Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

Rachelle Reichert’s Atmospheric Art


Over the past three months Rachelle Reichert, Planet’s Artist in Residence, has been carefully crafting delicate graphite drawings in Planet’s San Francisco office, taking inspiration from the satellite imagery flowing into our platform.

Let Rachelle, in her own words, walk you what she’s been working on at Planet:


Here at Planet I focused on drawing from specific satellite images to explore the distance between personal understanding of humanity’s impact on the planet and the representation of this impact in satellite imagery. This work weaves Planet’s scientific innovation with the venerable technology of drawing. Although I usually work with more abstract imagery, I chose to work in photo-realistic drawing in hopes that it would allow people to see satellite imagery in a new light.

Many people asked me why the drawing looked more 3D than the satellite images themselves. Good question. Drawing presents different visual information than photographs and remains a fundamental way of translating and analyzing the world. It never fails to amazing me that many, many tiny scratches of a pencil could create whole worlds.
On the ground, in the air.

On the ground, in the air. 2016, graphite on paper, 40 x 50 inches
In the largest piece I made, rectangular and spherical shapes filled with graphite drawing bisect and overlap at odd angles, visually mimicking the way Planet’s satellite imagery is collaged. I drew from satellite images taken of the land during the time I was camping on Mt. Hood for the Signal Fire residency. My drawing aims to expose the deforestation threatening that wilderness and how the manipulation of the satellite imagery may mask this fragmentation.

Smoke Wave Series (4 drawings)
A series of small graphite drawings depict the Fort McMurray fires at the Tar Sands in Canada. These fires and the fossil fuel extraction surrounding them sparked a national debate in Canada on climate change. The resulting works are subtly abstracted aerial landscapes playing with the dichotomies of light and dark and geometric and organic form. Bulbous clouds drift toward the viewer and large triangular planes of solid graphite slash through the compositions.
Clockwise from top left: Smoke Wave I. 2016, graphite on paper, 15 x 11 inches. Smoke Wave II. 2016, graphite on paper, 15 x 11 inches. Smoke Wave IV. 2016, graphite on paper, 15 x 11 inches. Smoke Wave III. 2016, graphite on paper, 15 x 11 inches.

Satellite side panel art (6 drawings)
To coincide with Planet’s mission helping the Planet, I was inspired by this Emerson quote: Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.


While at Planet I could not help but notice the love/hate relationship with clouds which I relate to the ceaseless conflict of man vs. nature. I designed these satellite side panels, which will be laser etched into metal, affixed to a Dove and launched into space. Here, I am putting my drawings of Planet’s cloudy images back onto the satellites—perhaps if the clouds are on the satellite they won’t show up on the images!


Rachelle will be exhibiting her work to the public. If you’re in San Francisco, come see this art up close! Rachelle’s art will on exhibit at:

91 Walter Street
San Francisco, CA

Opening: Saturday, September 17th, 4 – 7 PM.
On view September 17th, 2016 through November 6th, 2016

Apply to be a Planet Artist in Residence.