“Artist Jason Palmer was 13 in 1977 — a significant age in a significant year. “Is there a better age to be when Star Wars comes out?” he says, laughing, to StarWars.com. “No.” His family couldn’t afford the toys, but Palmer read Marvel’s Star Wars comics, and found that the galaxy far, far away sparked something inside him. “I was absolutely in love with Star Wars, and I drew it all the time,” he says.
Fast forward a few years. Done with school and working a job he didn’t want in his late teens, Palmer decided to make a go for it as an artist. He had no real training or any idea of how to pursue art as a career, but he did know one thing: the legendary movie poster artist Drew Struzan — his favorite artist — lived within driving distance. Palmer cold called Struzan, who invited him over without hesitation. “He became kind of my mentor,” Palmer says. […]
All of this — drawing Star Wars as a young teen, learning from Struzan — has led to Palmer’s current project: a massive mural, meant to capture the whole Star Wars saga, that will debut at Star Wars Celebration Chicago. You can see the original trilogy section below, exclusively on StarWars.com.
“The original idea came from [Lucasfilm President] Kathy Kennedy,” Lucasfilm Vice President and Executive Creative Director Doug Chiang tells StarWars.com. “She asked if we could create a piece of art that would encapsulate the entire Star Wars saga, visually representing the complete stories of Star Wars through art. In thinking about how to fulfill Kathy’s wish, the idea of creating a giant mural timeline was born.” Chiang has served as art director on the project, ideating what it could and should be, and working closely with Palmer.
“I wanted the scale to be theatrical,” Chiang says. “I felt it was important to make the mural as large as possible to mirror the cinematic experience. At 10-feet-tall and 88-feet-long, it’ll be unlike anything we’ve done before.” Once complete, the final mural will feature every Star Wars movie, including Episode IX, as well as the Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels animated series, with each entry given its own segment and equal footing; in other words, Star Wars: The Clone Wars will have the same real estate as Star Wars: A New Hope, illustrating Star Wars as one large story.
Chiang initially worked with Erik Tiemens of the Lucasfilm Art Department to design a preliminary composition; since there was so much to convey, he broke the mural down into three basic levels: an overall color timeline to show the emotional arcs of the films; key, iconic characters in large portraits; and major action moments. Then came perhaps the biggest hurdle: who was going to paint it?
“Originally, because of the scope of the work and tight schedule, I was going to contract several artists, each taking on a portion of the mural,” Chiang says. “But after speaking with Jason and seeing his work, it became obvious that it would be ideal for him to do it all. My main concern was the schedule. We had only six weeks to complete the mural, which is a ridiculously short amount of time. Normally, a mural of this complexity and scope would take several months. But Jason stepped up and took on the challenge.” […]”