R a l p h A e s c h l i m a n
People often ask me, "How do you say your last name?" My response is usually, "As seldom as possible." It's a Swiss name and is hard for American's to pronounce. Most of my relatives say, ASH-ul-mun. The Swiss say ESH-lee-mahn. I prefer the Swiss pronunciation but anything close works fine for me, AYE-shul-mun, EE-shlee-man, or whatever. It's been a bit of a stumbling block all my life, eventhough it often gets me to the head of the line. I do think it has a classy look to it.
I'm not Swiss, though, I'm a Mexican. I was born in Mexico, down south there in Long Beach California. A place stolen by the United States along with Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, at the end of a gun, in a trumped up war, because we wanted California. So if someone steals your house and keeps it for a long time whose house is it, really?
My biography really is nothing more or less than what we now call ADD run rampant. I don't think of it as a 'disorder' so much as a personality trait. I get interested in things and get pretty good at them. This web site so far is an exhibition of two major aspects of my life, cartography and art. I hope you enjoy these pages. Please read more.
Some random notes:
I was active in the Northwest art scene from 1965 until about 1984. I showed for years with Francine Seders (starting with Otto Seligman in 1965), I became one of the Skagit River artists based around Fishtown (LaConner). from 1974 to about 1990. I also showed at the Bayard Gallery in New York and with Hugh Trutton Gallery in San Francisco. About 1982 I became disenchanted with the gallery scene, rising commissions, agents that added their commissions etc. and left the art world almost entirely.
My interests in astronomy lead me to Flagstaff where I became an airbrush cartographer with the Astrogeology branch of the US Geological Survey. This job took all my aesthetic energy for many years, I published several maps, various quadrant maps of Mars and other solar system bodies for NASA. I generated many maps as project chief of the Venus mapping project during the time of the Magellan mission to Venus. This amounted to some 36 published maps. I left the USGS in 2001.
After leaving the USGS I did various things, studied Chinese in Taiwan, got certified as a massage therapist, and continued planetary cartography, free lance. I generated what is perhaps the best synoptic map base for Mars. My maps have been used by NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratories, the Hayden Planetarium, the Planetario de Madrid, and many magazines and publications around the world. Google is now rebuilding their Google Mars using my Mars base.
Since then I moved to Moscow, Idaho for various reasons. I was offered a job at the Astronomy/Physics department at WSU in Pullman coordinating Project Astro, a program funded by a NASA mission and by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. After two years the newly elected president George W. Bush gutted the NASA mission and I was set free. I rented a studio in downtown Moscow and began to paint again. For several years I was able to paint without thought of supporting myself or marketing. It was wonderful. I now have a large collection to share with the world.
Here I am, tootin' my own horn!
Stuck in the Mud