WAPAKONETA — In early August, artist and writer RJ Ogren visited the Armstrong Air & Area Museum along with his household with one goal in thoughts, to lastly see his portray once more – after 53 years. Not solely was the portray within the museum’s assortment, nevertheless it was additionally on public show, hanging within the museum’s Trendy Gallery with different space-themed works from the interval.
Ogren painted the work, appropriately named “First on the Moon,” in 1969 after watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stroll on the lunar floor for the primary time.
“I knew, at that second, that I wished to create a singular portray to honor the Moon touchdown,” stated Ogren.
The work is certainly distinctive. It has an impressionist impressed really feel, with thick layers and heavy strokes, giving the portray a particular and intriguing swirling depth.
As soon as completed, the portray went on show at an artwork gallery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Ogren was later approached by the gallery director, stating that he had managed to arrange a gathering for Ogren to offer his work to the portray’s topic, Neil Armstrong. Stunned and honored, Ogren met with Armstrong at a resort in Miami Seaside in early 1970. Ogren introduced Armstrong with the work, had an informal dialog with the famed NASA astronaut, after which the 2 parted methods.
For the subsequent 5 many years, Ogren by no means knew what grew to become of the portray. It wasn’t till 2019 when Ogren obtained a message from Logan Rex, the Armstrong Air & Area Museum curator, asking for extra details about the work. It turned out that within the late Nineteen Seventies, Armstrong had donated the portray to the museum for protected maintaining. The portray got here with no title or earlier historical past, aside from being owned by Armstrong. After some thorough analysis by Rex, the museum discovered Ogren and requested in regards to the portray’s historical past and the way it ended up with Armstrong.
Ecstatic to listen to about its whereabouts, Ogren and his spouse Suzanne started planning a visit to see his portray. With scheduling interrupted by the pandemic, Ogren and his household have been lastly capable of go to in August.
“As I walked as much as my portray, I used to be overcome with emotion,” stated Ogren. “By no means, in my wildest creativeness, did I ever assume First on the Moon would find yourself on show at this extraordinary museum.”
As we speak, Ogren is extensively identified for his whimsical and playful works that includes beloved Disney characters. Ogren was one of many 4 authentic administration artists for Walt Disney World within the Nineteen Seventies, creating, portray and refurbishing audio-animatronic figures, props, units, and murals for the parks. He has additionally painted portraits and murals for purchasers together with Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton, and NASA Administrator Invoice Nelson.