I paint astronauts and, sometimes, dinosaurs. Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in 1968—well before I was born—so I have no firsthand knowledge of how it was received. I don't know if people really believed we'd be living in space in 2001; if we'd have robot butlers and flying cars, geodesic lunar homes and genetically reconstituted dinosaurs helping or eating us. But from Lost in Space to the Jetsons to Jurassic Park, it seems that popular culture fostered this space-age perception of the future. Generations raised on these TV shows, movies, comic books and novels are now grown and living in a future filled with minivans, Starbucks, iPods and hip-hop videos. In many ways, the year 2001 failed to live up to expectations. And yet the world today is peculiar in ways unimagined in 1957, when Sputnik was launched, or in 1968, when 2001 was released, or even in 1994, at the dawn of the internet. The present is, in fact, a very unusual place, and it's strangest in the ubiquity of things we take for granted. The astronaut in my paintings is simply here to explore the present.
Scott Listfield (b. 1976, Boston, MA) is known for his paintings featuring a lone, exploratory astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references. Scott studied art at Dartmouth College, which was maybe not the brightest thing to do. After some time spent abroad, Scott returned to America, where, right around the year 2001, he began painting astronauts and, sometimes, dinosaurs. Scott has been profiled in WIRED and the Boston Globe, and online at Big RED & Shiny. Additionally, his work appeared in New American Paintings in 2005 and 2008. His work has been exhibited extensively in Boston, and less extensively in Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.