Star Wars artist has Force on his side
Perth-based artist Mark Raats has been wielding his tools to create a lighter and brighter side of the Force.
For about 25 years Raats has been a Lucasfilm-approved artist creating posters for many of the company’s films.
Raats has been drawing for as long as he can remember, copying Hal Foster’s weekly comic strip Prince Valiant from the paper during his childhood in Johannesburg.
At first, a young Raats said he wanted to work for Disney after his parents took him to see Snow White. But that all changed later in life when he had time off from the army and went to see the original 1977 Star Wars film.
“It was very entertaining but I was absolutely blown away by the way the movie had been made,” he explained.
“There and then I decided I wanted to work for George Lucas.”
Raats went on to work in the computer graphic industry where he met people from Lucas’ company Industrial Light & Magic. He created a CG animation and interactive program for them which was the first of what would turn out to be many jobs for the company.
When he first saw Star Wars, Raats wondered about how they built all the sets and designed and built the space ships. Now the fine art graduate’s studio in the northern suburbs is dotted with memorabilia from the films, which he uses as props for his designs.
A huge Indiana Jones fan, he cites creating the poster of the IMAX and Blu-ray release of Raiders of the Lost Ark as one of his favourite jobs. More recently he worked with Walt Disney Studios Australia to create a Solo: A Star Wars Story inspired piece of art which is another favourite.
“Although it’s based on the old franchise it’s a new movie and I was given an enormous amount of leeway to come up with something different,” he said.
Most of his posters have found a special home after being bought by Lucas for his private collection.
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Artist Mark Raats surrounded by several Star Wars pieces that have helped him create his posters.