So tell us why you choose such a dramatic name for a painting on a black hole?
Well, I am always interested in very destructive turning points in time. In this case a black hole that would destroy our world, our 7 planets, in fact our whole galaxy into a simple dark mass and x-rays.
How did you decide to paint a black hole?
Usually, you do political work or pure abstract style painting.
I started reading the news of the discovery of the biggest black hole ever found NGC – 1277. I couldn’t believe the simple math on the size of this mother. It has 17 million, I mean billion solar masses. As you may know the Earth, is only 1/1,000,000 of the mass of our sun or 1M Earths fit inside our own sun. So if you do the math 17B x 1M = 17E + 16, Excel cannot even write it out properly! But basically, 17 followed by 16 zeros number of Earths fit in this thing! This black hole has eaten literally 1000s of galaxies for lunch and is likely just getting started.
Incredible! So tell us why you have a perfect white circle surrounded by large knife strokes?
When I started, I wanted to capture the raw violence of this entity. This thing is eating galaxies every so often, so I thought smooth brush strokes just seemed too pretty and the metal blade captures the brutality of taken near perfect sphere planets and suns, break them into spiral dust before eating them forever. As far as circle is concerned, I wanted to preserve the math of the event horizon and the entity inside which would be this perfect sphere of collapsed galaxies.
But why paint the center white? Aren’t black holes black?
Yes, that is true. Initially I had painted the center black, but really didn’t like the result visually. Then I considered doing various circles inside from white to yellow to red to blue to violet to black. I thought it may be a bit beyond my skills, but also incongruent to the event horizon, which would appear to be a perfect sphere hiding the entity inside since not even light could escape. I tried white and realized as a painter that white represents the true meaning of nothingness, the moment you start a painting on a blank canvass. Symbolically, white made more sense than black as a return to nothingness of the mass inside. Additionally, as I read up on black holes, I found out they shoot out massive x-rays from the center as the gas rays around the center are actually on an accretion disk, basically flat, similar to the asteroid rings on Jupiter fall into a discus type path. So the white color also came to represent the last essence of all that pulled, sucked, stretched and destroyed in the black hole.
So is our Earth going to be sucked into this black hole NGC-1277 at some point?
Actually, that is a bit of a stretch of the truth. While possible and likely that our galaxy will be sucked into a black hole, the life on Earth will likely be first annihilated by our own sun as it enters its dying state. It is theorized that in 7.6 billion years, the sun will run out of hydrogen to fuel it and move to helium. At that point, it will swell to a red giant 250 times its current size. All the inner planets, including the Earth would be sucked into the sun. The only possible escape would be to try colonizing the outer planets Mars or further out.
Is this God’s will to eventually destroy our whole planet or the proof he doesn’t exist?
Well, I don’t think we will know about God’s existence or not. Personally, I think it is a creation of man’s mind to understand science before we know it all. It is a comfortable blanket to capture the unknown and stave off the fear of death until you are close to the end. Scientifically, black holes may help explain the cycle of death and birth of galaxies as some black holes eventually merge with each other and expel most of the external gas to form new galaxies. Perhaps we are merely the remnants of a former advanced civilization at the atomic level reorganized into a new galaxy. My only wish is to have known the truth of the origin of the universe before death. I am thankful though that we are so far off from the death of the sun to really entertain it in our mind. We can still focus on the expansion of human understanding and human culture without worrying about it yet as it is inhumanly far into the future.
What do you think about pop culture take on black holes like the Black Hole movie in the 1979 and Event Horizon movie in 1997? The funny thing on both films are the reverse years of the release 79 and 97, which may have been coincidence. The original Disney movie really captured the times understanding of the science up to the moment of the entering of the black hole and people are flying around on some wild acid trip and then end up on a new planet. I think that was to get around the gore of them being split and stretched into tiny atomic structures, which would have been terrible. The cast was phenomenal with the creepy robots, drone slaves and crazy captain. Event Horizon is great as a horror sci-fi flick, but doesn’t really look at the nature of black holes. They simply go through the black hole and come back somehow unscathed. Again, the movie hides from the grim reality of being crushed to death. The technical sets on the movie are surreal and great, but they duck the real science of the black hole. The 79 Disney version talked incessantly about this before plunging into it. Both films have the funny part of ignoring the part of being crushed to nothingness. I think this falls back to the superiority of man that he could escape the functioning rules of the entire universe — the rules don’t apply to really smart humans. Its a fun take on the hard science. I would really like to see a more serious take on the subject while retaining the entertainment value. I suppose you kind of have to ignore the science of being crushed to have a non-tragic ending to be able to sell tickets. Hollywood always loves some hopeful ending no matter how bleak.