It's an exciting time for Elon Musk's SpaceX. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has just announced that he will be the first private citizen to fly around the moon on SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) launch vehicle. And, he won't be flying alone. The entrepreneur and avid art collector plans to bring six to eight artists along for the ride.
In a project he's calling #dearmoon, Maezawa has expressed the desire to gather artists from different fields to join him on the landmark voyage. A fashion designer, painter, musician, photographer, and film director are just some of the creatives to whom Maezawa will offer this once in a lifetime trip.
“If Pablo Picasso had been able to see the moon up-close, what kind of paintings would he have drawn? If John Lennon could have seen the curvature of the Earth, what kind of songs would he have written?,” Maezawa writes. “If they had gone to space, how would the world have looked today? People are creative and have a great imagination. We all have the ability to dream dreams that have never been dreamt, to sing songs that have never been sung, to paint that which has never been seen before. I hope that this project will inspire the dreamer within each of us.”
— Yusaku Maezawa 前澤友作 (@yousuck2020) September 19, 2018
The one week trip will take place in 2023, as SpaceX's BFR is still under construction. It's estimated that it will take $5 billion to complete the BFR and that's where Maezawa comes in. As founder and chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozotown, he's worth an estimated $2.7 billion. His downpayment on the flight will help cover some of the cost and development of the BFR.
This isn't Maezawa's first substantial investment in the arts. In 2017, he purchased a Basquiat painting at Sotheby's for a record $110.5 million. At the time it was a record price for Basquiat, as well as a record for any American artist at auction. Now, in curating #dearmoon, he's fulfilling a childhood dream and hoping to inspire new contemporary art at the same time.
While there's no word on who will join him, Maezawa has one request of those he'll eventually invite. “If you should hear from me, please say yes and accept my invitation. Please don’t say no.”