Spécialiste de la peinture spatiale très détaillée, son talent est reconnu partout.
Il a travaillé pour la NASA, avec notamment, des représentations très réalistes d’impacts planétaires (météorites ou comètes contre des planètes).
Il a également travaillé avec Carl Sagan sur la série Cosmos, pour laquelle il obtiendra un Emmy.
Il est également l’auteur de plusieurs couvertures de livres de Carl Sagan dont Les Dragons de l’Eden qui obtient le Prix Pulitzer en 1977.
Il a également réalisé plusieurs cours métrages d’animation astronomique pour la NASA ou Discovery Channel
Il a un site où l’on peut admirer son travail : www.donalddavis.com
Interview réalisée en 2011
Q : When have you decide to became space artist ? And why did you like space exploration, aviation,etc ?
A : I first saw space art in the Life Magazine book The World We Live In, with the work of Chesley Bonestell at the beginning and end chapters.
This would have been about 1960, when I was 8 years old.
(Ndlr : The World We Live In est une nouvelle publiée dans Life Magazine en 13 chapitres du 8 décembre 1952 au 20 décembre 1954, dont voici les deux couvertures)
Later I saw more of the work of Bonestell and other artists on science fiction magazine covers and other books.
Why did I like space, it's hard to say... Earlier I was very interested in dinosaurs, and studied them and the artists who painted them.
At that time space travel was beginning to happen and there was a sense of a race between the US and the Russians to reach the Moon.
A lot of space related television programming, magazine articles, books and toys brought space travel to the attention of kids growing up then and there.
It was probably getting a small telescope as a child that first made me amazed with the universe, seeing the Moon and planets close up for myself.
Q : What was your 1st professional artist space work and how have you worked on this ?
A : My first professional space art work was in 1968 as a high school student hired by the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California USA.
We students were originally hired to color in maps showing the different surface types on the Moon in the proper outlined places with colored pencils of the proper color. This was how it was done before we had computer printers!
I brought a painting of the Moon I had recently done for my interview, and I was hired on the spot. Soon I was painting the moon while learning much about why it appears as it does and what forces of nature shape its landscape.
My supervisor at the U.S. G. S. was the great Lunar scientist Don Wilhelms.
Because of working there I was invited to do a painting of the Apollo 11 astronauts on the Moon for a newspaper Sunday magazine the week of the landing. That was my first published work.
Q : What are your(s) feeling(s) about that many people saw and loved yours painters and works every days ?
A : I feel lucky to have been able to share my love of these subjects in this way.
I know many have seen my work and I hope some will be inspired to create art of their own, or perhaps be interested in space and astronomy.
Q : Did you like to go in space ? And why ?
A : Yes I did and would still like to go into space.
With the progress in commercial groups working to make space available there is still a chance I could spend at least a few minutes up there.
I would really like to go to the Moon and explore in a large vehicle. Perhaps in the next life!
Q : What memories have you o the Apollo 11 lunar landing in 1969 ?
A : My parents were going camping then, I decided to stay home.
I watched on a black and white TV as the final approach to the landing was made by the astronauts in the LM, and on television they played part of President Kennedy's speech 8 years earlier announcing the goal of landing on the Moon.
It made me think of how glad JFK would have been to see his goal accomplished if he had lived.
I of course watched every moment of the time on the surface.
Q : What is your best memory about your space artist career ?
A : There are so many to choose from...
My work as one of the artists on the television show Cosmos was one high point, I worked with Carl Sagan on this and other projects. I won an 'Emmy' for my work on that series.
Now I work on visuals for planetariums, animating what I used to paint.
My work in this field has taken me to places like Greece and Egypt, and is a lot of fun.
So happily a lot of my most satisfying projects are among my most recent.