Sunday, March 4, 2012

Artist And 'Star Wars' Visionary - Ralph McQuarrie - Passes Away

Ralph McQuarrie's vision of Darth Vader
Copyright: Lucasfilm/Ralph McQuarrie

Last night I had the privilege of visiting Lucasfilm in San Francisco to watch a preview of The Clone Wars season finale.  The moment I walked in to the lobby I couldn't help but stop smiling.  Moments from my childhood flashed before me as I was surrounded by items from the Star Wars universe.  Boba Fett, Chewbacca, R2-D2, Yoda and Darth Vader all looked back at me.  

Outside of George Lucas, there was one man who helped these things become a reality.  That was artist Ralph McQuarrie.  Sadly, today Mr. McQuarrie passed away at the age of 82.

George Lucas released the following statement about McQuarrie:

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of such a visionary artist and such a humble man. Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars. His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy. When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph's fabulous illustrations and say, 'Do it like this.'
"Beyond the movies, his artwork has inspired at least two generations of younger artists—all of whom learned through Ralph that movies are designed. Like me, they were thrilled by his keen eye and creative imagination, which always brought concepts to their most ideal plateau. In many ways, he was a generous father to a conceptual art revolution that was born of his artwork, and which seized the imaginations of thousands and propelled them into the film industry. In that way, we will all be benefiting from his oeuvre for generations to come. Beyond that, I will always remember him as a kind and patient, and wonderfully talented, friend and collaborator."

To celebrate his work, has put up a great slide show demonstrating just how important his work was in creating the Star Wars universe.

For all of us that have never known a world without Star Wars, thank you Ralph McQuarrie.  Your vision of these worlds helped us dream of what could really be out in the universe.

What say you?

POPped by
Jungle Jesse


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