Alex Pardee’s The Astronaut

Today I want to discuss the man who was once Douglas Farmer, a creation of Alex Pardee that is better known as The Astronaut (2016). This character was first introduced to the public in 2014, released as a print from ZeroFriends. Then, the following week, the painting that the print was derived from was exhibited as part of Art Truancy: Celebrating 20 Years of Juxtapoz Magazine at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York. But this designer toy work is actually based on a full body rendition that Pardee posted online alongside a short tale.
Detailing the backstory within the work’s narrative, this tale — “From the Diary of Christina Farmer” — is told through a series of journal entries. Through the story, Christina Farmer slowly reveals how her husband, Douglas, returned from exploring space “different.” Douglas’s skin gained a yellow discoloration and began sagging, his ears eventually giving way to growths with five fingers. Yes, some alien parasite had overtaken Christina’s husband. At the tale’s conclusion, the ultimate fate of Douglas isn’t decisively specified. We had to wait until this year’s Conjoined 666 exhibition for that finale, presented by Pardee in the form of the painting The Astronaut is Dead (2016).

My Impressions of The Astronaut

But it’s not all bad. I mean, it did result in this fantastic sculpture produced by ToyQube. Released in May of this year in a full-color edition, this more monochromatic version — called the Abominable Edition (2016) — debuted at New York Comic Con. And, personally, I prefer this version.

Though it foregoes the garish, cartoonish colors of Pardee’s original paintings, this more limited color scheme — which Pardee has referred to as the Ghost of The Astronaut — immediately makes me think of a black-and-white, 1950’s sci-fi film. And the simple spots of color, in the eyes of the creature and Douglas’s exposed skull, give a more horrific, frightening element to the whole.
Sculpted with a truly impressive amount of details, the wash of gray covering this work makes every fold and precisely executed aspect stand out. All the little embellishments on the spacesuit are really remarkable, with nothing left out — not even the treads on the bottom of his boots.
Alex Pardee's The Astronaut - Figure (Bottom)
Cast out of a hefty and durable mixture called polystone, made by adding actual powdered stone into resin, the only differently made aspect is the drool. A bit fragile feeling, this PVC element (not ABS plastic as I say in the video) is a show stopper on the original release version. For this Abominable Edition, which has it completely transparent instead of tinted with color, it does lose a bit of its impact.

Editions of The Astronaut [show]

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