November 24, 2010

Star Wars Art: Visions

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Star Wars Art: Visions
Author: Various artists, foreword by George Lucas, preface by Sean McLain of Acme Archives, introduction by Lucasfilm Executive Director J.W. Rinzler
Publisher: Abrams Books
Price: $40 (HC, 176 pages, 120 full-color illustrations)
Vintage: November 1, 2010

This gorgeous art book is perfect for any Star Wars fan’s coffee table or book shelf. It’s nerdy enough to define you as a fan, but classy enough not to embarrass friends and family who might not understand why you have a plastic light up “light stick” hanging over your mantle. It’s “Geek Chic.” George Lucas’s foreword discusses his many influences and the various artists he has been able to work with as a filmmaker. A preface by Sean McLain (Acme Archives) highlights the various types of people from all walks of life who are Star Wars fans. Then J.W. Rinzler of Lucasfilm takes over with an introduction, describing the book’s progress from conception to execution, and the enormous and talented collaboration involved. The wide variety of works in this book  use almost every medium imaginable – oil, acrylic, graphite, colored pencils, watercolor, computer graphics, pastels, collage, airbrush. Painted on linen, board, paper, canvas, wood, and masonite. Invoking Picasso, pop art, Renaissance art, Monet, Jim Henson, and other artists and styles. For example, there’s a gorgeous oil painting of Padmé (Padmé Resplendent with Naboo Mandala, page 82), painted on gold leaf and chestnut paneling, inspired by ancient Byzantine art, by Carl Samson. Some artists were even inspired by other films by George Lucas. There are interpretive pieces, literal pieces, and pieces that pull images straight from the films. The artists are from far and wide, and include world famous Japanese artist and Final Fantasy character designer Yoshitaka Amano, well known fantasy artist Boris Vellejo, beloved comic artist Alex Ross, and even Moebius. I wish I could share every one of these beautiful images with you, but you’ll have to buy the book and see them for yourself.

These amazing works of art draw from all aspects of the Star Wars universe and all six of the films (and even the Clone Wars animated series). They range from simple graphite sketches, like the one below, to colorful paintings done with pen, ink, and watercolor (like Moebius’s Untitled on page 63; pen, ink, and watercolor on paper).

Star Wars Montage by Gene Colan, in graphite, page 52.

From simple but amazing oil paintings (like A Good Find: Portrait of a Tusken Raider, by Tony Curanaj, in oil on canvas, which depicts a lone raider in the vast desert, standing over a pile of droid parts), to eerie and abstract (like The Exorcism of Darth Vader, by Rudy Gutierrez, in acrylic, page 33). Or this excellent portrait of our favorite pint-sized Jedi, Master Yoda.

Yoda, by Harley Brown, pastel on museum paper, page 131.

There are so many different pieces here, drawing from all sorts of artistic eras of the past and various styles. A mixture of the classics with the present can be found in Around Amidala (by Ana Juan, acrylic on canvas in three panels, page 55). There’s also a beautiful painting of a pregnant Padmé floating in the water (Padmé’s Dream/Slipping Away, by Serge Michaels and Michael Malm, oil on canvas, page 137), which brings to mind several paintings of Hamlet‘s tragic heroine Ophelia (like J.E. Millais’s Ophelia, or the Waterhouse Ophelia paintings), and also immediately brought to mind (in terms of its style) Monet’s wonderful water lilies series of paintings. Then there is this excellent collage that certainly stands out amid the many more traditional paintings.

LEIAPOP!, by Stephen Johnson, collage on canvas, page 39.

East meets west several times, with Japanese artists taking on Leia and Padmé (visual novel designer Aoi Nishimata and character designer Mikimoto, respectively), and a gorgeous painting of a nude Twi’lek lying on a beautiful kimono (Sleeping Aayla, by Evan Wilson, oil on canvas, page 112). And let’s not forget the humor. There are multiple paintings that draw on the funnier sides of Star Wars, like one of my favorite paintings of two lovable green Henson puppets sitting side by side (Easy Being Green, It’s Not, by Peter de Sève, mixed media, page 75),or this one of a young Jabba the Hutt.

Jabba the Hutt: High School Reunion, by C. F. Payne, mixed media on board, page 38.

There is something for everyone in this book – lovers of the original or new films (admittedly I felt rather guilty for liking some of the amazing Padmé pictures in this book, given my rather intense feelings toward the new films), ship and vehicle fans, Sith or Jedi fans, and even (like me) fans of those adorable little Ewoks (another of my favorite paintings is one of Han surrounded by a group of Ewoks, Fur Balls, by Krystii Melaine, oil on canvas on board, page 60-61). The book wraps up with brief bios on each artist, as well as personal comments from several of the artists discussing their work(s). Star Wars fans are sure to find something to love here, and every hardcore fan should have a copy of this book on their shelf.


A copy of this book was provided for review by the publisher.
Cover (jacket): Regrets, by Masey, acrylic, book page 81.
Images used with permission and provided by Abrams Books. Copyright © 2010 Lucasfilm Ltd. and TM.



  1. You are absolutely right Kris! This is a fantastic book for any SW fan or if you’re a fan of art. Two of my favorite pieces in here are “The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of” by Peter Ferk and “Easy Being Green, It’s Not” by Peter de Seve. I’m still taking look throughs after weeks of owning this great piece of SW history. Hopefully some really cool teacher will use this in their class room as a tool for his/her students. I’m also hoping that another Star Wars Art: Visions is on the horizon.

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  4. Jade

    Ooo, this sounds really cool. It’s kind of a big purchase for a non-collector fan though. It’s something I could see buying in cheaper softcover though and I really am not a Star Wars collector.

  5. Jade, honestly you would be doing yourself an injustice getting this thing at a smaller scale. It’s bad enough these aren’t the original portraits which in some cases are huge works on canvas but it’s actually worth it. I’m pretty sure you’d be able to find it online at a cheaper price as time passes so I’d just wait it out for a while.

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