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Published on Sep 24, 2017
On April 4, 1998, I flew from the NASA Johnson Space Center, aboard a KC135 turbojet, to create ‘drift paintings’ as my body floated within the 3-D kinetic painting space facilitated by parabolic flight and microgravity. This project was completed as scientific research as I was studying fluid dynamics. As an artist, I painted by squeezing rainbow colored acrylic paints from pastry bags into the space surrounding my body. A 75-inch high by 48-inch wide by 52-inch deep plastic bag was tethered to the interior of the jet using bungie cords and Velcro. This ‘creativity chamber’ was to contain the floating paint while allowing for free-float body movement within the space. I filled 10", 14" and 18" pastry bags with acrylic gel medium, at the viscosity of toothpaste, and these tools were use to project the paint into the space surrounding my body.
OK, so it took me 20 years to finally post the video. What can I say, I have been busy. Please enjoy it was an amazing experience. Everyone asks, "What does it feel like.?"
Well, the outer edges of my body were gone and I felt as if I had expanded beyond my place in our here and now. It's too much for me to say here today; but, you can read my papers that I have written about the experience that are on the internet. Check my website. I will post them there on zgac.org.
Observation On A New Space Art Form
“Drift Painting’ is not relegated to a static two-dimensional surface like traditional paintings. What results are paintings with an infinite number of compositions happening simultaneously, each in accordance to all points of view from which the work is viewed then interpreted. This process fosters a revolutionary step in the tradition of painting as it to destroy linear perspective, the fixed point of view, a convention that has been used by painters since the Renaissance.
Research Project Number 33: Investigating the Creative Process in a Microgravity Environment was created as a part of the NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Program a program of the Texas Space Grant Consortium created in collaboration with the California Space Grant Consortium and the San Francisco Art Institute, the first fine arts educational institute affiliated with the National Space Grant program as a result of Pietronigro’s work. Millard Reschke of the NASA Johnson Space Center was instrumental in assisting our team to understand the scientific aspects of our projects. We are grateful to him for his support and guidance.
Research Document 34: Frank Pietronigro, Interdisciplinary Artist
This canvas is considered a 'research document' by the artists, which resulted from his body floating with acrylic paint in microgravity he experienced during parabolic flight. His intention was not to paint directly onto this canvas but to paint in mid-air and have this canvas captured the remnants of his 'drift paintings' as the paint fell out of the air with the return of gravity.
Original Video and Image Content Courtesy of NASA , April 4, 1998