LIKE how lightsabers ignited the battle scenes in Star Wars, Rodelio Gonzalez treats his canvas, paint and brush as his weapons in carving his name in the art industry.

Gonzalez, who studied in the former College of Architecture and Fine Arts in 1976 to 1978, had the exclusive opportunity to be the lone Filipino to paint interpretative pieces for Star Wars when he was invited by Acme Archives Ltd., the exclusive publisher of Star Wars, to be a part of their team last 2013.

“When Disney was acquiring Lucas Films [Ltd.], I was asked if I am interested to paint Star Wars and be a licensed artist for Lucas Films,” Gonzalez said in an e-mail with the Varsitarian. “I was very honored and excited at the same time knowing that I could be able to interpret the famous scenes [in the franchise.]”

Lucas Films Ltd. is a California-based film and television production company.

Gonzalez’s 11-piece collection includes portrait paintings of Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Yoda, and the Battle of Endor.

His remarkable works went from one exhibit to another, including his participation in the 2015 San Diego Comic Con, an annual gathering for pop culture icons and fans. One of his original works, titled “Captain Phasma” became the cover of the December issue of Rockstar Magazine last year.

With the help of his “weapons,” Gonzalez made a name in the international art scene with his works being featured in several online galleries such as Wyland Gallery, James Coleman Studios.

In addition, Gonzalez had his Star Wars collection exhibit at the Bonifacio High Street last Dec. 16 to 20, 2015.

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“The exhibit was only a test run as to how the market in Manila accepts Star Wars or specifically my works,” Gonzalez said.

Since the exhibit was received positively, a follow-up meet and greet show will happen on Jan. 29 at the Hard Rock Café in Makati whereas people who bought pieces last December can come and have a picture and signing with Gonzalez. Another exhibit is also expected to be installed at Solaire Resort and Casino on Feb. 2.

For Gonzalez, what makes his Star Wars collection different and unique from his previous collections was simply because the inspiration just needed a single tap from the painter by doing his own interpretation of how these scenes have inspired and impacted him the first time he watched the movie franchise.

“I think there is a great responsibility on my part [as an artist] to not cheapen what is already have been done in such an excellent fashion,” he said.

Behind the canvas

Aside from being a licensed Lucas Films artist, Gonzalez is also a licensed Disney Fine Art artist since 2008 and is licensed to paint any Warner Bros. franchise. He also painted interpretative pieces of Disney character such as Mickey Mouse and the Disney princesses, as well as movies like Up, The Jungle Book, Pinocchio and Peter Pan.

He also creates several pieces of still life, landscapes and wildlife aside from painting pop culture-related pieces.

“My passion stems from the creative process—whether it is music or art, I never want to start creating. I love painting or conveying what I feel versus what I see. It is seeing a blank canvas coming to a completion that makes me thrive every day to paint,” Gonzalez said.

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Even before he started college, Gonzalez was already painting professionally and his works were featured in several galleries owned by his father and late grandfather like Gonzalez Fine Art Gallery located in Manila and Clark Air Base in Pampanga.

Gonzalez spent two academic years in the University after leaving for Philippine School for Interior Design where he obtained his degree in Fine Arts. However, he considers the UST as eye-opener that somehow taught him that there is no right way to create art as long as the final product would be what an artist want in the beginning.

“I love seeing different styles and techniques that people use and that is okay. Whatever technique or process indulges us, it does not really matter.”

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