"McCall's paintings, like great symphonies, are both thunderous and lyrical. When I look at a McCall painting or mural, it arrests my attention for an inordinate amount of time, perhaps because of the vastness of time and distance so powerfully portrayed. Here is a collection for all eons."
-- Hugh Downs
"Bob McCall is not only the foremost aerospace artist in the United States, but he is a true friend of those of us operating the space shuttle. His work captures the spirit of our endeavors."
- Robert L. Crippen, space shuttle pilot
"Robert McCall is the nearest thing we have to an artist-in-residence in outer space."
-- Isaac Asimov
"Robert McCall has chronicled, through his art, the dawning age of manned space flight. His work is renowned not only in this country, but in every corner of the world where men and women have shared the thrill of America's triumphs in space, for these are not the triumphs of Americans alone, but of all mankind."
-- Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., former director, Johnson Space Center
"As no other artist has done, McCall captures the essence of life in space, rather than just space itself. I like Bob's uplifting vision of the future, full of optimism as mankind presses out into the universe."
-- Michael Collins, Apollo 11
"the reigning space artist in the United States, perhaps the world."
-- Air and Space magazine
"Artists throughout history have been called on to make visual records of great events, and yet very few have been eyewitnesses of the events they portrayed; no artists accompanied Columbus or Marco Polo, none were present at the Crucifixion. NASA's space program has been an exception to this rule. Since the programmers could pinpoint to within a split second when a major event would take place, it was possible to give the artist a ringside seat on history in the making. The NASA space program also had the great good fortune to have precisely the right person available to make this unique documentation. Robert McCall was a flyer with the Army Air Force in World War II, and in the years later had made a specialty of illustrating air-space themes. He was in charge of the Air Force's Art program for a number of years, and his imagination and technically precise illustrations were known to millions through the pages of LIFE, TIME and scores of other illustrated periodicals.
When officials at NASA decided in 1962 that only the artist could add a new dimension to our understanding of the epoch-making events of man's first steps into the great beyond, Robert McCall was a logical choice to be one of the handful of original artists commissioned for this task. When the last Mercury one-man space craft was launched from Cape Kennedy in 1963, Robert McCall was up in the gantry making on-the-spot sketches of Gordon Cooper being bolted into his fragile nose cone. When the gantry was moved back from the rocket just prior to launching, McCall was still on top of the gantry - dashing off page after page of ink drawings. Today, these on-the-spot drawings form a priceless archive of one of the great moments in history. Again and again, McCall, often at his own expense and taking precious time from patrons clambering for his services, went to Cape Kennedy, or the aircraft carrier in the Pacific, or Mission Control in Houston, in order to cover at first hand every phase of the space program.
Today, McCall stands at the head of his profession. He combines the three elements necessary to achieve and remain in this position. First, he has a profound respect for the facts of space technology. Aeronautical engineers admire his work as much as art editors. He may be in outer space but his feet are on the ground, technically speaking. A surprising number of space projects have ended up looking very much as McCall predicted they would look many years in advance. Second, he has the quality and scope of imagination to travel in space, and carry us, the spectators, along with him in full confidence that we are in the hands of a competent guide. Many of his pictures portray events which man never could see or photograph and which, without his talents, would remain in the realm of words, mathematical formulae and taped electronic signals. Last and most important, he is a first rate artist with a perfectionist's respect for the craft of his profession."
Hereward Lester Cooke, Jr. Ph.D.
Curator of Painting
The National Gallery of Art
My name is David Tress and as of this past weekend I am an alumni of the Columbus College of Art and Design. Robert McCall was our inspiring graduation speaker this weekend and I just wanted to thank him for coming to address the class. I would particularly like to mention that after the ceremony my father was a little choked up to tell me of his admiration of Mr. McCall over the years. My father who is now 59 said how since he was in Jr. High he had always been a huge fan of Mr. McCall's work. He said that anytime he sees a science fiction illustration he always checks to see if it was by Mr. McCall, and that he has been his favorite artist.
However, it wasn't until this weekend that he found out that his favorite artist was an alumni of the very school that he had sent me to for the past four years. It's somewhat of a rarity for my father to express much interest or emotion over much.
Again, I would just like to thank Mr. McCall for his words to my class and more importantly, for being a lifelong inspiration for my father.
In July of 2001 I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with renowned space artist Robert T. McCall at the San Jose Tech Museum during the 2001: Destination Space Exhibit. This was exactly 33 years to the week after being visually stunned by viewing 2001: a space odyssey on an enormous curved Cinerama screen for the first of many times. Along with numerous set items from that film, including some of my original film posters, were over 70 paintings by McCall on display with brilliant colors, concepts and visions illustrating his unfettered sense of optimism and vast potential of the human spirit.
Many authors have mentioned that McCall resembles a high school football coach, and for one who played six years in junior high and high school, that comment is certainly quite accurate. Behind that Midwestern exterior is a sincere and truly honest gentleman who has created the finest images, both fact-based and fictional, of the use of science and technology to benefit all humanity.
The media is filled, however, with seemingly never-ending pointless stories of banal politicians, talentless actors, famous for one year pop stars, and other inconsequential societal sponges who contribute absolutely nothing positive to the world. Considering the amount of air time that these nominal individuals receive, one begins to sense that this type of news is what people actually clamor for in their daily lives.
But Robert T. McCall is part of that special group of people who have literally reached for the stars. For those of us who just know better and have an appreciation of true artistry in all its mediums, we know in our own lives that these individuals - talented artists, designers, writers, filmmakers and many others have contributed much more to society and humanity than even we can imagine.
Mark E. Blunck - Modern Collector