BIS Space Artists

The BIS has had several renowned space artists during its history and in celebration of these great artists and their works we have added this section of the website in tandem with the new ‘Space Art T-Shirts’ which can be bought from the BIS Shop by clicking here. Below are bio’s for three of our most famous artists along with details on two pieces of their art featured in the new T-Shirts and how they relate to The BIS.

Adrian Mann – FBIS

Adrian Mann portraitAdrian Mann is a technical designer and illustrator. After studying maths, physics, and art, he gained comprehensive experience working for many top-name design agencies in the UK, a wide variety of book and magazine illustration projects, and also for world-class management consultancies for clients such as Rolls-Royce, BAe and of course the BIS where he has been a member for many years. His illustrations of the great BIS Project Daedalus starship are some of the most accurate to have been produced and he is now turning this skill to its successor, Project Icarus and Icarus Interstellar. His illustrations have appeared in many books, magazines, and TV programs. Adrian also provides illustrations for other aerospace projects, especially unbuilt UK aircraft and missiles from the 1950s and 60s. Adrian also works with Reaction Engines Ltd since their early days, and produces all the images and animations for their revolutionary SKYLON spaceplane and SABRE engine. This includes the images and animated video pieces on their website. Adrian and his wife currently live in rural Hungary, where he manages to regularly contribute to BIS articles and publications. He was graphic designer for our popular Odyssey e-newsletter and helped finalise the design of the BIS 80th Anniversary logo.

David A. Hardy – FBIS, FIAAA

david-a-hardy-o4David Hardy was born April 1936 in Bournville, UK, where he later started a career in the Design Office of Cadbury’s, where he created packaging and advertising art for the company’s confectionery. However, in 1950 at the age of 14 he had first started painting space art. He later discovered this was the same year as Alexei Leonov, the Russian cosmonaut/artist, and leading Japanese astronomical artist Kazuaki Iwasaki.
Although basically self-taught he studied briefly at the Margaret Street College of Art in Birmingham, and was soon painting for the BIS. where he met the by then prolific, BIS Fellow R. A. Smith (featured below), who was one of his foremost influences, along with Chesley Bonestell from the USA and early French astronomer-artist, Lucien Rudaux. He also illustrated his first book – Suns, Myths and Men, with another great member of the BIS, Patrick Moore – in 1954 at the age of only 18.
His first science fiction art was published in 1970, but he has gone on to illustrate hundreds of covers for books, and for magazines such as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Analog Science Fiction and Science Fact. His work also appears regularly in magazines such as Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy, for which he also writes articles.
He is known as much for his non-fiction, accurate astronomical paintings in the tradition of Smith and Bonestell, as for his science fiction work, in which he created ‘Bhen’, his famous green alien which lent humour to his vivid astronomical scenes, who has appeared on a dozen issues of F&SF.
He is European Vice President and former President of the International Association of Astronomical Artists, and until recently Vice President of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. He has attended IAAA workshops all over the world and usually exhibits his work in at least two SF conventions each year, including several in the USA and Europe, and has been Artist Guest of Honour at Eastercon, Novacon, Albacon, Stucon, Eurocon and several others. Hardy is one of a handful of artists to have an asteroid named after him: in 2003 it was christened Davidhardy=1998 SB32.
His website is, and he may also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

R.A. Smith – President of the BIS (1956-1957)

R A Smith_500Ralph Smith said that he designed his first spaceship at the age of twelve, in 1917. He was not satisfied with a purely artistic rendering. Many of his pictures were not commenced until he had spent a long while proving by calculation that what he would draw was a reasonable engineering possibility.
Before the War he was principally engaged in architectural decoration. He was responsible for the interior décor of several famous London hotels and metropolitan and provincial super-cinemas – affording good grounding for such pictures as his colour painting of the interior of Lunar City. His picture of the construction of the Space Station in orbit won an award by The Perspectivist magazine.
The first (pre-War) Headquarters of the BIS after transfer from Liverpool to London, was at Ralph’s house in South Chingford, where he was at the heart of the Technical Committee. It was Ralph Smith who took early proposals for a spaceship and evolved the engineering and laid the foundation for subsequent studies.
During the War, Ralph worked as a design draughtsman in the radio-tube MAP factory for which he had provided the layout. After the War, Ralph had an opportunity to work on rockets and for some years he was a Leading Draughtsman in the Drawing Office at Westcott. However, Ralph was a moral objector to the movement of designs towards missiles for military use, which ultimately led him to resign.
In 2007 he was given the Lucien Rudaux Prize and inducted into the Hall of Fame by the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA) in recognition of the pioneering importance of his artwork.

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