Deep Space Art: About Jodie Tighe


PO Box 2692, Borrego Springs, CA, 92004
cell 919.270.7749; fax 760.767.5499
jodietighe @

Inquiries about astronomical or other paintings or commissions are welcome.
I also work in assemblage (bone and metal creatures), and make steampunk jewelry and jewelry boxes.


The spectacular night skies of the dark sky community where I live, Borrego Springs, CA, and a layperson's interest in astronomy combined to inspire these paintings of deep space objects. Two factors determine my choice of subject: the sheer beauty of the object, and whether I can imagine a certain numinosity or presence in that image.

As I paint, using astronomical photographs as references, I remember that a vast and infinitely complex universe surrounds our planet and its daily conflicts and concerns. I think about the star birth that occurs so far away, and about the life that may be evolving there, too, for all we know. Light from these galaxies and nebulae travels so long and so far to reach us that to look at them is a form of time travel—we see these objects not as they are now, but as they were when their light began its journey here. Our ability to use astronomical photography to record these images in such detail, and to make them available for so many people to see, strikes me as one of the major intellectual events of our time.

I marvel that I live in an era when so much beauty, mystery and thought-provoking perspective on the human condition are so readily accessible. Then why do I paint instead of getting the most sophisticated equipment I can afford and taking my own photographs?

Remember how long ago the light from these deep space objects began traveling to us? Human beings have been making marks with paint or other media for much, much longer than they've been taking photographs. Many of the paintings discovered on cave walls are of animals. Some marks have been found that may keep track of lunar cycles . . . our ancestors made astronomical observations. Sometimes these prehistoric artists pressed their handprints onto the walls:  I was here. I saw this. I used my own hands to paint it. Even though I'm fortunate enough to be working from photographs of deep space objects portrayed as our ancestors could not possibly have seen them, I have the same impulse to say:  I was here; I saw this; I painted it with my own hands.


* My work has been exhibited in group and solo shows and museums in NC, LA and CA. It’s been mentioned in Palomar Observatory’s blog, and one of my poems has appeared in Astronomy magazine.


* My work is included in private collections in Port Townsend, WA; central and western NC; Nashville, TN; and Borrego Springs, Beverly Hills, and Hayward, CA.


*Among them: I’d love to do an astronomy painting on a whole wall...


* B.A. with highest honors in Education, major French with a Spanish minor,
University of NC at Chapel Hill. Member, Phi Beta Kappa.
* French government scholarship to the Facult√© des Lettres √† l’Universit√© de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, Pau, France.
* M.A. in French with Spanish minor, University of NC at Chapel Hill. French and Spanish honor societies.
* M.A., Educational Technology / Instructional Design, San Diego State University.


* Classes at the Carrboro, NC, ArtsCenter with painters Jane Filer and Sarah Walker,
* Life drawing group, Julian, CA, ongoing.
* Classes at Borrego Art Institute, Borrego Springs, CA.
* Intuitive painting workshops, Creative Juices Arts, Oakland, CA.