Member Portfolio

Kara Szathmáry

Membership level: FELLOW

About the Artist

Kara Szathmary MSc FIAAA * Lord of the Swirlies * I have memories of the days when I suddenly saw beyond a visual moment and my mind teleported towards the mysterious realms of our universe. In my early childhood days, wandering around the streets of Welland, Ontario, with my two sisters, we were drawn by our love of reading to the local library where I would become “lost in the stacks” of books. When I was ten, I remember snatching a book from its self and becoming totally mesmerized by so many pictures of galaxies. I was already a self-expressing youngster who loved to draw, and my imagination provided endless energy for the making of my pictures. However, when I was a teenager, I was faced with one of life’s toughest lessons in the sudden death of my younger brother. Nothing in life was the same anymore, as I searched for answers, not in the pages of books, but alone at night under streetlights looking up at the canopy of stars. Now I was experiencing an avalanche of unanswered questions. An aching need to understand drew me to science and mathematics. At university, physics and astronomy immersed me in the finite as well as stimulated my creative passion for the infinite. My new home was in the university observatory where I spent hours night after night looking at the heavens with the wonder of a child who encounters things for the first time. I was very curious about experiencing astronomical measurements of light shining down from the heavens and what they meant. I was especially interested in what would happen to our Sun when it would ultimately die. This brought me to study the condensed matter, and how we could find new white dwarf stars. In the process, I managed to discover seven new white dwarf stars using a 48-inch Ritchie-Chrétien reflector at the Elginfield Observatory at the University of Western Ontario by taking large dispersion spectroscopy of 345 Å/mm of hundreds of classification stars and white dwarf suspects. This opportunity was during my graduate studies in early 1970-72, several years before the development of glass plate spectra in darkrooms were replaced by digital CCD light amplification recorders. Astrophysics and visual art continued to develop along parallel lines beyond my years at university. I was intrigued by the challenge of solving advanced mathematical problems by finding the most direct means of expressing solutions visually, thereby enjoying them over and over again. Since the beginning of our human presence on this planet, we have attempted to interpret the heavens; making sense of astronomical events; to document our terrestrial world, the Solar system, and now to venture out into an exploration of the cosmos. Artists have been at the forefront of space exploration since its beginnings, and Space Art is a visualization of what we could expect to see “out there” in a space environment. Space artists collectively seek to express ideas, in the media of their choice, to share the beauty and imagination of space exploration with the general public. Space art provides a universal telescope to today’s society. In my large acrylic painting (1978) titled “Curiosity: The Moment of Creation,” I note that scientists are like children, examining the details of what has come into their hands…and how they observe and analyze their world to formulate an understanding of the space-time events in which they are immersed. My artistic inspirations were derived from Vincent van Gogh and Canadian Tom Thompson of the Group of Seven. In 1983, I was invited to join the International Association of Astronomical Artists after receiving an invitation from Jon Lomberg, who was Carl Sagan’s principal artist as well as his artistic coordinator of a group of artists that created the images for “Cosmos,” and who founded the IAAA. Over the next three decades, I served this world-renowned organization as its first elected international President. ** The “Vigil: In Faith and Determination,” my original creation in watercolor, portrays the circle of life divided by six arcs derived through the art of Sacred Geometry that represent the six days of creation. Dolphins and whales glide through the dark blue background representing the deep space of the oceans that flow with changing tides dating from the beginning of time. The art media and the paper for printing were issued by the Russian Space Federation as part of the EuroMIR-95 First International Exhibition in Space. The artwork circled the Earth three thousand times aboard the Russian MIR space station.

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Artwork

View of the 2.1m telescope - NorthWest slope of Kitt Peak AZ, by Kara Szathmary

My-Brothers-of-the-Sky, by Kara Szathmary