A show of Force

Star Wars Art Show

Artist Mike Lucido curated the local <i>Star Wars Art Show</i>.

Artist Mike Lucido curated the local Star Wars Art Show.

Photo/Eric Marks

Star Wars Art Show is Dec.16 from 6-10 p.m. at Blackrock Drive-In, 2245 Dickerson Road. Free entry.

By now, you’re probably aware that the new Star Wars movie is almost here. To pass the time before the film’s release on Dec. 18, national news outlets have been reporting on everything from fans’ tearful trailer reactions to the embarrassing outrage over the presence of black Jedi.

But here in Reno, the latest Force Awakens news is the upcoming Star Wars Art Show at Blackrock Drive-In. Curated by Mike Lucido, the group exhibit features 25 local and out-of-town artists across a handful of media including drawing, digital painting, airbrushing, tattoos and even stained glass. Up for one night only, this pop-up event is not the typical reception.

“I don’t like white wall galleries,” said Lucido. “Art shows are better as parties.”

Party is the only word to describe an opening that includes free drinks, themed costumes, mixed music by DJ Dusty Bacon, and converted car couches for viewing projected Star Wars films. There will even be an appearance from the 501st Legion. That’s the famous Stormtrooper organization with members in all 50 states and 21 countries, ready at a moment’s notice for events like this one.

But the biggest draw of the night is the art—Star Wars-related images depicting characters, spaceships and landscapes from galaxies far, far away. It’s basically elevated fan art. That’s what most of the artists call themselves, anyway.

“I’m like a huge fan,” said local artist Christopher Stehman (aka Kriddafur). “I’ve got Star Wars all over my room. I’ve got it tattooed on my leg. I’m pretty into it.”

When he was asked to be a part of the show, Stehman was already planning a painting based on the original 1977 A New Hope poster.

“Now there’s a purpose for it,” he said.

In addition to the poster homage, Stehman is creating a metal print of an acrylic R2-D2 painting he previously finished, as well as a watercolor collaboration with tattoo artist Johnny Bavaro. All feature Stehman’s signature character, a yellow, blobby creature named Bloop who takes on the appearance of any figure Stehman happens to draw—in this case, Luke, Leia and Darth Vader.

Another highlight is a mixed-media painting from Joseph Roberts. Like Stehman’s New Hope piece, Roberts’ image references the epic poster look that Star Wars graphics are famous for—but instead of heroes, it just features villains: the Emperor, Count Dooku, Kylo Ren, Darth Maul, Darth Vader.

“I’ve always kind of had a thing for the bad guys, the Sith, so I wanted to do something with all of the prominent Sith characters,” said Roberts. It’s called “The Sith Awakens.”

Lucido’s own artwork, a digital painting that doubles as the event poster, also leans on the Dark Side for inspiration. In it, a Snowtrooper snowboards above a fallen All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT) walker on the icy planet Hoth. The fact that no snowboarding has ever taken place in the saga or expanded Star Wars universe is beside the point.

“I was trying to figure out what I haven’t seen yet, and I wanted to see a Snowtrooper doing a handplow on a fallen AT-AT,” said Lucido. “So I added some fire and some spaceships in the background.”

Once the show is over, the art parties will continue. This is the second movie-themed exhibit that Lucido has put on this year, the first was Back to the Future in October, and he says this won’t be the last. Next on the list? Jaws, Jurassic Park and The Big Lebowski. Sounds like a party.