Postcards from Space Features Intergalactic Travel, Animator Style

Hollywood studio animators showcase their ultimate out-of-this-world destinations in this quirky art show.

Where do you vacation if you already live in fantasyland?


Iam8Bit, a branding production company and art gallery in Los Angeles’ funky Silver Lake district, recently sought to find out. The company tasked animators from the Disney, Nickelodeon, Sony, and the Cartoon Network, as well as other artists, to envision “Wish you were here!”-style postcards of famous sci-fi intergalactic destinations from films, TV, video games, comics, and books–plus one from reality.

Think Futurama’s Poopiter, Star Wars’ Tatooine, and Space Jam‘s Moron Mountain to the quirkier Magrathea from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Teegeeack from Dianetics.

The collection makes up the show Postcards from Space, which runs through November 15, with prints of the mail-able postcards available on its site.

Artist Edison Yang created this giant map showcasing more than 120 fictional spaceships and locations in relation to one another, in space. The show presentation connected map images to their corresponding postcards.Photo: Susan Karlin

The idea sprang from several months of brainstorming between gallery owners Jon Gibson and Amanda White, and manager Anna Bihari, with input from some 40-plus participating artists.

“We gave a list of hundreds of places, spaceships, and characters to the artists and said, ‘Take whatever you want from this and tell us what you want to make a postcard for,'” says Gibson.

“We’re big into storytelling as an art show and marketing form,” he adds. “We eventually thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to have fictional places, but merge several pop culture arenas into one gigantic free-for-all umbrella theme of space and otherworldly things. Space is all about imagination, escaping Earth, and indulging your fantasies that allows us to explore the impossible.”

Iam8bit co-founders Jon Gibson and Amanda White (with gallery mascot August, a fixture at art openings)Photos: Susan Karlin

Despite their fictional settings, some of these destinations are highly personal to the artists. Matthew Moret, an 18-year-old aspiring artist (and son of Inside Edition correspondent Jim Moret) had weathered a long illness by drawing and playing video games. So he designed a postcard of the Citadel spaceship in the Mass Effect video game series.

Disney’s Nikkolas Smith clowns around in front of his postcard.Photo: Susan Karlin

A sci-fi fan who designs theme parks, “Space Jam‘s Moron Mountain was the location for me,” says Disney Imagineering’s Nikkolas Smith of his postcard. “It’s the most insanely perfect mashup of theme park and sci-fi planet. Also, Space Jam was an iconic staple of my childhood—an inspiration to any four-foot-something, skinny kid with hoop dreams.”

There’s one real-life destination, KIC 8462852, a star in the Cygnus constellation about 1,500 light years from Earth, whose fluctuating brightness prompted speculations of a giant alien orbiting megastructure.

“This is the one time in my life when procrastination worked out in my favor,” laughs Jason Adam, a graphic designer who created the iam8bit logo. “I was going to do an H.P. Lovecraft piece, and Jon called me the week before the deadline and said, ‘How far along are you?’ I actually hadn’t started. He said, ‘You know how these scientists have discovered this star, and they think there’s an anomaly, and there may be a structure around it? Why don’t you draw that?’ So I got to illustrate a Dyson sphere. How cool is that?”


About the author

Susan Karlin, based in Los Angeles, is a regular contributor to Fast Company, where she covers space science, autonomous vehicles, and the future of transportation. Karlin has reported for The New York Times, NPR, Scientific American, and Wired, among other outlets, from such locations as the Arctic and Antarctica, Israel and the West Bank, and Southeast Asia