Frank O. Hettick

1937 - 2011


Frank O. Hettick Jr. was born in 1937 in Tillamook, Oregon. Like so many other space artists of his generation, his interest in space and astronomical art began at 13 when he received a copy of "The Conquest Of Space" by Willy Ley and Chesley Bonestell. Those Fantastic illustrations encoraged Frank to begin drawing his own space scenes.

Soon thereafter, he enrolled in the high school art classes and began painting, first in tempera then in oils. Being the second-tallest boy in high school forced him onto the basketball team, but he soon gave that up to spend more time on his part-time jobs and working on his space art until one or two in the morning after which he would sleep for a few hours before arising to start the whole schedule over again.

By graduation in 1955 he had completed several dozen oil paintings. His first commercial encouragement came when he mailed two simulated "Weird Science" covers to the publisher in New York. A couple of weeks later he opened a letter from the editor, Al Feldstein, who congratulated him and stated how pleased they were with his efforts.

Despite those kinds of encouragements, Frank recognized the necessity of earning a "real" living and soon became the youngest real estate appraiser in the state of Oregon. After spending almost a dozen years with the State Department of Revenue in five different Oregon counties as a commercial-industrial appraiser he moved to a career in the private sector.

In 1963 Frank met a young lady at a chruch service in Astoria, Oregon by the name of Shirley Garcia who turned out to be the love of his life. They were married in 1963 and began to raise a family of three girls and several stray cats. By then, Frank's efforts in commericial real estate development resulted in several large shopping center and retail projects and in 1971 he accepted a position with a Chicago publisher, wrote a book then traveled through North and Central America conducting seminars and lectures.

In 1976 he and his wife Shirley began a part-time company to design and manufacture instruments for antique show cars, street rods, movie cars and classic boats. The small company began simply; to solve the problem of finding dashboard gauges for Frank and some of his car friends for the hobby cars they were building. Just one year later they moved to full-time and within a few years the company had grown to become the leader in specialty automotive instrumentation worldwide. Frank even employed his three daughters teaching them valuable life lessons which they would soon need.

In 2001, Frank and Shirley sold their instrument company and considered retirement in beautiful Central Oregon, but soon after their former company had been sold, they began to wonder what they could do with their 4,000 square-foot, like-new, carpeted and air-conditioned building.

It seemed the perfect solution to get their collectibles out of storage and put them on display in a gallery - this has now become known as Sky High Gallery and a prime source of Frank's space art works. When Frank and Shirley had discussed retirement years before, Frank had said that he wanted to restart his long-delayed art efforts. Having only done a few catalog covers and some personal art pieces he now wanted to prove to himself that he could still paint.

And that he did....

Frank had several passions in life; church, photography, world travel, dogs, art, automotives and friends but none were as important as his family. Frank leaves behind Shirley, his beloved wife of 45 years; daughters Cindy, Cheryl and Debbie; an "adopted" daughter Christy; and three son-in-laws Brad, Jan and Michael. He also leaves behind nine grandchildren; Abby, Amy, Vincent, Daniel, Joshua, Benji, Marcus, Shelby and Riley. Frank will be sorely missed by all those who knew him, but we can have peace in our hearts knowing that he is in heaven with our Lord God Almighty, Master Artist of the Universe.


This piece is the first release in the artist's new series '"Mission To Titan"

Here are some of the artist's most recent art pieces now available as
Limited Edition Canvas Prints
Click on an image to see the enlarged Gallery view

Uranus Flyby
Galactic Encounter

Greetings From Earth


The Biggest Step


Distant Worlds

City Among The Stars


Click Here for our gallery of latest giclee prints on canvas


Contact Frank Hett
International Association of Astronomical Artists