ASTRONAUT

Upperplayground News

ASTRONAUT DINOSAUR BY SCOTT LISTFIELD

by Ariadna Zierold

scott listfield, astronaut, dinosaur, painting, illustration, pop culture, landscape, humor, upper playground

Scott Listfield, born in Boston, MA, is known for his paintings featuring a lone exploratory astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos, and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references. Scott studied art at Dartmouth College. After some time spent abroad, Scott returned to America where, a little bit before the year 2001, he began painting astronauts and, sometimes, dinosaurs.

scott listfield, astronaut, dinosaur, painting, illustration, pop culture, landscape, humor, upper playground

“Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in 1968, well before I was born, so I have no firsthand knowledge of how it was received. I don’t know if people really believed we’d be living in space in 2001, if we’d have robot butlers and flying cars, geodesic lunar homes, and genetically reconstituted dinosaurs helping or eating us. But from Lost in Space to the Jetsons to Jurassic Park, it seems that popular culture has fostered this space-age perception of the future. Generations raised on these TV shows, movies, comic books, and novels are now grown and living in a future filled with mini vans, Starbucks, iPads, and Hip Hop videos. In many ways, the year 2001 failed to live up to expectations. And yet the world today is peculiar in ways unimagined in 1957, when Sputnik was launched, or in 1968, when 2001 was released, or even in 1994, at the dawn of the internet. The present is in fact a very unusual place, and it’s strangest in the ubiquity of things we take for granted.” Scott Listfield

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A WORLD OF UNEXPECTED BY SHANG CHENGXIANG

by Ariadna Zierold

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Chinese artist Shang Chengxiang’s compositions have a realistic foundation in which he inserts surreal, thick colored clouds, leaving you to interpret the limit among consciousness and unconsciousness. Dream plays a crucial role in his works. Psychedelic colors, absurd settings, lunar landscapes, his paintings are overflowing by imagination.

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His paintings are often a mixture of memories of his dreams and pondering of his reality and things that are in between. The colorful cloud smoke in his “Cloud Path” series derive from the rainbow-color forest that once appeared in his dream; many drafts and attempts later, the artist couldn’t recreate the scene, the illusionary quality of dreams started to sink into Chengxiang’s mind.

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Combining colors with clouds in his paintings, together with surreal and dream like images, Shang Chengxiang leads his audiences to a world of unexpected. He compares this illusionary quality of dreams to the evaporating quality of cloud and smoke, both temporary and unobtainable.

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PAINTINGS OF OUTER SPACE BY MICHAEL KAGAN

by Ariadna Zierold

michael kagan, space, astronaut, painting, brooklyn, rocket, upper playground

Brooklyn based artist Michael Kagan draws upon themes relating to space and man’s triumph over nature in his texture-heavy paintings. His self-described obsession with space imagery began as a child, when he would look at the moon through a telescope with his father, and later on, joined Space Camp.

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Kagan’s paintings are striking in their interpretation of astronauts and rocket launches that recall the shining glory days of space travel.

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