Does waiting for Star Wars Celebration 2015’s Artist Alley make you feel like you’re imprisoned in a Death Star detention cell? Well, ACME Archives is here to rescue to you.
The purveyors of fine Star Wars art have announced “Join the Alliance”: a digital Artist Alley at DarkInkArt.com featuring a wide range of prints celebrating a galaxy far, far away. To mark the kickoff of the collection, which will be available from September 5 – 15, StarWars.com caught up with ACME creative director Blake Jones, curator of the online event. He filled us in on the details of Join the Alliance — and we snagged some special preview images, presented below.
Join the Alliance is making up for lost time — and presenting new opportunities. “We didn’t participate in [Star Wars Celebration Europe in Germany] last year, as logistically it was not going to work out, which we were pretty bummed about,” says Jones. “Since there was not a Celebration this year, we figured, ‘Let’s still give the fans some artwork that they can collect as if it was still happening.’ We had a great success with our May the 4th Silkscreen event that I had curated, but wanted to do even more images this time and offer somewhat of a different product.”
The featured artists include fan favorites and some new recruits. “We took a select few from the pool of artists who are usually in the Celebration Artist Alley that the fans had already begun to collect from,” explains Jones. “We started the conversations in about April, and made sure that even though the artists had not committed to doing Celebration this year, that they would still be able to fit it in their schedules to make something awesome.”
Curating Star Wars art doesn’t require Jedi Mind Tricks. Just a knowledge of the saga and an ear on what fans want. “I worked alongside the artists giving feedback on the images from a collector’s standpoint,” Jones says, “worked with them on composition, adding elements, subtracting elements, and guiding them through current trends with our collectors. There are always the ones that submit images and there are almost no changes necessary, but for the others I lend as much support and knowledge as I can give. With getting into the crowds to talk to the fans on regular basis, it helps me to guide the artists as much as I can.”
Brand. New. Art. “These images were mostly created specifically for this event with a few exceptions,” explains Jones, “but my intention was to show the fans something they have never seen before. I wanted all new artwork to showcase the artists’ talents and storytelling as much as possible. I gave some direction here and there to some artists to inform them of what has not been seen nearly as much, which quite a few artists took and ran with. So this year, you are going to see more inspiration from a world less-utilized than before, a couple of rare characters, and moments that haven’t really been showcased.”
Bring on the bad guys. “I have noticed a large shift into Imperial imagery,” says Jones. “Not necessarily in the style, just the fans and artists have been doing more representations of the Empire. People are not identifying as much lately with Luke or his journey/struggle. The younger crowds are really showing an interest and love for the darker characters. It has blown my mind that the younger generations are championing Vader, Boba Fett, Darth Maul, and even younger audiences [are fans of the dark side] with Savage and Ventress.”
Fans of strange, alternate takes on Star Wars are in luck. “I think the ‘weirdest’ print style would have to be the in-universe interpretations,” says Jones. “Some artists have such a knack for creating items that you would never think of. Peter Ferk, one of our longtime artists, has created a magazine ad for a landspeeder as if it was a Cadillac ad from the ’60s, with the tagline ‘Lowest Full Priced Convertible on Tatooine’. It’s both ‘Eye Catching!’ and ‘Exciting!’. These are sometimes the best interpretations.”
Get a first look at the art of Join the Alliance below!
Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content writer, and spends his days writing stuff for and around StarWars.com. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.