These Giant Paintings of Our Dazzling Galaxy Actually Glow in the Dark

Space Art by Cathrin Machin

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 Cathrin 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.”

Scroll down to check out some of Machin’s otherworldly space art, and find more from her portfolio on her website and Instagram.

Inspired by our vast universe, Australian artist Cathrin Machin paints glow-in-the-dark space art that look just like photos taken from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Space Art by Cathrin MachinSpace Art by Cathrin Machin

Each piece of space-inspired art can take several months to complete.

Space Art by Cathrin MachinSpace Art by Cathrin MachinSpace Art by Cathrin MachinSpace Art by Cathrin MachinSpace Art by Cathrin MachinSpace Art by Cathrin MachinSpace Art by Cathrin MachinSpace Art by Cathrin Machin

Cathrin Machin: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Cathrin Machin.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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