Like all astronomical artists Don Dixon was inspired by the work of Chesley Bonestell, who believed that scientific accuracy is essential when depicting the wonders of the universe. Animating early missions to the planets allowed him to be a guest of NASA at several space exploration firsts, such as the Viking 1 landing on Mars and the Pioneer 11 flyby of Saturn, for which he designed the mission logo.
He is a Fellow and founding member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA). His art has been featured on the covers of Scientific American, Astronomy, Sky and Telescope, Bild der Wissenschaft, and dozens of books ranging from physics compendiums to science fiction novels. The cover painting for Kim Stanley Robinson's novel Red Mars is included in the Planetary Society's digital Martian Library aboard the Phoenix spacecraft, which landed in the north polar region of Mars in 2008 (and is likely now buried under dry ice).
Early work was created in oil or acrylic paints. Since the late 1990's, he's worked digitally, although private commissions and murals are still executed with oil paints on canvas or Masonite panel.
His career spans an amazing period of scientific discovery that has transformed the planets from shimmering orbs barely glimpsed through telescopes to bizarre and fascinating worlds. Some of the early paintings on this site depict worlds that might have been, but never were. Nature remains stranger and more beautiful than we can imagine.
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