Posted by Chris on August 5, 2010 at 08:00 AM CST
Ralph McQuarrie writes:

As the design consultant and conceptual artist for the original Star Wars trilogy, Ralph McQuarrie helped to bring the vision of George Lucas to life. With only the director's script and words as a reference, McQuarrie played a pivotal role in creating the look of Star Wars with his painted images of exotic aliens, helpful droids, futuristic vehicles and mysterious landscapes. When Lucas needed to convince 20th Century Fox to finance his upcoming project, he commissioned McQuarrie to create several paintings, which included R2-D2 and C-3PO in the desert and Darth Vader dueling against a hero (then named Deak Starkiller) with lightsabers. The presentation was a hit, and the rest is Star Wars history. Over three Star Wars movies (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), Ralph's sketches and production paintings served as the framework from which Lucas and his team worked. In addition to his film, television and published work outside the Star Wars Universe, Ralph created artwork for Star Wars books including The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, The Mos Eisley Cantina Pop-Up Book and Jabba's Palace Pop-Up Book. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife Joan.

Ralph McQuarrie

Title: "Bounty Hunters"
Size: 22"x24.5", individually Hand-Signed and numbered copies
Price: $180
Edition Size: 250
Celebration V Exclusive

Celebration V Gallery to Feature Early Ralph McQuarrie Artwork

The name Ralph McQuarrie will forever be synonymous with Star Wars. It was his keen eye, vivid imagination and artistic renderings that first brought to life the worlds and words of George Lucas' script while the young director was pitching his film idea to studios.

The amazing collection on display for the first time at Star Wars Celebration V is made up of more than 100 pieces from McQuarrie's personal collection -- some of which had been forgotten for decades. Just months after publication of The Art of Ralph McQuarrie -- which was designed to be a comprehensive, career-spanning retrospective of the legendary artist's work -- McQuarrie himself discovered a large, forgotten folder of art when some cabinets needed to be moved to access the failing furnace in the Berkeley, California home he shares with his wife Joan.

McQuarrie inadvertently had stumbled upon a veritable treasure trove of designs, sketches and concepts that literally had not seen the light of day -- in any form -- since they'd been laid aside decades ago. Since a second edition of the lavish hardcover book so soon after the first impressive volume was out of the question, there was no venue to showcase this tremendous find.

Until now.

The original works on display in this exhibition include character, creature, spaceship, weapons and planet designs, as well as numerous thumbnail sketches and original pencil drawings that were used in the making of the iconic Star Wars production paintings, Christmas cards and other items. Most notable, however, is the inclusion of the very first Star Wars sketches Ralph ever created -- the day he received the original script from Lucas.

Some of the work will seem familiar, since it led to McQuarrie's iconic production paintings. While none of the original artwork from the Lucasfilm Archives is on display here, in some cases the exhibit includes reproductions of those paintings to show the evolution from initial thumbnails to finished pieces.

Though he had never worked on a film production prior to Star Wars, McQuarrie went on to work as the conceptual designer on the film's first two sequels. He continued working as a film designer with the alien ships in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and his work on the film Cocoon earned him the Academy Award for Visual Effects.

McQuarrie's incredible, imaginative and influential Star Wars art has been seen around the world and still continues to be an inspiration to artists today.

Exclusive Merchandise and Giveaways

For those looking to take a piece of the exhibit home with them, there's a 48 page souvenir guide containing all of the art on display. And to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, 12 of McQuarrie's production paintings have been reproduced as 10- by 20-inch Metallix prints, limited to 80 of each print. Sharp-eyed McQuarrie aficionados may notice that two of the Metallix prints (albeit without the cool Metallix finish) were included in Ballantine's 1980 set of portfolio prints -- the remaining ten, however, are new to this format! Some of the prints will be available signed by McQuarrie and all of them will be numbered.

Finally, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, a set of nine trading cards showcasing photos of Ralph working behind the scenes as well as in costume as General McQuarrie will be given away (two cards per day, one day will be three cards -- 1,000 sets total). Fans who collect all nine cards will be able to assemble a puzzle of Ralph's iconic Yoda painting on the back! Get these at the exhibit or at the Dreams and Visions Press booth.
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