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The distinctions between artists and explorers exist only in the process of documentation. Thomas Moran’s decision to join Ferdinand Hayden’s expedition and paint the landscape of the American West was a significant moment for westward exploration and preservation.  The driving force behind each man, a shared curiosity, wanting to document and share their unfolding new world. 

The Pissarro Missions are the beginning of a aeronautic investigation I began in the spring of 2018. As space exploration continues to fascinate man, not only is it essential to record the findings of NASA, the ESA, Elon Musk, and the other multi-billion dollar space programs, but to look at how exploration still exists as a compelling curiosity to the common man.

The chief mission of the Aeronautic Visual Art Program is to examine how and why humans choose to live in a world separated by temporal, spatial, and cultural borders.  How does the commonality of being human change as we continue to explore an infinite Universe?

The aircrafts built for this program capture the landscape through a process of video and self-drawing. While airborne, the craft interacts with the wind, altitude, moisture, and light, creating a painting that serves as documentation of the flight — the open composition of the video and the blots of paint capture brief, physical and vanished moments, recalling the small but living brush strokes used by Impressionist painters across the globe. As seen in the works of Pissarro, Monet, Sisley, and others, the Pissarro Missions have quick exchanges with light, as they capture the integrations of the living city within an evolving landscape.

The Pissarro1 Mission took place on Nov. 2nd, 2018.  Team Art Space USA successfully launched from Osage County Park south of Topeka, at 11:11 with winds coming in from the Southwest at 19 MPH.  At approximately 12:39, Pissarro1 landed in outside of Liberty, MO- 105 miles away. Throughout its journey, the documentation instrument created an oil painting, expressing the airspeed, altitude, horizon stability and vertical speed.

Pissarro 1 landed safely in the back yard of David and Robin, who reported that it’s discovery, mission and retrieval were both curios and exciting.  

Pissarro I: 60,000 ft.

The Pissarro I: recovered and in the studio.

Map of the Pissarro I Mission.

Scribe Ball from the Pissarro I Mission. 

AVAP: Pissarro II

After the video failed to capture the painting and landing of the AVAP Pissarro I, a plan was made to troubleshoot  camera operations. Configuration “B” was one third of the height of the Pissarro 1 payload with a redesigned baseboard that double in size to balance the weight of the vessel.  A GoPro BacPak was attached to double the battery length.  Once again, a GoPro Hero4 with a 64MB microSD card was used.

Launching on Dec. 21st, the Pissarro 2 took off once again from Osage County State Park, thirty minutes south of Topeka, Kansas.  Flight crew consisted of Mission Commander B. Wills, Field Sgt. I. Bird, and Science Officer S. Delgado.  It traveled for 140 miles, until landing in Schell City, Missouri.

In addition to capturing the landscape with photo and video, the project extended to collecting field samples at both the launching and landing sites by the research team.

Though the recording was thirty minutes longer, the video again was once again unable to capture the landing or painting process of the voyage. Immediate research has begun on how to lengthen the video documentation for Mission 3, set for May 12th.

Recovery Site