Art & Design © Nicole Santucci 2010 - 2019


tintypes in custom inlaid walnut cases
10" x 4" x 1" open


Pioneers is made in honor of a few contemporary American heroes of exploration, and in the interest of drawing parallels between two distinct yet closely related narratives. Portraits of the Mercury Seven, Neil Armstrong of the New Nine, and John Casani with Voyager 2 are represented as tintypes and displayed in custom made wooden display cases. The cases each feature inlaid artwork of the corresponding NASA mission patch on the interior, and one of three relevant selected passages from John Wesley Powell's The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons (1875) on the front exterior. The decisions made in regards to the design of the cases and the medium of the tintype pay homage to antique portraits of early American trappers, explorers, soldiers, mules, horses, and surveyors—all of whom were culturally revered in an uncannily similar light as astronauts and spacecrafts.

From the body of work Go West and Conquer All Above You, which addresses the romanticism surrounding exploration, landscapes void of civilization, and the human tendency to organize geography. It specifically considers the efforts of contemporary space programs and the likely sites for extra-terrestrial expansion in relation to the mindset and attitude of American pioneers and the westward expansion of the United States. The exhibition intends to encourage viewers to consider how romanticism of untouched landscapes can ultimately lead to the negation of the wildness that was initially attractive.

Made in collaboration with Lee Cody.