Pop culture art fans have been patiently waiting for this moment—and now, io9 can reveal it’s finally here. Mondo and Acme Archives are teaming up with artist Jason Edmiston for an ongoing series of Star Wars prints in the style of Edmiston’s popular “Eyes Without a Face” series. The first two, from the recent show Obi-Wan Kenobi, go on sale Tuesday, December 13, and while you can see a crop of one of above, you can see them both below, in all their glory.
“The Master’s Lament” and “Fallen Apprentice” by Jason Edmiston are 9 x 5-inch giclées being released in a timed edition from 12 p.m. CST (1 p.m. EST) December 13 through 11:59 a.m. CST Friday December 16 (or 12:59 p.m. EST) at MondoShop.com. They’re $35 each and the edition size will be determined by how many are sold in that time.
That’s the good news. The better news is this is only the beginning. Mondo, Acme, and Edmiston plan on releasing new Star Wars characters in timed releases every few months, with select limited releases in between at special events or on special occasions. The next release is already set; it’s coming in early 2023, and the rest of the year is tentatively planned beyond that.
So how did this come about? What are some teases of what’s to come? What is happening with the originals? You can find out all of that and much, much more in our exclusive interview with Edmiston below. Jason Edmiston’s Star Wars “Eyes Without a Face” series starts with Obi-Wan and Darth Vader, on sale Tuesday to Friday at MondoShop.com. More below.
Star Wars has been part of the idea behind “Eyes Without a Face” since the very beginning. In our interview, Edmiston explained that, several years ago, he was trying to come up with a series he could do that would be quick, easy, and look really cool when displayed together. A huge movie fan, he began to think about close-ups in movies and how a character’s eyes can be so distinct and expressive. So he took out his phone and started making a list of characters instantly recognizable from their eyes only: human, robot, alien, whatever. And once he started, he realized the list was almost endless.
He pitched the idea to the team at Mondo in the form of a gallery show in 2015. Paintings of character eyes, in a 1:1 scale of those characters, in a widescreen format to evoke the films and shows they’re from. The first “Eyes Without a Face” show was a huge hit. Three years later, the line for the second show was even longer and sold even better. Since then, Edmiston has painted and sold over 400 sets of eyes but it wasn’t until now that he was ready to tackle the ones he’d wanted to do all along: Star Wars.
Germain Lussier, io9: So when you first had this idea and made that original list of great iconic characters, it must have had some Star Wars characters on it. But, until now, you’ve almost completely avoided them. Were you already thinking about this at that time or why is this happening now?
Jason Edmiston: Yeah, I avoided doing them for a while because I was hoping to eventually build up to a Star Wars show. I wanted to have a show that was specifically just built around Star Wars because those are my favorite design characters from any version of pop culture. It’s got the most incredible collection of character designs in history, as far as I’m concerned, from the robots to droids to the monsters to the humans. Everything is impeccably designed. And I thought that would be a perfect subject to focus on for a show. So I kind of put it off for a while until I could solidify this series and build it up so that it had some sort of following.
io9: Okay, so you had this idea of a Star Wars collection in mind very early on. When did the idea to get them officially licensed and released with Mondo and Acme come to be?
Edmiston: Basically Mondo and I had talked about the possibility of doing Star Wars eventually, but we wanted to build up to it and isolate it on its own and do a full Star Wars show at some point. So it was talked about for years and we just put it off until we could really build up the series... Then over the summer, Mondo said we have a good relationship with Lucasfilm and Star Wars, how about we start doing a line of licensed Star Wars releases, and perhaps we can build it up into a new series and eventually build a collection of Star Wars portraits that we could showcase.
io9: Right, so we’re announcing the first two of this series but there’s more to come. How far do you have this planned out and how often do you plan on releasing, or has that stuff not been decided yet?
Edmiston: It has been decided tentatively. Tentatively, we’ve talked about regular releases every few months and some special, limited releases during special events. We’ve already planned the first year of releases and we’re already working on the next release which will happen in early 2023.
io9: That implies that the online releases will all be timed, is that correct?
Edmiston: For the most part we’re going to try to make these readily available to collectors via timed release and we’ll occasionally pepper in some interesting, exciting choices for limited special limited releases at events such as San Diego Comic-Con or May the Fourth.
io9: So who are some of your favorite characters and who are you most excited to paint?
Edmiston: My favorite characters, I would say it’s a mix. There’s always the classic trilogy I love and grew up with. Anything that I had an action figure of, I love those designs. But also I’m a huge fan of the new releases. The Mandalorian and Grogu, I love the aesthetic design of Ahsoka Tano and K-2so specifically, but my favorites, the ones I’m most excited about eventually getting to, are some I don’t want to reveal.
io9: Can you tease anything?
Edmiston: Let’s see. Um. Okay. I really love to do versions of characters that are classics, but maybe alternate versions that we haven’t yet seen of them. Like [I’m not saying these are happening but] I would love to do Finn’s bloody stormtrooper helmet. That would be a great one from The Force Awakens. And maybe like a hologram Darth Maul. How about that?
io9: There you go. Now, one of the things I love about this series is that each set of eyes is the same size as the character. And in the past, you’ve done massive eyes, like King Kong, Jaws, and the T-Rex from Jurassic Park. Is there a possibility you could do large Star Wars characters like a Jabba or the Rancor?
Edmiston: Absolutely. Both Jabba and Rancor are on my potential list. I’d also love to do a Wampa or a Tauntaun.
io9: Oh, that’s good.
Edmiston: Also, Admiral Ackbar would be amazing.
io9: These first two eyes, while classic characters, are from a newer show in Obi-Wan Kenobi. Do you have to stick to the more current shows or are there any limits to what eras or characters you can do?
Edmiston: Mondo and I are hoping to feature characters from all aspects of Star Wars lore, including movies, TV shows, animation, art, and video games.
io9: Oh wow, animation.
Edmiston: Yeah, like it would be really fun to do something from the Christmas special or from the Ewoks series, even like Knights of the Old Republic.
io9: That’s awesome. Now, as someone who covers art and Star Wars I know Lucasfilm can be pretty protective over its properties when it comes to this kind of thing. What’s it been like working with them and have approvals been smooth as of now so far?
Edmiston: I’ve only had two portraits in, but so far they’ve been very accommodating. I actually drew two alternate versions of both characters because we pitched this before the end of the Obi-Wan series, and the first two portraits were going to be a straight Darth Vader and an Obi-Wan from the beginning of the show when he’s kind of sun-kissed and dusty on Tatooine. But then when we watched the final episode we immediately changed our minds and had to do the final battle. So those pencil drawings will eventually, you know, be revealed at some point. And they were actually approved. But then we decided to scrap them and put in two new submissions and those were also quickly approved. So I haven’t had any major edits yet.
io9: This is all good news, but certain people (like myself) are probably all thinking the same thing at this moment. What are you doing with the originals? Will you be selling them?
Edmiston: Stay tuned. We haven’t decided how we are going to release them just yet or when, but we’re thinking about possibly having a show once we compile a large enough collection.
Thank you to Mondo, Acme, and Jason Edmiston for all this awesome info. One more time, “The Master’s Lament” and “Fallen Apprentice” by Jason Edmiston are being released in a timed edition from 12 p.m. CST (1 p.m. EST) December 13 through 11:59 a.m. CST Friday December 16 (or 12:59 p.m. EST) at MondoShop.com. The 9 x 5-inch giclées are $35 each, and the edition size will be determined by how many are sold in that time.
Correction: We had the time the sale ends inaccurate upon publication. It has been amended to the correct time of midday, not midnight.
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