The Art of Star Wars Comes to Austin

by Nick Bailey on December 9, 2015 in Entertainment, Art, Film, Austin,

The force will awaken a little early in Austin, as two talented artists showcase their work from the Star Wars universe. An extraordinary presentation of officially licensed Star Wars artwork will be available for acquisition in an exhibition at ART on 5th, Austin’s largest contemporary art gallery.

All collectors and enthusiasts are invited to the opening receptions on Friday, December 11 and Saturday, December 12 from 7-10pm, which will feature live demonstrations and artwork dedications by noted Disney artists Allison Lefcort and Rob Kaz. Both events are free and open to the public but RSVP is requested.  This amazing collection features original paintings and signed limited editions, as well as original Star Wars posters.

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Lefcort’s works have been displayed in museums and fine art galleries around the world. Art by Allison Lefcort

Lefcort’s artistic abilities have earned her quite the accolades. In 1996, Lefcort was selected by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to create the portrait of the former First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, which was presented to her during the Women’s Leadership Forum of the DNC. In the 1990’s, Lefcort began long associations with The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Studios, each of whom granted her the rights to interpret their iconic characters in her own interpretive style. She brings the bold simplicity of pop art to the beloved Disney and Warner Bros. characters.

“My art has been greatly influenced by the boldness of Andy Warhol and simplicity of Keith Haring,” Lefcort explained. “When I first began, my subjects were purely people I liked or looked up to. I painted portraits of friends and music groups that I listened to. Painting their images was the best way I could express how much they meant to me. I see things boldly, graphically, and I am color-oriented so certain images just resonate. The hard part is getting my hands to put what my brain sees on the canvas.  I am mostly known for my larger-than-life pop art portraits. I have a knack for grabbing the essence of people, characters, and even inanimate objects.”

Lefcort — a fan of the franchise — is excited for guests to see the work, and she believes it will be a great exhibit.

“Guests can expect to see a collection of Star Wars original art paintings and limited editions that have never been seen before from the original Star Wars movie through Episode VII,” she said. “They will see images of their ‘old’ favorites, as well as the ‘new’ favorites!”

Growing up with the films, Lefcort has continued to be a fan of the franchise and is in just as much anticipation for the newest film as everyone else.

“I have no idea what twists and turns the story will take but I have been a fan of the Star Wars enterprise since I was a kid,” she explained. “I was very young when the original three were released. I have been re-watching all the episodes in anticipation of the Episode VII. I am intrigued! Especially as an adult to see the how the plot shifts, secrets are revealed and the story lines are woven together masterfully. It’s a different appreciation for me today than it was for the 8-year-old me. If I only had one word to describe what I think Episode VII will be: EPIC.”

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The time spent in character creation and environments that heavily influenced his painting style. Art by Rob Kaz

Kaz has worked as a character artist for Electronic Arts (EA) after working with small animation studios in the Central Florida area. While at EA, he created human likenesses in games such as Madden NFL football and NCAA Football. Today, his work is a mirror of his background in animation.

“With every painting I try to tell a story by using light, color, characters and composition,” Kaz said. “I don’t sketch first, but instead I do a quick study or I block out my painting in broad strokes directly on the canvas. Using this technique, I’m able to let my paintings happen more naturally and the story unfolds while I’m working. That boldness and simplicity are the keys to unlocking the imagery. The vibrant colors of the background set the tone, as the shapes and shadows bring the portrayal to life.”

With the distinction and honor of being a Legacy Artist with Disney Fine Art, Rob is one of only a few artists granted the unique opportunity and license to paint Disney films.

“I am one of the biggest fans of animation art you will ever meet, and being able to paint for Disney properties is really an honor,” Kaz said. “I have had the privilege of working with many Disney artists and they inspired me to make the transition from animation to fine art. As a huge fan of the franchise, I’m so excited to see the beautiful and powerful imagery on the big screen. Based on the clips I’ve seen so far, this film feels like the Star Wars I grew up with and love. The closer we get to the release date, the harder it is to hold my excitement.”

Kaz is also excited to share his passion with guests at the exhibition. He hopes that fans won’t be afraid to approach him to discuss his talent and the franchise itself.

“When I’m at a gallery show, I love to both paint and chat,” he explained. “I encourage guests to ask me questions. I really enjoy talking to people while I’m painting.”

The exhibition opens December 11th and runs through January 31, 2016.