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Controversy regarding my Celebration artwork by Erik-Maell
Controversy regarding my Celebration artwork
I understand that my artwork has stirred up a bit of controversy, with some rather fierce debates raging on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter, so I suppose I should say a few words about it.

Below is a copy of the response I've just posted on my Instagram account:

For the record, I was not familiar with the term #Reylo until after this image was released on the internet, and at no time during my communications with Lucasfilm while I was planning and creating this artwork, did anyone ever talk about a romantic connection or sexual relationship between the 2 characters, or any type of "secret agenda." It really is just an artistic depiction of a scene from the movie, which I've chosen to illustrate from a different, more dramatic angle than what was shown in the context of the movie itself. I was inspired by the classic Universal Studios monster movies of the 30's,40s, & 50s, and it's meant to have that same kind of vibe, in the style of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and Creature From the Black Lagoon. Others have made comparisons to Gone With the Wind, film noir, and Harlequin Romance novels as well, and although I was not consciously trying to reference any of those while I was making this, I definitely can see how those observations are valid too.

I was aware of the "Where's Rey?" backlash surrounding last year's Star Wars Monopoly game, but I did not realize there would be any kind of controversy by using this tag on my artwork. Before the full image of my poster had officially been released by Lucasfilm, I had posted a few teaser images online. The first one showed only a close-up of Kylo Ren's mask and the second one was a close-up of Rey's boot. I tagged these preview images #wheresrey, because at that point she had not been revealed yet. The next image I teased was a close-up of Rey's face, so I tagged it #heresrey. There was no deeper thinking to it than that, and certainly no hidden political agenda. It's worth noting that "Where's Rey?" is an actual line of dialogue spoken by Finn to Han Solo, and it occurs in the movie only a few moments before Kylo Ren abducts Rey and carries her to his shuttle. I even considered tagging the image with #carefulren, since it seems like an appropriate thing to say to him while he's carrying someone around, and it's actually a quote from earlier in the movie, spoken to him by General Hux.

In addition to the "Reylo" and "WheresRey?" debates, a vocal minority has even gone so far as to criticize this image for being misogynistic and romanticizing violence against women. Just to be perfectly clear, neither I nor Lucasfilm are advocating or condoning violence of any kind against anyone. If I had painted the scene of Darth Vader killing Ben Kenobi, would anyone accuse me of encouraging the abuse and murder of the elderly? Would painting a scene of the destruction of Alderaan be viewed as an endorsement of mass genocide?

I'm genuinely surprised that there is any kind of controversy surrounding this image, and it's unfortunate that some people are upset by it, as it was never my intention to provoke dispute. Regardless, I am definitely not the type of person who would say, "Get a grip. It's only a movie" because I know that Star Wars has become much more than that. I grew up with Star Wars, it was a huge part of my childhood and I still have a great deal of nostalgia for it in my adulthood. I've been working for Lucasfilm for the past 10 years and I've met countless fans from all over the world at the various Star Wars conventions, and I share in their enthusiasm for this amazing universe that George Lucas has created. I enjoy the work I do immensely and I appreciate the passion of everyone who loves Star Wars, even though occasionally it can become overwhelming.

In any event, I hope I was able to clear up a few misconceptions about this piece. I'm grateful to everyone who took the time to have a look at it and leave comments, and, as always, I look forward to your continued feedback. All I ask is that you remain civil in your remarks to one another and try to respect each other's opinions. Everyone has a right to their own point of view, and I won't delete comments or block anyone unless you decide to be excessively abusive or vulgar. There's no reason to resort to personal attacks or name calling. As important as Star Wars is to people all around the world, it's also important to remember that above all else, Star Wars is supposed to be fun.

Have fun!


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Teaser - Celebration Europe limited edition print by Erik-Maell
Teaser - Celebration Europe limited edition print
Here's another detail of my Celebration Europe limited edition print. The full image can be seen on the official website, along with all of the other great artwork that will be available next month in London:


Pre-Sales begin this coming Monday, July 20th at the following link:

www.darkinkart.com/collections/star-wars-celebration-europe-2016


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Sneak peak - Celebration Europe Artwork by Erik-Maell
Sneak peak - Celebration Europe Artwork
Within the next few days, Lucasfilm will be revealing all of the artists who've been chosen for the upcoming Star Wars Celebration Europe, and they will be unveiling our artwork on their official website:


In the meantime, here's another teaser of the art I created for my official limited edition print, which will be available exclusively at the ExCeL London Exhibition Centre from July 15th-17th.

More soon!


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Sneak peak - Celebration Europe Artwork by Erik-Maell
Sneak peak - Celebration Europe Artwork
Sometime during the coming week, Lucasfilm should be revealing the artists who've been chosen for the upcoming Star Wars Celebration Europe, and they will be unveiling our artwork on their official website:

www.starwarscelebration.com/Events/Art-Show

In the meantime, here's a teaser of the art I created for my official limited edition print, which will be available for purchase exclusively at the convention from July 15th-17th in the ExCeL London Exhibition Centre.

More coming soon!
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Erik-Maell
Erik Maell
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:iconzethkeeper:
ZethKeeper Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Dude, you're awesome! Very impressive and smooth, eye pleasuring works! Keep going!
Reply
:iconerik-maell:
Erik-Maell Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2016
Thanks, Maksim!
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:iconperryfan2015:
perryfan2015 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2016
HI Could you PM me the commission info,thank you。’
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:iconerik-maell:
Erik-Maell Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2016
PM Sent
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:iconillusionsays:
Illusionsays Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2016
What is your commission info?
Reply
:iconerik-maell:
Erik-Maell Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2016
Thank you for your interest. I just sent you a PM with my commission info.
Reply
:iconsophoreal:
SoPhoReal Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful art!!
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:iconerik-maell:
Erik-Maell Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2015
Thank you, Sofia!
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:iconsophoreal:
SoPhoReal Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your welcome!!!
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