Spotlight: Warrington Colescott (American; 1921-2018), The Great Moon Trip, 1972

Warrington Colescott (American; 1921-2018), The Great Moon Trip, 1972. Color etching, aquatint, and photo transfer on paper (Edition: 60/100), 22 1/8 × 30 inches, Franco Collection, Auburn University at Montgomery.

Catalogue entry by Thurston Liptrot

Warrington Colescott was born in Oakland, CA in 1921 and attended the University of California, Berkeley. He was drafted in the US army during WW2 and served from 1942-1946. His preferred medium in the arts was printmaking, which he studied at the Slade School of Art in London in 1957, being taught in the ways of the intaglio processes of printmaking under Anthony Gross.

Colescott began his art endeavors focusing on abstract pieces in serigraphy, but after his studies in London, he shifted completely to using intaglio printmaking. His practice as an artist is very focused and one of recognizable growth and learning of himself. While he was a practicing artist, he was also an avid teacher. He provided social commentary and satire within his art.

Here is one of his works, The Great Moon Trip (1972), created in a style similar to Pop Art. There is a lot to digest within this piece. We see a buzzing and busy highway of cars, with a city of roads with more lined cars. The right side of the composition is cut off by a rather ‘big’ gentleman enjoying television with his family within the domesticated but messy confines of his household. The top half holds astronauts and a woman having a drink, and to the right of her we’re greeted with what seems to be a solar system. The main ideas here are the great Space Race of the 1960’s, established by John F. Kennedy, but the jarring topic at hand is: what’s to become of space once we get there? Are we doomed to repeat our lives of domestication and consumerism, or will we be the adventurous astronauts exploring the cosmos, with lives filled with excitement?

Sources:

“The Great Moon Trip,” https://edlab.tc.columbia.edu/blog/21126-The-Great-Moon-Trip-Warrington-Colescott-Federico-Castellon-Memorial-Print-Collection

“Warrington Colescott,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warrington_Colescott

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