When we reflect on the vastness of the universe, our lives can seem totally insignificant. If you think about the scale of the galaxy, each star is but a mere little dot. And surrounding these hundreds of billions of tiny dots are believed to be countless planetary systems just like our own. And yet, our galaxy is just one of the billions of galaxies in the universe. Inspired by the epic cosmos, Australian artist Catherin Machin creates glow-in-the-dark space art paintings that look just like photos taken from a telescope.
Around 4.5 years ago, Machin quit her stressful desk job to pursue her artistic passion, and now she creates her paintings of the cosmic universe full time. From vibrant, swirling nebula to dazzling streaks of light, Machin’s mesmerizing paintings capture the breathtaking beauty of the night sky. “I've never been religious, but I find my spirituality in the stars,” Machin tells My Modern Met. “When you go out to a dark area and look up at the night sky, they shine so brightly they pierce your soul. It's hard to put into words how incredible it is.”
Due to ever-increasing light pollution from city lights, we can only see a tiny percentage of the stars in the sky. However, Machin hopes her art will help people reconnect to the galaxy. “The problem is that the stars are being stolen from us, night after night, as technology advances and population increases, light pollution smothers us in a veil that stops most people from seeing the stars,” Machin explains. “So deep-seated is this issue that people haven't realized that they should be visible to us all.” She adds, “Most of our children will grow up and die having never seen the stars and that is truly heartbreaking.”
The artist’s photorealistic paintings are often based on images from the Hubble Space Telescope, her own astrophotographs, and those of friends. She always starts with a black canvas, and then applies phosphorescent pigments in bold, gestural brushstrokes to achieve her vibrant, celestial scenes. Depending on how photorealistic she wants her painting to be, Machin can spend several months working on a single piece. “I never shy away from putting in thousands of hours into a single piece,” reveals the dedicated artist. “I feel it's the only way to do the universe justice sometimes.”