Don Dixon (artist)

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Born in Easton, Pennsylvania in 1951, Don Dixon is an astronomical artist practicing space art in the tradition of Chesley Bonestell, who believed that scientific accuracy is a fundamental aspect of the esthetic of this genre. Space artists attempt to depict realistically parts of the universe that have not yet been explored by astronauts or robotic probes. Dixon has created cover art for Scientific American, Sky and Telescope, Omni, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Astronomy Magazine, and many other publications. Dixon's paintings have been used to illustrate the covers of several science fiction books, such as the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson and the Galactic Center Saga by Gregory Benford. He directed and co-wrote the immersive animated film Centered in the Universe, which premiered in 2006 at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium at Griffith Observatory, where he has served as Art Director since 1991. He is a founding member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA) and was elected a Fellow of that organization in 2000. He lives in Long Beach, California.

Colleague Ron Miller has described Dixon's work as "softly luminescent." Dixon's early work was executed in oil paints. To obtain the fine detail required for animation projects, however, he has worked in acrylic and gouache for most of his career. Dixon's recent purely scientific illustrations incorporate traditional media, such as detailed pencil drawings, which he then scans and manipulates digitally using Adobe Photoshop, often including renderings created with 3D modeling programs such as Cinema 4D. Since 2001, he has returned to oil painting for non-commercial projects. An exhibition of his work was held at the 2004 Astrofestival sponsored by the University of Oslo.


  • "NASA Does it Better:Space Artists Face Reality" by Jia-Rui Chong, Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2006
  • "Visions of Space" David A. Hardy Paper Tiger 1989
  • "Space Art" Ron Miller Starlog Magazine
  • "Universe" Don Dixon Houghton Mifflin 1981

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