As “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is all set to woo audiences, the artists who are fascinated by the franchise are ready to celebrate. This includes the Canadian artist Robert Xavier Burden. The artist was going through his childhood mementos at his parents’ Mississauga home. Amidst his forgotten collection, he found a box full of “Star Wars” figurines. This sudden find of characters like Darth Vader and Han Solo sparked a distinct idea. The idea was till date his largest and one of the most complex works.
Mesmerized by ‘Star Wars’ ever since childhood
Robert Xavier Burden, who is now based in San Francisco said, “I wanted to re-capture the way I saw these toys as a kid. As an adult, these things are just a piece of plastic to me now. As a boy, they were larger than life. They were magical. They were almost like sacred talismans.” Well, his artwork did make a strong impression. In fact, the painting,“20th Century Space Opera,” happens to be inspired by the artist’s nostalgia for “Star Wars” figurines.
Robert became extensively involved with the project and spent 2,000 hours of studio time — over a year and a half — to create a spectacular oil painting called“The20th Century Space Opera.”The painting stands at 2.4-metre (8 feet) tall, and every inch of the artwork is completely done by hand. The project began with a detailed drawing of the canvas. Then, to emphasize on the details, Robert followed it by an intense layering process called under painting. To give the finishing touches, technique called intricate patterning was used. “I don’t have a workshop of people helping me make these things so it requires me to be in the studio 60 to70 hours a week,” said Burden.
Burden receives praises and accolades
The artwork has been priced at $200,000. It has been used as a backdrop for a “Star Wars” themed wedding. It was also featured at a “Star Wars” fan convention in Anaheim, California earlier this year. The Chief executive of Rancho Obi-Wan, a California museum dedicated to “Star Wars” memorabilia, was all praises for Robert and his art. “Robert’s art is both beautifully painted and nostalgic. It awakens feelings in us who saw the original movies so long ago and sparks the imagination of newer fans,” said Steve. When asked about whether the timing of the project was planned with the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Burden said that it coincidentally happened. But he is glad that the artwork was able to honor the movie at the right time.
“I do want my work to be about more than just nostalgia. I want it to express my love of ‘Star Wars,’ but also potentially talk about other things through the irony of the work. Through irony, I can talk about commodity fetishism; I can talk about consumerism, materialism, Peter Pan syndrome. I can talk about idolatry. I can talk about all these things while still maintaining a love for the subject matter because it’s certainly toeing the line between fan art and fine art,” said Burden.