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.
As of posting this blog, independent filmmaker Ethan Belden has raised nearly $1,000 through Kickstart toward his project of making a feature film adaptation of “Shadows of the Empire.” Belden and his team have 21 days to raise another $9,000 if the project hopes to get off the ground.
They plan to use majority practical effects, not too heavy on CGI – just as the original films had. The image to the right is not computer generated, but their example of what can be done with models and paintings in the background.
“Shadows” was the first Expanded Universe novel I read as a kid. To this day, it’s still one of the most, well-written stories in the Star Wars Universe and fits almost seamlessly in the Original Trilogy era. In the 1990s its success resulted in a smash hit video game for the Nintendo 64.
If you’re not familiar with the story, it takes place between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. One of the reasons I gravitated toward it, was the subplot of Luke, Leia and debut character Dash Rendar’s efforts to retrieving Han Solo after being encased in Carbonite.
The book fleshes out the troubles Boba Fett encountered, between rival bounty hunters and the rebels, in transporting his prisoner to Jabba’s Palace. The novel also introduced Black Sun and motivations that would influence much of what came after it in the Expanded Universe.
I recommend watching the video on the project’s Kickstarter page. This is no amateur project, these guys know what they’re doing and from what I’ve seen of development images – this film is beyond promising and worth the investment from fans. They tease the opening crawl, and prove what they can do with graphics in the video as well. The proposal is well thought out, and they tell you exactly how they plan to accomplish what they say they’re doing.
Also, all the money invested goes 100 percent toward technical and practical needs for the film – not toward actors or payroll. If you like what you see, then donate a few bucks and let’s see this project get off the ground.
Check out the Kickstarter page at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/392447955/star-wars-shadows-of-the-empire