Words by Elizabeth Cuomo

With the help of Elon Musk, Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, is taking artists to the moon. On Monday, from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, Maezawa announced that he has purchased not one seat, but the entire cabin of the SpaceX’s first commercial rocket to the moon.

Why? Because he can, of course.

But also because, world peace, of course. As Maezawa explained, “I thought about how I could give back to the world and how this can contribute to world peace.” Maezawa amassed his multi-billion dollar fortune as the founder of Zozotown, Japan’s leading online fashion retailer, as well as with his side-hustle as a world-renowned art collector.

 

While in California, Maezawa revealed his plans for Project Dear Moon, “In 2023, as the host, I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission”.

Maezawa and his artists will blast off on Elon Musk’s state-of-the-art ‘BFR’ rocket and become the first private passengers to witness Earthrise from the moon. The team will then descend back to Earth with their newfound inspiration to create mind-bending, consciousness-altering art that will change the world as we know it. Or so I assume?

Project Dear Moon will culminate in an exhibition sometime after the journey, “These artists will be asked to create something after they return to earth and these masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us” says Maezawa.

Maezawa hasn’t announced any of the lucky artists yet, although he did reference Jean-Michel Basquiat as inspiration for the project, explaining that “One day, when was staring at his painting I thought, ‘What if Basquiat had gone to space…What wonderful masterpiece would he have created?’”.

Project Dear Moon is undeniably cool. Maezawa is like the modern day, Japanese Willy Wonka, with a dream of saving the world through the power of imagination. Although, I can’t help but wonder how spending an astronomical amount (heh) on a rocket is a better contribution to world peace than say, simply donating the money elsewhere?

If there is anything I’ve learned about Elon Musk as I’ve observed his public exploits, it’s that he loves attention, and Project Dear Moon is getting a lot of attention. In just one day, @dearmoonproject has gained over 17k followers on Twitter and has created a buzz across the internet. I want to believe that Project Dear Moon is as cool as it sounds. But I can’t help but smell a marketing stunt.

I’m putting my money on Pulitzer-prize winning American artist, Kendrick Lamar, as the first rapper in space. Who do you think Maezawa will choose?