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