Musk and Maezawa.

REACH FOR THE MOON: Yusaku Maezawa, the Japanese businessman who founded fashion e-commerce site Zozotown, has signed up to become the world’s first private astronaut and the first to ride Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket, it was revealed Monday evening.

At a press conference at the SpaceX headquarters in Los Angeles, Maezawa appeared with Musk to announce his #dearMoon project, which will see the entrepreneur take up to eight artists aboard a spaceship called the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR.

Maezawa has bought up every single ticket on the space voyage, tentatively set for 2023, for an undisclosed sum. The range of creatives he hopes to take is wide — spanning photographers, painters, musicians, fashion designers and more — with the goal of producing lunar-orbit-inspired work that would then be exhibited on earth.

In a letter posted to the #dearMoon project web site, Maezawa wrote:

“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?
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.”

Maezawa is able to afford this private lunar mission thanks to Zozotown, which is Japan’s largest online fashion retailer. In the last fiscal year, Zozotown’s sales exceeded $76 billion.

Last year, he also made global headlines when he spent $110 million on a Jean Michel Basquiat painting, the most paid for a piece by an American artist at auction. According to a Forbes estimate, Maezawa is Japan’s 18th richest person with a net worth of $2.7 billion.

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