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Ludo38's avatar

Martian Oasis

Another artwork I've made with inspiration from Kim Stanley Robison's Mars trilogy.

The original photo, which is public domain, is of a small village in the mountains of southern Afghanistan.

What we see here is a pressurized tent sheltering an oasis where the future of Mars agriculture is being tested and developed. Some tiny super resilient plants are already able to grow on the surrounding hills, but the atmosphere inside the tent allows a vast variety of farming inspired by the experience of thousands of years on Earth. The tent shelters very few buildings in order to leave as much space as possible to the cultures. That said, the area hides a vast inhabited underground complex. The exterior buildings are just the visible part of this scientific base.

As always, I made this with open-source program GIMP on Linux-Ubuntu.

More to be seen on my Da Vinci Mars Design blog :…
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William-Black's avatar
This really captures the feel of Kim Stanley's work, it's very impressive how your art breaths life into these scenes.
Ludo38's avatar
Thank you very much. I have tried to give a feeling of ecology, in contrast with the more industrialized way of settling Mars.
lazykaren's avatar
Amazing work, very realistic and detailed. I love it) 
I think I should read the Trilogy.
Ludo38's avatar
Thank you. Yes, this trilogy is a fabulous read. Many moments are hard to forget, very powerful and inspiring. I haven't yet put in picture all that I want. There's so much !
Snazz84's avatar
I'm really struck by how much the tent structure resembles a bubble. It's very true to the kind of technology described in the books, and how I pictured it, where nano fibres and other advances, along with the low gravity mean that many structures would look quite flimsy and fragile by Earth standards.
Ludo38's avatar
Thank you very much for your comment dude !!
You know what, I almost wanted to add a polygonal grid texture layered on the tent, but I thought that the tent would look way more futuristic and advanced if I kept this bubble aspect !
We currently are able to draw grid-like tents over space on Earth, such as stadium, greenhouses, etc, but in the future, like 10 or 20 years, we will deal in a way more organic form with the cover of large space. And that is this type of super-natural sheltering material I tried to express here.
nitroglycerine7's avatar
The color and reflection on the pressurized tents remind me of bubbles. A first glance at this artwork gives a huge contrast between the inclement environment and the little, weak and precious traces of life.

With this said I think one can easily guess the momentum of the struggles of life is expressed visually, one may not know there is a vast inhabited underground complex. I would be expecting huge gates opening from the ground to be the exterior visible parts of an underground complex, like the retractable buildings in Tokyo-3 in EVA? Or the huge gates on the Alien Mother Ship of Independence Day?

I like the photo-realistic look of the pressurized tents and its color!
Ludo38's avatar
Thank you for your comment.
Yes, there could be some more structures appearing outside, such as gates. But I admit I wanted to keep this picture very simple and not too hi-tech, but rather natural and "low-tech", keeping the spirit of the Afghanistan picture I started with. There is so much massive SF art everywhere with heavy buildings etc that I take a lot of pleasure in imagining softer sorts of future sets.
nitroglycerine7's avatar
I appreciate your adventure in creating a softer future world. I realize I should have read the Trilogy before commenting... !
I would like to hear your elaboration on "poetry" mentioned in your reply to the first comment -- I think poetry comes from the color (blue reminds me of water), and having things we're familiar with (the buildings on a small town on Earth). Can you tell me more?
And to be more specific about how I liked the color of the tents: I stumbled on the same combination of color when attempting to draw bee wings in an earlier deviation, so the colors look familiar to me (like meeting an old friend).
Ludo38's avatar
Your will surely love the trilogy, sure.
Poetry is everywhere, not just in colors. That said, sure, using colors in a dark and grey world is an act of poetry.

The colors of the tent come from the simple idea that I imagine this tent made of a material that imitate the sky (like a curved screen, but transparent), the blue sky of Earth, to offer a psychological sustainable set for the settlers. And I thought that would be cool to have this blue also visible from outside, and it makes the settlement looking less boring, much more artistic and appealing.
So, the settlement on Mars somehow becomes a big piece of art. And by the way, I think we should do the same on Earth, as much as we can.
jizzyjiz's avatar
wow nice, i love it :)
The-Spoonrider's avatar
I can't give you a critique, but I personally think this is awesome. It makes me think of Mars colonization in a way I've never thought before. Well done sir.
Ludo38's avatar
Thank you very much for the words. I much appreciate this.
Yes, I try to give a different sense of Mars, I try to bring some poetry into the concepts of futuristic settlements on Mars.
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