Aug 20, 2012, 8:57 AM - As You Wish Artist Highlight - Russell Walks
Welcome to another Artist Highlight from the As You Wish Helmet Project! This helmet along with 49 others will be displayed a Star Wars: Celebration VI in Orlando, FL from Aug 23-26. Starting Thursday, August 23 these helmets will be auctioned on eBay by the Make-A-Wish Foundation with 100% of the proceeds going to support Make-A-Wish.
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Artist: Russell Walks
Website: Russell Walks Illustration
TDH: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Walks: I live in Montana, where I happily juggle all of the things that life throws my way; raising my family, creating artwork and teaching. I've loved Star Wars since the the first time I saw it, and in the 35 years since, it's continued to open doors for me creatively, emotionally and philosophically.
TDH: What drew you to the As You Wish Helmet Project?
Walks: I'm a big believer in the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and participated in the Stormtrooper project a couple of years ago. The opportunity to continue that participation with you, Art, and http://www.thedentedhelmet.com was too good to turn down.
TDH: What was your inspiration for Bobby Fett?
Walks: Florida and NASCAR go together like Han Solo and Chewbacca, and I loved the idea of creating a series of Star Wars related NASCAR-type sponsors, like Mountain Dewback and Jabba's Bail Bonds.
Then the name "Bobby Fett" came to me, along with the nickname "Mandalorian Maniac", and I became very excited about the potential coolness inherent in the idea.
TDH: Tell us a little about the process of creating this helmet.
Walks: I struggled quite a bit with the water-slide decals I used - In fact, my initial plans didn't call for weathering the helmet, but I had such difficulty printing and applying the decals that I didn't have a choice. In the end, though, the weathering turned out beautifully, and became one of those "happy accidents" that make us artists so happy.
TDH: Now that the helmet is finished, if there is one thing you could change or do differently, what would it be?
Walks: I failed to cut out the visor, thinking, for some reason, that it would be a glossy panel that sort of dropped in. That was stupid, and forced me to paint and gloss the visor area, since cutting it out after painting would've entailed another round of weathering/detail work.
I might also change the number from 1138, which is sort of an obvious inside joke, to 80, which would be a nice little nod to ESB.
TDH: With your helmet finished, what is your next project?
Walks: For the first time in a long time, there's nothing Star Wars related on the front burner. I'm working on a couple of different nonlicensed projects, trying to develop some new techniques that will merge the traditional illustration I love with the digital illustration that is becoming more and more necessary (Mostly due to decreased production time), and writing a young adult novel with my partner, a Michigan based playwright. It explores the question of what might happen if you were to meet a better version of yourself - Someone exactly like you in looks and personality, but without the flaws and moral weakness you see in yourself.
The finished Bobby Fett helmet:
Click images for a closer view. This helmet will be available for sale via eBay starting Thursday, August 23 with 100% of the proceeds going to support Make-A-Wish.