"Star Wars" with street cred

Slide show: We talk to artist Nicholas Hyde about George Lucas' influence on contemporary graphics culture

Published August 4, 2011 12:01PM (EDT)

Is there a law on the Internet that says that for every original idea, someone has probably done a "Star Wars" parody of it? There should be. For a story that's been around for over 30 years, the iconic characters of George Lucas' films always find ways to appear in the most unlikely of places: in musicals, riding bikes, even in rap music.

Nicholas Hyde is one of the many devoted "Star War" fans who have updated the iconography of his childhood. A  32-year-old artist living in Oregon, Hyde's prints give those famous "Star Wars" figures some modern street cred: Using crisp outlines and dark shadows, Hyde fashions  portraits of Yoda playing at the turntables, or Boba Fett with an old-school jukebox. It's like something Kevin Smith might have come up with if he made art instead of movies.

"The inspiration behind my art came mostly from old '90s skateboard graphics," Hyde tells me over email. "I loved how they were very iconic and simple, yet made a statement. Evan Hecox and Jim Phillips are some of my favorite artists. The 'Star Wars' characters came from the love of the whole story line of the movies when I was a kid. Still to this day, it's epic."

"I would describe my work as a mashup ... a little bit hood adventure and a little bit space adventure. My first piece was OG1 Kenobi, I think I just watched 'CB4' with Chris Rock and it just kind of clicked. My favorite piece is Darth Fader, though; just the thought of him in party mode and trying to control the galaxy is hilarious to me. "

When asked if he was worried that George Lucas might come after him for copyright infringement, Hyde replied, "I would hope that if my art ever gets in front of G.L., that he would get a laugh out of it. I sold a piece to Mark Zuckerberg's sister, Arielle. She thought they were funny and that is kind of what I'm aiming for." 

You can purchase Hyde's prints of "Star Wars" and other classic movie characters here, here or here.

By Drew Grant

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

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