Painting with Astronaut Alan Bean


Al Bean’s art is textured with bits of moondust, treads from his lunar boots, and impressions from his hammer and a piece of core tube he drove into the lunar surface.

It’s also infused with first-person memories of actually being there - as he was 4th man to walk on the moon.

After an amazing career with NASA that included piloting the lunar module of Apollo 12, working on the moon’s surface deploying important experiments, and later circling the earth for 59 days as commander of Skylab 3, Alan Bean retired from NASA in 1981 to dedicate himself full time to his art.


His fellow astronauts had convinced him that his unique perspective would enable him to create the first ever first-person paintings in all of history of a place other than earth.

We spent time with Al Bean in his studio near Houston for a project we were filming with Falcon’s Digital Media called Heroes and Legends, a new exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center.

This incredible project brought the Big Pictures team across the country interviewing American heroes like Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and dozens of other apollo-era and current astronauts. We filmed many of these interviews in front of green screens, but with Al Bean the background of his amazing studio was too good to pass up.

We used our Sony F55 CineAlta digital cinema camera package, with a Canon 50mm Cine Prime lens. We wanted to soak up the colors and texture of the space, without diminishing depth of field so much that you couldn’t see the background. The feel becomes a man in his element, rather than simply a background for an interview.

You can see our work with Al Bean and the other astronauts next time you visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Our friends at Falcon’s Digital Media worked with NASA to create an amazing exhibit. Check it out here: HEROES AND LEGENDS FEATURING THE U.S. ASTRONAUT HALL OF FAME

We were saddened to learn that Al Bean passed away in May. It was such an incredible honor to meet him, and spend time in his studio.

Godspeed, Alan Bean - March 15, 1932 - May 26, 2018

Big Pictures Crew: Tom Miller, Zumi Hidalgo, Ben Rader, Trevor Nordeen. Special thanks to Art David and Jon McBride, who helped us every step of the way, and Falcon’s Digital Media.

Written by Tom Miller, Copyright © 2018 Big Pictures Media