews Hardy

born Birmingham: 10 April 1936

works (selected)



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