To the moon, Ariane: B.C. artist included in out-of-this-world collection

'Clover,' by Ariane Kamps, is headed to the moon with the Lunar Codex program. Courtesy: Ariane Kamps

Penticton artist Ariane Kamps always wanted to be an astronaut.

But life — and math, in particular — got in the way of that dream.

These days, however, she’s seeing a pretty stellar alternative plan bear some otherworldly rewards.

Two of her portraits, Clover and Vox Dei in Cyberia, are going to the surface of the moon as part of the Lunar Codex.

“This was a complete surprise to me,” Kamps said of her work being included in the capsule project.

Click to play video: 'Royal Astronomical Society of Canada weighs in on latest delay in the launch of Artemis 1.'
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada weighs in on latest delay in the launch of Artemis 1.

In preparation for a human-moon landing in years to come, NASA will send scientific instruments to the moon, over 2022 to 2025, via Commercial Lunar Payload Service partners, such as Astrobotic Technologies and Intuitive Machines. Their lunar landers will launch as payloads of commercial rocket platforms by the United Launch Alliance or SpaceX.

Story continues below advertisement

Along with NASA instruments, these missions will carry commercial payloads, including the time capsules that make up the Lunar Codex, which will feature 30,000 contemporary artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers from 137 countries. Among those works will be Kamps’s.


‘Vox Dei  inCyberia’ was originally sent to the Chicago gallery for the space contest, and can be seen at Tin Whistle Brewing in Penticton. Courtesy: Ariane Kamps

Kamps became involved when she responded to an open call for pre-Raphaelite works through a gallery in Philadelphia. For that, she submitted a watercolour portrait of her daughter and it was accepted.

Then she answered another open call for figurative works through a gallery in Chicago, reimagining masterworks, and again, one of her portraits was accepted, this time an oil painting on wood. Each piece is very different but they were conceived under the same conditions.

“The Lunar Codex was meant to catch artistic movement that happened during the pandemic,” Kamps said.

Story continues below advertisement

“People were at home, putting in the time to create beautiful things when a lot of people were depressed, and it gave hope to a lot of people.”

Art has always fuelled Kamps’s hope for the future.

Click to play video: 'NASA postpones 2nd attempt at moon rocket launch citing another fuel leak'
NASA postpones 2nd attempt at moon rocket launch citing another fuel leak

In the seven years since she put her mind to becoming a professional artist — a choice made after her fifth child was born — she’s found that her life’s work can extend far beyond the boundaries where she lives, having been shown in galleries across North America as well as Australia.

It’s also helped her demonstrate to her girls a lesson she learned growing up.

“I have four daughters, and I was always told, ‘You can follow your dreams and do what you want. Women are so fortunate in western society to do what they want,’” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

“I wanted to show them that and not just say it. I wanted to walk the walk. I am happy I have been able to do that and I’m hoping it encourages other little girls, just because you want to have a family doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams.:”

That way of thinking seems like an ideal fit for the project that’s been dubbed by some a message in a bottle to future generations.

The paintings, though not sizable in real life, will be even smaller when they go into space, transported through digital and analog technology.

According to the Lunar Codex website, analog capsules use NanoFiche technology, which can store 150,00 pages of material on a sheet the size of printer paper, while the digital capsules are more akin to a traditional memory card, the same kind that have been used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Click to play video: 'Large-scale mural in Grand Forks pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II'
Large-scale mural in Grand Forks pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

These capsules will be collections of art, primarily illustrative, and have been curated by Samuel Peralta, who is funding the project.

Story continues below advertisement

Kamps’s first piece was supposed to go up Tuesday with Artemis 1, but nature waylaid those plans.

The NASA moon rocket was grounded over concerns about a tropical storm headed to Florida that could become a major hurricane. Now its tentative new launch date is the beginning of October, or November.

It’s the third delay in the past month for the lunar-orbiting test flight featuring mannequins but no astronauts. It’s laying the foundation for a mission that would see astronauts head on a two-person moon landing in 2025.

Sponsored content