Star Wars Celebration Europe kicks off today in London, England, and we’ll be bringing you up-to-the-minute coverage all weekend long. The convention will feature panels, guest appearances, and, of course, lots of exclusive, amazingly cool shopping that will make any Star Wars fan lose their mind.
But don’t worry – if you aren’t able to make it to London this weekend, you can still grab some truly amazing Star Wars stuff, including a pair of jaw-dropping, officially licensed prints from our friends at Brooklyn’s Bottleneck Gallery.
The first print is from Mark Englert and is called, “Hope is not lost today. It is found” (How cool is that?) The print is inspired by the very last image from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when Rey comes to give Luke his lightsaber back. The main version features Rey, Luke, and down in the background, you can see the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca, and R2-D2.
The variant, which takes place a moment before, features Luke turned around and the Millennium Falcon coming in over the horizon. They are amazing. Englert has a history of doing amazing, widescreen Star Wars prints (his Empire Strikes Back print was one of my favorites from last year’s Art Awakens charity show) and this might be my favorite of his ever.
The print comes in two variations; there will be a timed release that starts on Thursday, July 14 at 12pm Eastern and ends on Sunday July 17. It’s a 7 color, 12” x 36” screen print that costs $50 each. The edition will be determined after the sale on Sunday. The variant will be a limited edition of and will cost $65.
I got a chance to chat with Englert about the inspiration for the piece and where it fits into his long history of Star Wars prints.
You’ve done iconic Star Wars prints for previous movies. Do you have a specific process that you go through when choosing these moments?
For the ones I’ve done so far, I’ve focused on Luke and his journey from farm boy to reluctant Jedi.
Were you excited to tackle something from the new movie?
Well, my four-month-old daughter’s middle name is Rey so, you can definitely count me as a super fan of The Force Awakens.
How did you decide this moment from Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
When I went to the midnight showing to see the movie for the first time, I read the opening scroll text and saw that Luke was mentioned. So, right away I thought, cool, I can continue the series of Luke posters I have going! As the movie played on I noticed Luke was not showing up and seemed like he wouldn’t at all. Starkiller Base was destroyed, the map complete, and Rey said her goodbyes before jetting off with Chewie to search for Luke. I fully expected the end credits to start, but no! There’s an entirely gorgeous and dialogue-free sequence with a new planet, new theme and old Jedi master Luke in the last couple minutes of the movie! I came back the next day for a second viewing, sketchbook in hand, to take notes so I could begin work on this poster. Here’s a scan of that page of my sketchbook, scribbled quickly in a dark theater:
The two prints are pretty different. What made you decide to do the variant?
Usually, a variant edition will just be an alternate color–a slightly different take on the same image with more stark colors. I like to take the variant and make something as different as possible, while still be more or less that same image. I’m fascinated by the idea of Luke all alone on that small, desolate island. In my mind, it’s a lot like the cave on Dagobah in Return of the Jedi. The galaxy guided him there and Luke only has what he took with him.
Your Star Wars prints have typically had a glow-in-the-dark element. Was there ever a time when this print had a glow-in-the-dark element? And if so: what was it?
I did fool around with some glow in the dark elements, like Luke holding up the lightsaber in the style of the posters for Episode IV. Since the movie cuts off right at the moment I have in the poster, we really have no idea what happens next. So, I decided to nix that idea … I don’t think it would have added much anyway and I’m really happy with the image as is.
The other print coming from Bottleneck is by British artist Chris Skinner. It’s a super charming piece called “Finn’s Buddy” that depicts the immortal thumbs up gesture from everyone’s favorite roly poly droid, BB-8. It will also go on sale today, and is a 7 color, 16” x 20” metallic screen print on silver paper. The edition is 300 and will be priced at $40 each.
What is your relationship with Star Wars? Have you always been a fan?
I have always been a huge Star Wars fan. I was born in 1978 when A New Hope was released, but I was probably about five when I first got into Star Wars in a big way. My favorite ever toy as a kid was my Millennium Falcon!
You’ve done Star Wars prints in the past. Was it fun to do something based on the new film?
Yes it was great tackling something from the latest film. There’s so many great characters in the Star Wars Universe and it’s amazing how the creators can still come up with such engaging and loveable new characters like BB-8.
Why did you choose this moment from Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
It’s such a fun scene and really shows the character work that has gone into BB-8. I saw the film a couple of times at the cinema and everyone in the cinema always laughs at BB-8’s thumbs up to Finn.
Can you talk about your design aesthetic and applying it to BB-8?
My design aesthetic tends to lean towards hard surface subjects like architecture, vehicles, and droids … I like putting detail, depth and texture into my art and to tell a story that engages the viewer and makes them want to take a closer look.
BB-8 is such a simple design but I’ve heard from several artists he’s surprisingly hard to draw. What were your experiences with the cuddly droid?
Yes, he can be quite tricky to draw, which I think comes down to the perspective of the circular lines on his body, which in turn are a sphere. After I’d had the concept sketch signed off on I quickly blocked out his head and body in 3D software, which I then used as a guide in Photoshop and Manga Studio when creating the linework and shading.
Head over to Bottleneck Gallery now; may the Force be with you. And remember to keep it here for all your Star Wars Celebration needs.