Aldrin After Andy
In April 2011, Project One Gallery in San Francisco held an event called “Warhol Reimagined”. The group exhibition was organized by art/culture website, Warholian.com. According to their website:
For Warhol Reimagined, Warholian asked some of the best talent in the art community today to come forward and rework Warhol’s classic imagery. The group of fifty-nine artists were divided into two groups- the “Factory Artists” and the “Soup Can Artists”. Each artist was assigned an image and panel and given the directive to reinterpret the selected Warhol image into their own unique aesthetic…..
…The Warholian Factory Artists were given a 20″x24″ panel, and asked to pick from a selection of over 60 of Warhol’s works. The works were chosen based on their importance in Warhol’s lifetime body of art and prominence. These included his most classic portraits of celebrities, early body of illustrations, self-portraits and his most classic iconic pieces.
I chose “Moonwalk 405”, featuring a pink Buzz Aldrin on the Moon as my starting point for re-interpretation.
I wanted to see how Warhol made this image, so I started looking at the source material for print. NASA has a great public record photo library and there plenty of hi-resolution photos from the Apollo missions. I was surprised to learn that Moonwalk 405 is actually made of of two different photos composited together. In addition, the photograph of Buzz Aldrin is flipped so that his right arm is bent instead of his left. I assume that because of the image reversal, Warhol chose to eliminate the American flag patch since it would appear reversed in the finished print.
Once I had the original source material, I decided that I wanted to change the composition so that it was more of a portrait. I would “fix” the flip and add back in some of the details of the Apollo-era space suit. The flag would still be there, but instead of a composited-in flag, I would re-add the flag patch to Buzz’s left shoulder. I decided that I definitely wanted to keep the color scheme and screenprinted graphic quality of the original print. I brought the source material onto my computer and started laying in the basic shapes and lines in Adobe Illustrator.
Once I had a digital draft of what I wanted to create, it was time to transfer the design to the 20”x24” panel for paint.
The opening reception for the event was a success. I was blown away by the presentation and quality of the work and the enthusiasm of the crowd. Warholian.com has a great slideshow of the opening here.
Later that year, I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Aldrin at a space-related art event. I had postcards of my portrait of him from the Warhol show and was able to give him one.