Davis Meltzer: artist of vintage-future realms, fantastic and functional

A while ago, I had to seek permission to use the cover image from a 1971 science-fiction story collection (to illustrate an essay of mine on JG Ballard*). It was quite hard to track down the home address of the artist, Davis Meltzer, now 85 and long out of the public eye, but I did, and a few days ago I received his gracious go-ahead in a letter from Pennsylvania.meltz 11

In the process I found examples of his work online: wonderfully lurid and fantastical vintage sci-fi stuff, but also lots of the skilful, satisfying (at least to me) and somehow optimistic technical illustrations that he did for National Geographic back in the day – cutaway diagrams of undersea submersibles, volcanoes, bird flight patterns, weather systems, and rocket ships from the golden age of space exploration. All that good stuff.

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Thank you, Mr Meltzer, for the memory trip, and for an image that will greatly enrich my short piece, itself a nostalgic homage to an old love affair with Science Fiction.

Here’s a rare article about the artist: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/…/the-forgotten-space-artist-who…/

*Shortly to be published by UCT Press in the collection “Reading Culture in South Africa”, edited by Alexandra Dodd, Imraan Coovadia and Cóilín Parsons.

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