The Austin Chronicle: Star Wars Lands in Austin

Reprinted from The Austin Chronicle

When Lucasfilm invited pop artist Allison Lefcort to contribute to their new show, “The Art of Star Wars,” it was easy to say yes, and it was easy to pick her subject. She said, “I know that I definitely needed to paint Han in carbonite.”

Solo’s famous hibernation, along with her versions of Darth Vader, Jedi master Yoda, and Captain Phasma from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will be part of the fine art gallery show starting this week at Art on 5th. The show will contain original works by Lefcort, Rob Kaz, James Coleman, and Rodel Gonzalez, plus new limited edition and collectors prints, and rare Star Wars theatrical posters. For the opening weekend, Lefcort and Kaz will be in Austin, painting live from 7pm on Friday and Saturday.

Kaz describes the relationship with Lucasfilm as “our vision, their properties.” He’s been part of this traveling project since last May the Fourth, but Star Wars has been in his life a lot longer than that. He said, “I remember being scared of Jabba the Hutt in the theatre.” Years later, he got involved in animation, “and I really started to look back at the pictures from an artistic perspective, the matte painting of Ralph McQuarrie. … This was the mid-Seventies and they’re doing motion capture on blue screen.”

Lefcort was too young to catch the original Star Wars in theatres, but as a young child she quickly became captivated by the saga. She said, “I was one of those kids that needed to have all the stuff. I slept in my Star Wars sheets, and if I slept over at a friend’s house, I took my Star Wars sleeping bag. I’ve even admitted to having R2-D2 underoos.”

This is her first Star Wars show, but she’s worked on similar projects for Disney. Her entrance to the Magic Kingdom was surprisingly prosaic: In fact, Disney came to her. She said, “I was at a show and they really liked my art and said, can you do Mickey Mouse? Well, if you let me have the license, yes.”

Lefcort described her artistic interests as focusing on “the essence of the characters.” By contrast, Kaz said, “If there’s a spectrum, I’m on the opposite side in my approach. I love scenes, I love landscapes. … What it really came down to was those iconic visual moments.”

With several shows under his belt, this time around he’s heading deeper into the mythology. “I’m starting to get down to what I want to do, a little more having fun with it. … Scenes that are little more obscure, because I’m a fan of a certain kind of Stormtrooper, rather than Luke fighting Darth Vader.”

He’ll also be bringing a new piece highlighting the film franchise’s ultimate badass: the man that put Solo in carbonite, Boba Fett. Kaz said, “I’ve done him once before, and this time I’m doing a real cool gunslinger pose.”

The Art of Star Wars, Art on 5th, 3005 S. Lamar, Dec. 11 – Jan. 31, 2016.