Me, My Brother, and Star Wars

When my brother and I were little, my parents made us a video tape of movies they recorded off of TV. In the middle of the tape was The Empire Strikes Back. I remember fast forwarding through random cartoon one, random cartoon two, and finally seeing those little pinpricks of light that would speed across the screen to form three letters – HBO. This was it – A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. For me, this was it. There was no A New Hope or The Return of the Jedi – I didn’t even know they existed! (sorry, I was young) What else I knew about Star Wars came from the Muppet Babies, but that’s another story for another time.

Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie, 3PO, R2D2, Lando, Cloud City, carbonite, lightsabers, Star Destroyers, asteroid fields, flippin Darth Vader – characters that would stay with me through adulthood, a story that, for me, has never – and will never – get old. This is where my love of Star Wars originated. Even now, when life is overwhelming, I pop in my DVD of Empire (original theatrical release, not this special edition b.s.) and everything seems a little better.

I remember after we’d watch Empire – not often, but once every few months – my brother and I would act it out in the yard with my mother and aunts’ majorette batons. Now, we didn’t hit each other or anything like that, but we would play out the scenes we loved. I even had a pajama top that if I turned it around it would look like Lando’s shirt. Mainly I remember our lightsaber battles that lasted for minutes, but have stayed with me FOREVER.

What does all of this fit into my artwork, you may ask. I have found that my most successful works, works that I feel a particular pride in, are works that reflect my family and home. These are themes I believe everyone can identify with – whether you grew up, as I did, in Eastern Kentucky or a city in some far away state or country.

I posted earlier that I am working on some ideas to incorporate characters into my paintings. The goals of these paintings are to use aspects of pop culture that I am a fan of (Monty Python, Star Wars, the Beatles, etc) with characters to tell stories that I hope are identifiable to the viewer. The characters I have focused on, so far, are mishmashes of both me and my brother. I like all of the sketches so far, but I like my boxy characters the best. What do you think?