There are many ways to engage with space beyond being a scientist or an engineer. Art offers one such alternative pathway to engaging with space. There are many types of art, of course. Reportage art is a unique form of art that is essentially visual storytelling. Some reportage artists work on space. We spoke to Jedidiah Dore to learn about how he became a space reportage artist. He shares his story and provides tips for other space-inspired artists.
Why do you feature space and science in some of your work?
Besides visual art, science and space exploration are my other passions. Before I pursued art studies, I wanted to become an astronaut. Science and mathematics were some of my favorite subjects in school, and I was always very good at them. So, I actively pursued subjects relating to aerospace engineering and aviation. I was also very good at drawing and began drawing all of the different aircraft and spaceships I imagined I would pilot someday. After graduating, I started an ongoing art series project called Stellar Science Series, which is art celebrating achievements in science and space exploration. Most of my concept drawings in the series are reportage drawings made on location. This work was the beginning of much of my art that is inspired by space exploration.
What is reportage art, and how does it relate to your work in the space industry?
Reportage art is visual journalism created by way of documentary drawing and chronicling stories of an event, subject, or news story while on location. Creating art and reportage drawing on-site allows me to fully connect with the subject matter and to tell a more complete story over time. It also allows me to reflect on observations made in the field.
I was fortunate to be invited by NASA JPL to help celebrate the Deep Space Network’s 50thAnniversary. A group of science journalists and communicators were invited to document the symposium, and I naturally brought along my art supplies to document the entire journey with drawings. I was the only artist and person drawing during the events while I shared much of the art live as it happened.
Since starting the Stellar Science Series and sharing my science- and space-inspired art, I have been fortunate enough to be invited to visually document at various locations. I’ve worked at Goddard Space Flight Center, the Mars Yard for Curiosity Rover, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Deep Space Network, Johnson Space Center, and Kennedy Space Center. I’ve had opportunities to collaborate on projects and commissions for Jacob Technologies, the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Kennedy Space Center. I’ve exhibited my art, some of which celebrates the JWST mission, at the Goddard Space Flight Center.
What advice do you have for artists, particularly those interested in space?
I recommend immersing yourself in the related subjects and learning as much as you can from scientists and engineers about space. I have made many friends I look up to who are astronomers, scientists, and engineers working on wondrous missions for the space industry. They have become familiar with my art and my goals as a science and space communicator. Not unlike the training for astronauts and scientists, it is important to be patient and understand that developing and sharpening your visual communication skills takes time. But it is very much worth the journey. Most of all it’s important to always wonder, stay curious, and keep going.