New York’s Strangest Astronaut


My name is Nicholas Forker. I make drawings and
sculptures. I encounter so many people who
feel kind of listless and just misplaced or apathetic, and I
was trying to answer that question, why do my
contemporaries feel so out of sorts? So I started to turn towards
when men felt vital. The heroic roles, the classic
things like the deep sea diver, the cowboy, the
Arctic explorer. Well, then I drew a cosmonaut,
and it kind of all clicked into place. Here was this subject that
made perfect sense– the explorer, the hero role,
which turned out to be more of a metaphor for the trajectory
of the American male in the late 20th century. I think that it’s become
more of like a Don Quixote figure, though. Now, anyway. With the space program being
pushed into the private sector and NASA’s funding getting cut
dramatically, we’re seeing that dream kind of fizzle. And we’ve gone from– right, we’re going to do these
things because they’re hard, to like a mess, really. The idea to wear the suit was
seeing the use of the astronaut as my main figure. It was seeing that idea to
a logical conclusion. I was able to borrow a suit, and
it was an exact replica of Buzz Aldrin’s lunar landing
suit from ’69. And my very talented friend
Clint Spaulding came along to shoot some photos, a series of
photos of me in the suit. The original idea was to take
all of the photos, reference material, create realistic
drawings of them. But the performance aspect of,
like, embodying the astronaut, that idea of the self-portrait
as the subject, now I’m thinking that the photographs
might stand on their own. The reason why space is so
fascinating to me is because of its unknown quantity. It’s more about space, to
me, than the astronaut. Because the astronaut
is only a symbol. It’s a symbol of our attempt,
our kind of frail human attempt, to thrust ourselves
into something that we know nothing about. The feeling that I would
experience in space would be peace and quiet. It would be a refreshing
change of pace. That would quickly give
way to loneliness and madness, probably. When I walked around in this
suit, I felt that it was the embodiment of that left-hand
path, the life of the artist. It’s monastic. You spend most of
your time alone. When you do you open your mouth,
you find that either you don’t understand what people
are saying to you, or they don’t understand what
you’re saying to them. So many different people tried
to make the space suit, and it was Playtex that got the
contract for the space suit for the Apollo mission. It was because of their
knowledge of fabrics that they were able to weave together,
like, I don’t know– it was like 13 to 20 different types of
materials to make the space suit that they landed
on the moon with. It’s just a really fascinating
idea that you could come up with essentially what is like a
plastic bag and jump into it and go into space. It represents the fragility
of human life. This work is an example of
relating that human experience in the later half of the 20th
century in the United States. It’s like, I can only speak
from my experience. These are the experiences
I have. It says, take the most
triumphant hero and watch what happens after nobody cares
about them anymore. The dinosaur that is fine art
is quickly being replaced by this multimedia explosion. Like, just all your synapses
are filled with digital information constantly. Well, how do you make a
two-dimensional static image that is captivating? I thought on that long and hard,
and I think one of the ways to do it is to demonstrate
a skill, something that can’t be done on
the computer, with an app on your phone. Do it with materials that are
really difficult to work with, that people wouldn’t think
about combining. The ballpoint, the Mylar,
drawing on plastic. Take something that has to do
with the essence of your experience as a person, as a
human being, everything that you’ve done, everything that
you’ve seen, everything that you’ve thought of, everything
that you’ve been exposed to– and condense all of that
into one image. I chose the astronaut
because as a symbol, it’s very powerful. It speaks of a specific
point in time. It speaks of a specific
place in time. It talks about dreams. It talks about hopes. It talks about aspirations. It talks about realistic
implication of those things. It talks about successes
and failures. It talks about the human mind,
space as this infinitely large representation of something
that is infinitely small, contained in all of us. The artwork, for me, is about
highlighting that last stage in the adventurer, the person
who is the frontiersperson. I think that role,
or the landscape for that, has changed. I think that that has to do with
our own brain, our own consciousness, and the way
we affect our reality. So for me, this is more like
putting up a signpost and saying, like, this
is where it’s at. And I’m looking forward to
possible replacements.

100 thoughts on “New York’s Strangest Astronaut

  1. My god, all these comments suck, grow up people, its a guy making his art and dressing like astronauts, all these hipster comments are stupid and annoying to read, pull your head up from the sand and think in another way than internet jargon, seriously!!!!

  2. drawing and painting astronauts is very popular (like tigers), but I wouldn't give this guy the credit for starting the fad.

  3. damn… did that guy just told the same thing like 4 times again and again or am I to high? the first one was ok, by the end vice was telling me to f**k of the page

  4. all this guy is doing is trying to bring some attention to space exploration and half of you are giving him shit, because what you don't like his style? what the fuck is wrong with everybody? do you guys just scour the internet looking for people to hate on because you've got nothing of any interest or excitement in your own life?

  5. This guy isn't hipster, he's ACTUALLY unique and talented. The hating should be directed toward those actual hipsters who elevate themselves based on their idea of being unique instead of actually being anyone unique. This artist purposely delves into difficult artistic avenues and works at perfecting his craft instead of just short cutting through digital simplicity. That's something to be admired.

  6. I am one of the most open-minded people you will ever meet, but I think this guy walking around in a spacesuit and calling it art is both trying too hard, and not trying hard enough at the same time. ANYTHING can be art. You can take a shit on a canvas and call it art. Cuz it is. But that doesn't mean it's interesting or that anybody cares. Maybe I'm just missing something though.

  7. Wow, the only fucking hipsters around here are the idiots tossing the word "hipster" at this guy. At least he fucking draws his art and he's fucking good at it too.
    There's nothing pretentious or tryhard about this.

    Contrary to other artists I've seen this guy at least an idea behind his art, most contemporary art today is mostly a result of the artist just taking a piss and coming up with something by accident.

  8. I can see how he is saying its in their nature as a people to be competitive etc. butI dont think the astronaut as a symbol of the expectations of the American male is that powerful as an image to use.

  9. this dude isn't a hipster.. he's just an idiot. calling him a hipster gives him too much credit. it's disturbing that brainless trust fund wankers like this guy can sit around all day spewing out their uninspired lsd-fuelled rubbish and make a living out of it.

  10. The Frontierman, Cowboy & Deep Sea Diver were the cutting edge of male endeavor but that ended with the Astronaut since the Astronaut held such promise but was found to be a lie on a mass scale when Stanley Kubrick was secretly hired to fake the moon landing since it was impossible to live thru the radiation of space He tried to leave clues to his work on the biggest lie till 911 in he's films The Shining & 2001 the Illuminati even murdered him 666 days before 2001 in their blood cult fact!

  11. at the beginning of this vid, i was about to click off but i let it play. Glad i did. This was enjoyable and interesting.

  12. there's nothing about a guy wearing a replica astronaut suit in a urban environment that makes me want to ponder life more deeply or search for new ways to mold myself to become a better person who feels more positive and outgoing, and that's how i determine what art is to me.

  13. I'll venture a guess that among all the astronauts in NYC, he's not the strangest nerd hipster variety among them. Tied for third? Anyone?

  14. "were going to do these thing because there hard"

    Actually no you did those things because of war.

    Typical fucking america.

  15. i literally get frustrated about the fact that most people don't understand his point of view, it has nothing to do with his ego (that's what you are referring to when you say hipster).
    it has more to do with his artistic point of view

    art is a form of expression, it is the limitless form of ceativity
    how can people even get mad at eatch other for expressing themselves?

  16. This just reminds me of being in art school, it was always about who had the greatest BS artist statement rather than leaving interpretation to the viewer. There is no real insight here, just a gimmick from an "artist" who truly believes he is sharing some epiphany with the world. However, it is more about garnering attention for yourself so you can create an identifiable commodity to sell…Art should be inconsistent, ambiguous, and anonymous, in order to preserve integrity…

  17. What lie? I didn't even deny what you said, just pointed out the hypocrisy of someone from Switzerland (supposedly) talking shit about wars throughout the globe. You guys aren't going to do anything, whether it needs to happen or not. I don't agree with the war-like actions of anyone… but you have no room to speak.

  18. at least he's got an idea of what he's doing… i remember reading about some "artistic genius" smearing a banana on a table and selling it for copious amounts of money.

  19. Dragon with its tail in its mouth, destroyed the space cowboy. If they get past the quarentine past the moon, this planet will be deconstructed. (DNA and gene based quarentine, and likely more)

  20. You need to have his view of the astronaut to fully understand the relevance of pictures of him walking in the subway wearing this astronaut thing, but what can be interesting to everybody is the creation that comes out of it, like the drawings he does which if find quite beautiful and interesting, and if he needs to walk in new york in an astronaut things to produce this well that's even more awesome !

  21. I totally agree. Whenever I go to a contemporary art museum it is such a disappointment at times. But when you get a guy like this, who has thought about his art in a different way that the public likes, I feel so glad that a real artist is out there.

  22. This example is unique though. When have you ever heard of a guy dressing up as an astronaut and walking around New York City!?

  23. Again, it would be "unique" if I were to put lipstick on a horse and film myself pissing on it…but that doesn't make it good.

  24. Why do people dislike this? As an aspiring artist this kind of shit gets me down when I see it… This guy is an artist generating ideas. Not to be confused with the guy with the straw hat, hand rolled cigarettes, loafers, and sits at Starbucks and types on an old type writer.

    People throw words around so carelessly nowadays. Search "Rise of the idiots" and you will see true "hipsters" through Julian Barratts eyes.

  25. before he even said what he finds fascinating about space i said to myself "i bet it's the vastness of space or something" and then he said "it's sheer unknown quantity" or something. i think this guy is completely superficial in his approach and it's another poor attempt at expressionism with some pseudo-philosophical backdrop

  26. Okay, I apologize. Let me clarify for "DankInMyLungs420" here. I don't literally think I'm the most open-minded person you'll ever meet. Because I don't know you and I probably have and never will actually meet you. It's an expression. I consider my self an open-minded person. That better?

  27. And I'm gonna go out on a limb here, but gee, do you smoke weed? Y'know, I've smoked plenty of trees in my life, and I realize that the only people that feel the need to advertise to the whole world that they have the amazing ability to…smoke weed, are either little kids, who just discovered their rebellious side, or people who have nothing more interesting to express about themselves. 420! WHOOO!!! I TOTALLY got the munchies, bro! C'mon, man. Don't be a stereotype. Grow up.

  28. I was so surprised to see all the dislikes. Why!? this is awesome, and could be applied to more than just art. Like a career, or life. Something that people don't have much knowledge in.

  29. What you just said was so fucking stupid it blew my mind, considering you know nothing about my life experiences. Don't do that. Peace.

  30. people feel like shit because this culture resulting of this free market shit system is inhumane as fuck. not because we don't walk around in fucking spacesuits. what a fucking mongoloid.

  31. compared to a system that promotes technological abundance resulting to food distribution and housing for everyone for free. worldwide.

  32. That's an Apollo suit. Wouldn't you think he would 1: know what kind of suit he's wearing, and 2: wear the Apollo one so people can't see his face.

  33. He dresses like an astronaut to get attention. He talks like he's so "deep" to get laid. I'm certain that he's getting the attention, but not sure about the latter.

  34. well your adopted that's why your mother calls you a champion , you continue shitting on your canvas reconsiong it as art

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