Neil de Grasse Tyson
"Stairway to Heavens"
16'' x 25.5''
I'll admit, I got excited to create an NDGT poster for one of his US lecture tours. The image depicts Tyson as a massive library of human knowledge about astronomy, from the ancient observatories of India (Jantar Mantar) to the Maya; through the Western enlightenment thinkers like Galileo and Newton, to modern thinkers like Carl Sagan. From his mind ascends a spiral stairway (double helix) made of books, as people are climbing through his mind and into the sky, flying aloft into space. For me it represents how great teachers like Tyson are vehicles for the vast accumulation of human knowledge, connecting us both to our past, and to our future.
THE BEST PART...
I had the chance to present the poster to NDGT at the Starmus Festival in The Canary Islands. As is his reputation, he got really excited about it, signed the poster, and we took a photo together. That's all I was looking for. However, the next day I saw him again walking in a plaza, and I stepped up and asked him a provocative question. He then proceeded to deliver a 25 minute public lecture as a crowd of groupies formed around him. In the "show" I suddenly became his sidekick. It was epic. Suddenly, in the middle of it, he remembered I was the guy who made the poster, got really excited and then described the whole image to the crowd. NDGT was giving people a tour through my artwork. A young girl, maybe 15, said she actually had the poster hanging on her wall. He then took off, and a number of people in the crowd stayed to talk to me, and suddenly, I was somehow the celebrity. Then I realized that this was his way of demonstrating the theory of the Transfer of Energy.