Catch art from a galaxy far, far away

Kevin Taft READ TIME: 3 MIN.

Coming to a galaxy... well - art studio - near you, the exhibit "Art from a Galaxy Far Far Away" is all about the phenomenon of the "Star Wars" films and the many characters in the expanded universe of the "Star Wars" story.

Randy Martinez and partner Denise Vasquez will have a small variety of artwork on display at the Hold Up Art space in downtown LA through September 15, 2011.

Randy Martinez is a renowned illustrator who has worked for Lucasfilm and has been involved in "Star Wars" art for many, many years. Having worked on the Star Wars Insider magazine, Scholastic Books, Topps Trading Cards, and more, he is one of the most prolific and respected of his genre. He is also an author having just released two books, "Creature Features: Learn to Draw Monsters and Aliens" and "Sketch Card Mania."

He states that "Star Wars" has always been a passion of his. As he looked around at the real-life Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Storm Trooper gathered outside the exhibit, he admitted that an art show like this was something he dreamed of every since he was three years old.

Inside, the walls displayed intricate and clever paintings of characters from the "Star Wars" canon. There were faithful recreations of scenes from the film, mixtures of painted characters and actual "Star Wars" comics, to playful mash-ups like having five of the female characters on water-skis ala: The Go-Go's. Another fun piece had four quintessential characters upside down on a roller coaster, and another (called "Orlando Calrissian") showed Lando giving us the ole' suave finger-point. Beautifully detailed and all for sale, Martinez' work is gorgeous and wonderfully nostalgic.

Denise Vasquez is a multi-faceted artist who is also an actress, singer, toy designer and author herself. Her vinyl dolls have been collected by not only Stan Lee (who has one of himself, but also Conan O'Brien.

When working on art for the show, she thought of her grandfather and decided she wanted to get back to her Puerto Rican roots and combine them with her other passion: "Star Wars" (which her grandfather first took her to as a child.) Hence, the "Day of the Dead meets Star Wars" figures were born. Aside from some of her vinyl toys, she also had on display a Dia de Los Muertos take on the Darth Vader helmet which was up for auction.

Every piece in the collection brings viewers back to a time when a movie changed the way we looked at the world. For those of us who are fans, the original films bolstered our creativity and sent many of us into the creative arts. For others, the images will take you back to a time when the films opened our eyes up to new worlds, new possibilities, and the pure unadulterated discovery that only childhood can engender. Don't miss it.

"Art from a Galaxy Far Far Away" runs through Sept 15th, 2011.
@ hUPa / Hold Up Art, 358 E. 2nd St, LA, CA 90012, 213.221.4585
Tues & Wed: 11-6pm, Thur - Sat 11-10pm, Sun 11-6, Closed Mondays

by Kevin Taft

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.

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