I’ve always seen action figures as more than just toys – I see them as pieces of art. Some artists have taken this view and expanded upon it, by creating amazing works of fine art, with vintage Star Wars figures as their muse.
One of the most recent artists to catch the eye of Internet reporters is Swedish-based painter Mats Gunnarsson. He is an oil painter, who has become keen on using the Kenner style action figures as the subjects of his paintings. Gunnarsson’s recent life-sized painting of Boba Fett is making its rounds on Star Wars sites earlier this week.
Even more impressive, is his portrait of all six bounty hunters from the Death Star’s bridge in Empire Strikes Back. Gunnarsson’s paintings captures the details of the sculpts, as well as uses light to present an almost life-like quality to the action figures.
San Fransico-based artist Rob Burden is another painter who uses vintage toys as the subject of huge portraits and murals. Earlier this year, he began a Kickstarter project. Burden set a goal to raise $24,000 to finance two Star Wars mural paintings – he exceeded that goal last month, the Kickstarter raised, to date, more than $34,000 – stretching his aim now to three giant murals.
Burden’s two oil paintings will be 10-foot x 14-foot – his largest projects tackled. The central character in one of the paintings will be vintage Boba Fett, who was chosen by contributors after a poll was taken. He previously created three 114-inch tall paintings of Threepio, Boba Fett and a Stormtrooper – funded from a $4,000 pledge.
Last week, the winners of the Dark Side Design Contest were announced, including several winning tee-shirt designs featuring Boba Fett. This contest was opened in February and was an open call for all tee-shirt designers – who ended up winning some awesome prizes.
The grand prize winner was Aaron Davis, with his Boba Fett shirt design entitled, “No Place to Hide,” featuring a close up image of Boba Fett’s helmet, reflecting the shapes of Han Solo in Carbonite and the Millennium Falcon.
The judge’s pick was “Dark Side Fighter” by Drew Wise – an old 8-bit video game approach to his design. The front of the shirt copies the classic “choose your fighter” interface, pitting Darth Vader vs. Boba Fett.
Another top selection was “The Dark Side Diner” by Gary Jensen. This tee-shirt design illustrates Boba Fett and Darth Vader sitting in a diner, a classic diner slogan is scrawled near the bottom of the image. This is probably my personal favorite of the entry winners.
You can view larger photos of these designs at www.welovefine.com, where you may also purchase the tee-shirts if they peak your interest.