A Detailed Guide About Astronaut Art

astronaut art

Some people might not think that astronaut art is all that interesting. But for those who have seen the paintings and drawings of astronauts in space, know this to be a falsehood.

What is astronaut art and how did it come about?

A person standing in front of a beach

A great question! Astronaut art is created by astronauts either in space on the International Space Station (ISS) or during training sessions on Earth before liftoff, often on location at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas where all of the equipment for space flight is tested and prepared. Astronauts are inspired to create their own artistic works because there is very little else to do while waiting for a spacecraft to arrive at the ISS over 250 miles above Earth’s surface. Although they have many duties while onboard including conducting scientific experiments, astronauts are usually not allowed to exercise excessively unless new scientific data can be collected from it so staying fit enough to carry out necessary tasks is very important.

What are some of the most famous astronaut artists?

A person standing in front of a building

Well, there have been 40 astronauts who have created their own artwork over the last 60 years, but the biggest names in the field probably include Edward Gibson and Don Petit. Not only did both men create a large number of paintings to celebrate their missions into space but they also published a book called “Paintings from Space” back in 1996 which has become quite popular among art collectors everywhere. Both Petit and Gibson’s works have been displayed in various museums including New York City’s American Museum of Natural History so if you want an idea of what to expect when it comes to quality then buying one of their pieces would be a good way to go.

How do you create astronaut art?

This is a question with a very simple answer because astronauts have only been allowed to take a small number of tools into space with them over the years that can be used to complete their artistic projects. Some of these things include a ballpoint pen, a colored pencil, and a paper pad but there are others as well including an electric pencil sharpener and even water colors so anything is possible! Don Petit’s works were created using charcoal on sticky-back plastic; Eddie Gibson decided to use thin sheets of balsa wood instead. There has never been any oil painting done by an astronaut, unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how much you like the smell of turpentine!) but one can always dream.

What are some of the different mediums that can be used for astronaut art?

There are many different types of materials that have been taken into space over the years including ink pens, oil paints, watercolors, and even crayons so it all depends on what an individual wants to use in order to complete their work. Don Petit was one of the first astronauts to paint pictures using regular fabric paints but he had a special mini-palette created before ever being launched into space which allowed him to mix his own colors as needed. Eddie Gibson decided not to take any paints with him because they would have required too much storage space but he did create scented paintings using spray cans filled with various fragrances that were then heated by a small fan to allow the smell to be released into space.


The history of astronaut art is a fascinating one, and the pieces that have been created as a result are truly unique. This guide has provided some background on the topic and showcased some of the best examples of astronaut art out there. What do you think about this type of artwork?

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter