Scott Listfield's pop culture paintings of an astronaut exploring a future Earth

Imagine the setting. An astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos, and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references. Along with the occasional dinosaur. This is what American artist Scott Listfield is known for. Painting this lone character exploring, what often looks like, an apocalyptic Earth.

"Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in 1968, well before I was born, so I have no firsthand knowledge of how it was received," says Scott. "I don’t know if people really believed we'd be living in space in 2001, if we'd have robot butlers and flying cars, geodesic lunar homes, and genetically reconstituted dinosaurs helping or eating us.

"But from Lost in Space to the Jetsons to Jurassic Park, it seems that popular culture has fostered this space-age perception of the future. Generations raised on these TV shows, movies, comic books, and novels are now grown and living in a future filled with minivans, Starbucks, iPads, and Hip Hop videos. In many ways, the year 2001 failed to live up to expectations.

"And yet the world today is peculiar in ways unimagined in 1957, when Sputnik was launched, or in 1968, when 2001 was released, or even in 1994, at the dawn of the internet. The present is, in fact, a very unusual place, and it's strongest in the ubiquity of things we take for granted. The astronaut in my paintings is simply here to explore the present."

Scott grew up in Boston, MA and studied art at Dartmouth College. After some time spent living abroad, Scott returned to America and, shortly before the real life, non-movie version of the year 2001, began painting astronauts and, sometimes, dinosaurs. See more of his work at astronautdinosaur.com.