This UD grad's art business has taken off thanks to a click from Elon Musk - Delaware


Feb. 26, 2018 10:03 am

This UD grad’s art business has taken off thanks to a click from Elon Musk

The SpaceX founder liked an Instagram post of Peter DeLuce's Mars-themed art. Now he's flooded with orders.
Peter DeLuce’s “Red Car and the Red Planet,” liked by Elon Musk.

Peter DeLuce's "Red Car and the Red Planet," liked by Elon Musk.


University of Delaware grad Peter DeLuce, BFA ’17, got an unexpected flood of orders — and a crash course in copyright law — after Elon Musk liked an image of his artwork depicting Starman, (dummy pilot of the Tesla Roadster who’s currently onboard the SpaceX Falcon rocket that launched Feb. 6).

In DeLuce’s imaging, Starman is just chillin’ on Mars with toasty cup of java.

The digital illustration was originally posted on Instagram by DeLuce on Feb. 15. Without his knowledge, the artwork was reposted on other SpaceX fan pages, eventually finding its way to the SpaceXpage Instagram, which posted it, with credit, for its 300,000+ followers.

SpaceXpage is one of just 35 accounts that Musk follows on Instagram.

“On the mobile app you can see the ‘top like’ for a post and once I saw Elon Musk’s official account had liked my work I almost went into heart failure,” DeLuce said.

Moments later, the image began appearing on the front pages of Reddit and Imgur.

“Quickly I was overwhelmed, as a swarm of requests for prints, posters and T-shirts started coming in via my email inbox,” said DeLuce, who lives in Hershey, Pa. “I’ve also received several business inquiries into purchasing the rights to my art, one of which has come from a popular coffee company.”

The first thing he did was contact his former professors at UD’s Art and Design Department for advice. Professors Robyn Phillips and Amy Hicks are helping the recent grad as he maneuvers copyright and contracts.

The experience has been a boon for his art business, but DeLuce says the biggest impact has been bigger than sales. One message in particular, from the widow of a longtime NASA employee who had dreamed of going to Mars, was particularly moving.

You can purchase the print, titled “Red Car on the Red Planet,” as well as other original artworks, at DeLuce’s Etsy shop.


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