About Frank

First American Artist To Create “Drift Painting” in Zero Gravity aboard NASA’s KC135 Turbojet.

Frank Pietronigro 'Drift Painting' in Zero Gravity, April 4, 1998

Frank Pietronigro ‘Drift Painting’ in Zero Gravity, April 4, 1998, Original Photography and Video Content Courtesy of NASA


Flagging In Zero Gravity, Frank Pietronigro, Artronaut, April 4 1998

Flagging In Zero Gravity, Frank Pietronigro, Artronaut, April 4 1998, Original Video Content Courtesy of NASA


Frank Pietronigro Biography


Photo of Frank Pietronigro

Photo by Joe Szymanski

I love to paint and drawing, activities in which I have engaged my whole life.  These media serve as the basis for all other creative action and media with which I work.

Recently, I have enjoyed the process of using digital photography to capture light in the real world and then translate them into large scale oil paintings on canvas.  This new series, The Light Beings Series, celebrates my love for color, glowing light, biomorphic form, levitation and a sense of the mystical.  Mark Rothko comes to mind when considering scale.  These colorful works are created as oil and acrylic paintings on canvas, as pigment prints on paper and canvas.

A the same time I have had the privilege of painting in zero gravity, drift painting as I coined the term, and such work has been appreciated by audiences world-wide such as this 2002 exhibition @rts Outsiders Festival at the Museum of European Photography, in Paris, France and curated by Jean Luc Soret.

As an educator in painting, drawing, and new media I weave interdisciplinary, interactive, multicultural and intergenerational aspects into collaborative art-making processes and collaborations tempered with my queer cultural sensibilities.  Created in the spirit of pluralism, I express my creativity using many various media and styles.  I hope to celebrate working for fifty years as an artist in 2018.

Works rebound between paintings, drawings, works on paper, video and audio works, performance works, installations, and other forms of digital media.   I enjoy the tangible and the illusive, matter and energy, and transparency and opacity and use them to amplify my work’s support of heterogeneity.   In the spirit of Joseph Beuys, I use art practices at the nexus of art and space exploration as  prime territory where institutional structures might be sculpted in order to enhance the quality of life for space travelers while also advocating for greater dialogue between artists, space scientists and engineers.  The goal is to expand artistic and diverse cultural access to space flight technologies and create greater economic equity for practitioners of both the arts and the sciences.  In support of this, I am Co-Founder of the Zero Gravity Arts Consortium.

Inside Bay Area

PBS KQED SPARK Artist As Inventor

Free Enterprise: The Art of Citizen Space Exploration

Drift Painting in Zero Gravity by Frank Pietronigro 2004

Arts In Space Exploration by Frank Pietronigro, National Space Society AdAstra Magazine 2011

Queer in Zero G: An interview with Frank Pietronigro by Kat Deerfield, Spring 2014

Expanding The Heart: A 21st Century Artronaut Contemplates Space Flight 2013