Star Wars artist has Force on his side

The West Australian - - NEWS - An­nelies Gart­ner

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.

Solo: A Star Wars Story review P6

Picture: Ian Munro

Artist Mark Raats sur­rounded by sev­eral Star Wars pieces that have helped him cre­ate his posters.

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