Nicholas Forker is a maestro of the ballpoint pen. One day I was walking by the half-way open door of his art studio in Bushwick and noticed astronauts on the wall. Drawings and ink paintings of astronauts in a variety of mundane positions – sitting on the couch, batting up on a baseball field. Being a sucker for astronauts, I wheedled my way in to the studio and into a long conversation with Forker about what it is about astronauts that inspires his art.
As part of our meandering conversation, Forker showed me a series of photos taken of him wearing a replica of Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo spacesuit. The images were carefully constructed by Forker and photographer Clint Spaulding to place the figure of the astronaut as played by Forker in a series of mundane tasks and jobs. The idea was to capture what would happen to the iconic astronaut now forced to re-enter normal life after a forced retirement with the end of the Space Shuttle program. The images are clever and delightful, but they also hint at an underlying sadness about the end of certain space dreams, in era of panic over government spending. Long gone are the astronaut glory days, when the right stuff got you to space in a ramshackle hunk of metal; today, space is open to anyone with enough cash, while NASA astronauts, deprived of a domestic spaceship, must depend on Russian rockets to slip the surly bonds of earth.
Eephus Pitch, 2011, ballpoint on mylar.
High School Basketball Team Photo Op, 2011, ballpoint on mylar
A sketch, 2011
See more of Nicholas’ work at his website.