Paintings depict all the men who walked on the moon
Logan Goodson grew up in Kemah back when a few shrimp boats and a restaurant or two were pretty much all there was in town. That changed in the 1960s when the U.S. manned space program moved from Virginia to the Clear Lake area, what’s now the NASA Johnson Space Center was built and neighborhoods across the lake began to fill up with newcomers.
Goodson and his friends became schoolmates with the children of astronauts.
For him, that started a lifetime fascination and a career path centering around NASA and space exploration, but not as a scientist or engineer. Goodson works at the NASA Johnson Space Center as a graphic artist and designer.
In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Goodson painted a series of 12 large portraits, each an oil-on-canvas study of one of the dozen men who have ever stepped foot on the moon.
On display now at Space Center Houston as part of Apollo Art: 50 Year Retrospective, Goodson’s “Moonwalkers” series depicts the astronauts in their space suits, but his goal was more down to earth.
“Besides Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, most of these are not household names,” Goodson said. “I wanted to tell a story about these men and what they meant to this country.”
On a personal level, Goodson wanted to commemorate the fact that these were sons and fathers, brothers and neighbors, regular guys at home who just happened to have extraordinary lives at work.
James Irwin, for example, who piloted the Apollo 15 mission to the moon, lived next door to a friend of Goodson’s who remembered him mowing his lawn in a red bathing suit.
Goodson became close friends in junior high with Eddie White, son of Ed White, the first man to walk in space and one of three NASA astronauts who died in a fire inside the Apollo 1 capsule in 1967, and remembers well the day the news was delivered to the school.
“These were normal dads, just people,” Goodson said.
They were also explorers and American heroes, willing to put themselves in harm’s way to achieve the mission of space exploration, he said.
A self-taught painter, Goodson studied illustrators whose work he admired, and he has labored to reach the same level of competency as a painter as he has with graphic design, he said. Because he worked at the Space Center, he had access to archived photos and searched for ones he could re-create for the “Moonwalkers” series.
They hang prominently on one large panel, just across the way from a famous Andy Warhol silkscreen print of Buzz Aldrin’s moonwalk, part of NASA’s permanent art collection.
Goodson spent a year making the paintings and hopes they’ll make people curious about the men depicted in them, he said.
“Only four of the men who’ve walked on the moon are still alive,” he said.
“I just want these people to be known and remembered.”
“Moonwalkers” will remain on display at Space Center Houston through the summer.
Apollo Art: 50 Year Retrospective
Did you know that in 1962, NASA administrator James E. Webb invited a group of artists to illustrate and interpret the agency’s missions and projects? Artists have been documenting the extraordinary adventure of spaceflight ever since.
Apollo Art: 50 Year Retrospective, on display at Space Center Houston through Nov. 3, features pieces by artists Andy Warhol, Robert McCall, Lamar Dodd, Franklin McMahon, Paul Calle, Paul Sample, Pat Rawlings, Nicole Stott, Josh Simpson and Michael Kagan.
The exhibit includes drawings, glass works and paintings from the collections of NASA and contributions from other current artists. These more than 30 works — ranging from the illustrative to the abstract — present a different view of the Apollo program that photos and films can’t capture.
The exhibit also features Apollo-era artifacts not normally on public display.
– Space Center Houston