William Shatner in Space


continued . . .

I can relate deeply to being on a journey, encountering many obstacles, trying to find home -- a sense of connection, familiarity and wellbeing. I had the opportunity to play Odysseus in a traveling children's theatre back in my New York City days. But in all my adventures and experiences in life, that feeling of belonging was never present. It was ripped from me when I was sexually assaulted at the age of fourteen by my sister's fiancé'. I glammed onto the Kirk character as a way to survive the absurdity of my existence, forever altered by that fateful weekend, held prisoner by that horrific monster, a monster not unlike many in the Star Trek universe. It has become part of my nature to relate to the lone traveler through life. How fortunate for me, after plenty of therapy and much soul searching, to find a Christ-centered family built around my grounded and beautiful wife, who doesn't understand why people would want to travel into space in the first place.

The painting is about Shatner's journey, from iconic TV hero to real life space traveler. It is about the insight he gained about space, which relates on a deep level to my story above. While traveling in Jeff Bezo's spaceship, he was struck by the blackness and foreboding of space juxtaposed against the beautiful blue earth, teaming with life and possibility. I set out to capture that. Half the painting is his younger self and half his older self, with the Earth and Sun as constants. It is the one time I depict space as blackness. I rarely use black paint to express form. Black creates a hole in the painting, an empty, meaningless hole.

One of my fondest childhood memories, between the ages of 6 and 9, is sitting on the sofa with my dad, eating popcorn, watching the first run of Star Trek, every Saturday evening. Fast forward forty years to the premier of Star Trek, with a brand-new cast, fully realized by J. J. Abrams. There I was at the Detroit science center, with my six-year-old son, experiencing Star Trek for the first time. It was overwhelmingly beautiful; the symmetry of it literally blew my mind. Star Trek deals a lot with time travel and in that moment, I experienced a non-linier sense of time. I saw myself as a child, a middle-aged man and old man, all as one thing. Indeed, I realized time itself has no meaning. On the level to come, the past, present and future will exist as one and we will live only in the what and not the when.

Imagine this on your wall . . .

More gallery paintings by Robert Maniscalco

Additional information

Type of Work

Original Painting by Robert Maniscalco, Giclee – archival inks, stretch on canvas, Artists Proof (AP) – archival inks and paper


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