leland long
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updated 16/08/2001

Leland Long - Space-Artist

By Leland Long

Leland has been doing artwork and has been an amateur astronomer since grade school.  Chesley Bonestell was always a major influence on what he wanted to do in art: he used money from his newspaper route to buy a book Chesley  illustrated titled “The Exploration of Mars” in the late 1950s.  His mother and stepfather were both professional cartoonists who worked on comic books and animated cartoons.  They encouraged his art training through high school, where he made his first sale of a painting in a high school art show; it was a Moonscape.
During college his majors were, in sequence: Art, Physics, Engineering, and finally, Mathematics.  In 1993 he received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics at California State University-Northridge.  To Leland, two major goals of astronomical art are truth and beauty.  He likes to immerse himself in the research part of a design, come up with preliminary drawings (sometimes with the aid of computers), and consult with the customer to produce the painting they need.  Some past commissions include a set of murals of the Grand Tour of the Solar System (the mission supplanted by the Voyagers), a 35 foot high planetscape with a close binary sun on a bookstore in Santa Monica and gray scale paintings of the Earth to illustrate an article on continental drift in Vertex Magazine. He got into graphic art and sign painting in the 1970s.
In the 1980s he learned how to use computer controlled graphics production systems.  This background in commercial art and sign painting, along with the computer graphics experience, led to a teaching career which has grown over the last decade.  Currently, he is the vocational instructor for a course titled Design Technician, Computer-aided for adult inmates of the Los Angeles County Jail system.  The class is taught at North County Correctional Facility, where his students through on-the-job training produce architectural and vehicle graphics for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Leland also teaches a High School, G.E.D. and Adult Basic Education class there one night a week.
On the I.A.A.A.: “Joining the International Association of Astronomical Artists has proved to be one of the best experiences of my artistic life. The forum has proven a treasure-trove of valuable advice and information from others who have  interests in art and astronomy. “
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