FARSIGHT GAMES

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Inspiring art #10 - 'Mos Eisley cantina standoff' by Ralph McQuarrie

To me, Ralph McQuarrie will always be the artist of Star Wars. His unique style and the amazing atmosphere he manages to invoke in his paintings captured the world of Star Wars before Star Wars was even released. In fact, much of his concept art is being used in Star Wars today.


This particular piece is a concept of the cantina in Episode IV: A New Hope. Luke apparently goes for his pistol as an armed figure looms from the shadows. C-3PO and R2-D2 stand in the corner while a stormtrooper, who honestly doesn't seem to give a hoot about what the locals get up to, stands and watches. Aliens of varying types with varying levels of interest sit around, probably used to this kind of thing, and a seeker hovers overhead.

Luke stands in the light while the alien stands in the shadow - whether done on purpose or not it's great symbolism - and two worlds are reflected in the painting. When we were running Star Wars RPG games in the 1980s and 90s we predominantly played in the underworld of the galaxy and I always used this painting as a jumping-off point to get me in the mood. I based more than one adventure off of the image.

I find it a wonderful, evocative image that really captures what I loved about running RPGs in one of my favourite settings.