Art in Space: Painting Created in Zero Gravity Sells for a Small Fortune

By Boonsri Dickinson | November 18, 2008 2:48 pm

homage-to-francis-bacon-triptych-1-1-c-nasser-azam-2008.jpgBritish artist Nasser Azam had a unique desire: to create a piece of art in zero G (the feeling of weightlessness). Not only did his plan become a reality, but it was a profitable one: On Friday, November 14th, the painting sold for $332,500 at Phillips de Pury’s Contemporary Art Part II auction in New York.

To create his zero-gravity masterpiece, Azam and two other artists flew 23,000 feet into the air aboard an ILYUSHIN 76 MDK parabolic aircraft. Nicknamed the “vomit comet” ride, the parabolic flight made everyone lose their breakfast, except for Azam.

The so-called “Life in Space” project required training at the Russian cosmonaut facility Star City. But what Azam had to consider most was how losing gravity would affect his ability to paint. First, Azam drew disembodied figures inspired by Francis Bacon while he was still on the ground. Then while in space, Azam filled in the pre-drawn figures using acrylic paint. But he had to do any finishing touches with oil pastels. Otherwise, the paint would have floated in the air.

To watch Azam in action, click here.
Or to see the artwork, click here.

Image of Nasser Azam’s Homage to Francis Bacon: Triptych I courtesy of Comlan Getty

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Aliens Therefrom
MORE ABOUT: art, gravity, space
  • neil

    Note that parabolic aircraft aren’t actually spacecraft they just simulate space-like conditions using freefall. 23,000 feet is well with in the cruising altitude of a large commercial jet. No to rain on anyone’s parade….

  • iWalk

    I think it’s more like a kind of action art than art.

  • Cosmic Dancer

    Art in Space: On May 22, 1993, Arthur Woods’ Cosmic Dancer – an aluminum sculpture painted with acrylic paint – was launched to the Mir space station. This artwork, perhaps the first specifically designed for a human habitat in orbit, was an investigation of the properties of sculpture in weightlessness and an experiment determining the advantages of integrating art into the living and working environment of the cosmonaut crew. A video and photographic documentation was made by the cosmonauts of them “dancing” with the sculpture and they provided an informative commentary on having art included in their orbital habitat. The Cosmic Dancer project, which cost approximately 100,000 dollars to realize, was financed through the sale of an edition of 99 versions of the sculpture.

  • P Szos

    DO you think that Azam did this kind of painting because he actuall thought it was interesting or just because he thought it to be profitable?

  • PinkCouger

    It’s strange that, at least in this case, art has its value depending on how it’s made and not what the actual art depicts. When you think about it, two paintings can be exactly the same and one can be worth a lot more just because it was made differently. But yet, they’ll look the same hanging on one’s wall.

  • Jen

    Not only are Azam’s paintings really good, he created them in zero gravity! This proves to be one of just many different examples of how we as people are getting closer to our outer universe every day. I especially admired how he thought to finish his paintings in oil pastels, because the paint would float in the air! But, I’m curious: did the two other artists in zero gravity with Azam create any artwork as well? If so, what did they create?

  • Stephano

    It never said he was aiming to paint in space. He wanted to paint in zero G, which is fully possible on a parabolic aircraft, and I think its pretty good for a first time painting in such an enviornment. I’m also surprised that he didn’t puke all over the place when everyone else did. Good stomach.

  • Jessica

    This is a really cool idea. I didn’t think that by using different paints, it would make a difference whether or not the paint would actually stay on the paper. I also thought it was unusual that a painting would cost a lot just because it was painted at zero G.

  • Bekah

    It is so amazing how he was able to make these master pieces. I too admire him for what he did. I am still wondering what would inspire him to do such a thing, if it really would improve his art or not. I am an artist also, and I am always looking to try new things, work with different media and work in different settings. I don’t think I would ever take it so far and paint in Zero G, but who knows, maybe in a few years, that will be a new art form, ART ZERO. I would be very interested in seeing his other works of art, and perhaps if his later pieces after his experience in Zero G, inspired him to paint in a different kind of style.

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  • Brandon

    I don’t think a painting should go for that much money just because it was done in space. Honestly, it’s not that great. Besides, it says that he drew everything on the ground and just filled it in when he got up in zero gravity.

  • Abby

    A lot of people seem to think that it’s weird, and even unfair, that a painting could go for so much simply because it was done in zero G. I disagree, I think that just the novelty of it would make the purchase worth it (if you have $332,500 to spare, which most of us definitely don’t). However if you have the money, this is the type of cool purchase that you could brag to all of your friends about-not to mention it’s also a really nice painting.

  • KaitabasuraMardhanaya


  • Prahmajankaya

    my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it with

  • Anonymous

    sry i just know how to write my name in arabic :)) anyway however in arabic when i read some thing like that i just say “raee” i donot know how to say it in english . thanks

  • Earl

    Nice post! GA is also my biggest earning. However, it


    awesome post! glad i found your site, it was on accident though =/ check mine out if you want. im still really working on it but it should be great soon

  • Patrick Hope

    This guy simply copied an artist who created paintings in zero gravity back in 1998, Frank Pietronigro.

    It my belief that Mr. Azam is not an artist but a business person who knows how to create a gimmic to create money. Lucky for Pietronigro, Mr. Azam’s value achieved for work sets the work created by Pietronigro, ten years earlier, to be worth at least twice as much. I hope Mr. Pietrongro’s paintings go on auction too!

  • White Teeth

    Really cool blog you have. Let the Force be with you or like say my friend from Khazahstan “great success”!

  • sam

    Yeah this cool I like this post are you going to do a follow up? I just won a Mac Book Air today :) I am so happy about that found a freebee site

  • Art Culture

    For more about art in space / zero g, google Zero Gravity Arts Consortium

  • karmaloop rep code

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I’m going to watch out for information from here now. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • ArtProMotivate

    These days with nearly everything seemingly explored in regards to art, it’s interesting how some artists still come up with new and interesting creations! Makes you wonder why they didn’t send an artist to the moon…


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