December 16, 2015, 1:52p.m. – IN TIME for the premiere of the seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise, “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” a Thomasian painter will exhibit his new Star Wars collection at Bonifacio High Street Cinemas from Dec. 16 to 20.

Rodel Gonzalez is the only Filipino artist licensed to paint interpretative pieces for Star Wars. He studied at the former UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts from 1976 to 1978 and finished his studies at the Philippine School of Interior Design.

“There’s a nervousness every time I’m in [front of] the easel because I know I’m tapping into something so huge, that you do have a responsibility to the success and rich history of Star Wars, and you want to do a great job painting and interpreting those scenes,” Gonzalez said in an e-mail to the Varsitarian.

He began painting pieces for the franchise back in 2013 after Acme Archives Ltd., the exclusive publisher of Star Wars, asked him to be part of its team. His oil and acrylic pieces have garnered international fame and have been featured in multiple galleries and exhibits, including this year’s San Diego Comic Con, one of the biggest gatherings of pop culture icons and fans.

One of his original pieces, titled “Captain Phasma,” is the cover of this month’s issue of Rockstar Magazine.

“I feel very blessed and humbled, waking up and knowing that I can do what I love to do. To be involved in different major franchises like Disney, Warner Bros. and Lucas Films, is quite overwhelming to say the least,” he said.

Gonzalez said George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars franchise, recently became one of his private collectors, purchasing four pieces from his first collection in July.

“For him to be a personal collector of my art is a dream come true and a seal of approval that I’m on the right track,” Gonzalez said.

Television director Bert de Leon, Gonzalez’s friend, organized the exhibit in time for the movie release. The five-day exhibit will feature paintings of Star Wars characters including Yoda, Darth Sidious, Rey and BB8.

Gonzalez, who resides in California, has also done interpretative pieces of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and the Disney princesses, as well as movies like Up, The Jungle Book, Pinocchio and Peter Pan. Vianca A. Ocampo


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