Grant Louden is an artist in Milton Keynes who is working on a series of incredible sculptures based on the spaceships from classic sf pulp covers. The first one is Star Dwellers, based on Colin Hay's cover for James Blish's novel. Louden collaborated with Hay on the piece, and officially licensed it. The build is an amazing mix of Fimo, model parts, car body filler, and custom castings in rubber and resin. Needless to say, the detail is fantastic.
Q: I understand that you produced the sculpture with Colin Hay's official endorsement. In fact he was a source of information and advice on the build. How did you find the process of working directly with the original artist?
So we agreed an official license for each ship, and a royalty to go back to the original artist upon any sales for use of their work. It was important for me to recognise, celebrate, and remunerate their original – in every sense of the word – artworks.
I chose to build Star Dwellers first, for a couple of reasons. It was always my all time favourite of the TTA illustrations. Solemn, sombre and begging questions, and beautifully designed and rendered. Also it posed a considerable challenge. Just one view to work from, an incredibly complex shape to reproduce, with it's wild angles merging into a round nose cone, and intricately detailed. And two astronaut figures to model, so in doing this first I would gather and hone the skills and equipment needed to build any of the others.
Colin was absolutely fantastic to work with throughout the entire build. From commenting on prototype paper models, checking plan drawings, and constant enthusiasm and kind comments all along the way. He was invaluable when it came to building the unseen details of the ship. What would the interior look like for instance? Independently we had both been thinking WWII fighters and midget submarines as a look and feel. I asked if we should put floating seat harnesses in the cockpits, and Colin said indeed and wished he'd thought of them when doing his original painting. So it was wonderful to have so much input and encouragement, and it's made for a far more accurate and sympathetic recreation. Colin will be signing a Certificate of Authenticity to accompany the piece when sold, as well as a signed art print of his original. And I'll be passing on a two figure percentage royalty when it's sold.
The Model Shop Part 1: Star Dwellers sculpture by Grant Louden + interview (with Dan McPharlin)