August 22, 2011

Art From a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Leia & Luke with comic book backgrounds by Randy Martinez
It's not often that you see an Imperial Stormtrooper on the streets of downtown Los Angeles on a Saturday night. At least, I don't think so. That could be the in thing these days. I just assumed it meant I was in the right place. It turned out to be the art gallery I was looking for. Hold Up Art in Little Tokyo is hosting a Star Wars themed exhibit featuring pieces by Randy Martinez and Denise Vasquez, and Saturday night was the opening reception. How could I miss an art show called Art From a Galaxy Far, Far Away?

I couldn't. That simple.

Dia de Los Muertos Vader by Denise Vasquez
If you follow Star Wars art, you're probably familiar with Randy Martinez's work. I got to know his art through his promotional work for Star Wars Celebrations. He's done covers for the programs and designs for exclusive merchandise. Last year he did a set of ten postcards that mashed up Star Wars and Orlando with some fun retro designs. I might have bought two of those sets.

Denise Vasquez is a toy designer (among many talents), and she brought custom vinyl dolls to the show. The dolls combined Star Wars with Dia de los Muertos sugar skulls for a creepy, yet somehow adorable look.

Randy & Denise with 501st Stormtroopers
People poured in from the street and crowded the downstairs area of the gallery. Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and accompanying Stormtroopers were treated like celebrities. I had to elbow into a huge crowd of paparazzi with camera phones to get the above photo (this is why I should always carry a lightsaber). As always, it was proved to me that Star Wars fans are just the nicest and most approachable sort of people in the world. They also recognize my tattoo.

Really though. Everyone was enthusiastic, even the people that just wandered in without fully knowing what was going on. I heard exclamations like, "Dude. Darth Vader's in there."
Star Wars is universal, and the people who are passionate about the cultural phenomenon that is the Wars are my favorite kind of people. I was thrilled to be walking among them on a real life Saturday night. And by real life, I mean not at a convention.

Star Wars Topps trading cards by Randy Martinez
The exhibit filled downstairs, and though only a select number of pieces are up, it's more than worth stopping by to see. And if you need to buy someone an extravagant gift, this one of Han Solo is my favorite. Just putting it out there.

You can catch the show until 9/15 at Hold Up Art.

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