Star Wars Native Art for Rogue One

Last year, one of our local vendors gave us free tickets to the grand opening of Star Wars: Rogue One.  I’m generally not big on going to the movies because of the costs and crowds involved–which is especially true of opening weekends, but I was inspired with a free ticket, some popcorn, and a reserved seat.

I won’t go into the movie much, as that’s not the point of this blog post.  Suffice it to say that I liked the film and that it was not at all what I was expecting.  I really thought it was going to be #8 in the series, but it really turned out to be #2.9.  It really took me quite a while to figure that out:  “Wait, is that the ‘Rey’ girl from the last movie?”

At the end of the film, they showed off some themed native art posters, branded with their own logo.  At first I thought that this was going to be a few originals that would be raffled off, but I was pleasantly surprised when they announced that there was a stack of posters and everyone could come grab one as they left…

Living in Alaska, I’m surprised to see how few people have any real native art to speak of.  The indigenous people are a big part of the Alaskan culture, no matter where in the state you live, and the art is pretty fantastic.  Myself, I have a harpoon, some baleen (the “tooth” of a toothless whale) with scrimshaw on it, and a variety of small masks.  I’m sure that part of my interest stems from the fact that my employer is 100% owned by Native Alaskans, but still, I think the stuff is cool.

So this art is really right up my alley:  it’s authentic enough to be true Native art, but it’s also got a nice geek-chique twist.

At the end of the film, I wandered down to the front of the theatre, where there was a pretty chaotic scene.  Some people were trying to grab specific prints, and that was causing things to back up.  Instead of picking through, I just grabbed a small stack for me and my friends and we stepped out of the way to let others access their own.  It turns out that I had grabbed seven of them, and there were only four of us.  I let my friends take as many and whatever art that they wanted, and figured I’d take the rest.  Friends are pretty important, and though the art looked nice, it was just a poster that would probably get banged up over time.

Of the four available pieces, I wound up somehow walking away with one of each.  I figured it was just happenstance, but in retrospect they’ve told me that they took the other three so that I could keep a full set for myself (friends are pretty great, right?).  I took them home and then promptly put them on the top shelf of my closet so that they wouldn’t get damaged.

My wife, who was attendee #4 at the movie, and I talked about what to do with the prints when we got home.  I was onboard with giving them away to some of her friends who didn’t have Native art of their own, and who loved Star Wars more than I (don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great franchise–but I don’t watch them on infinite repeat, collect the merchandise, or know all of the trivia by heart).  She opted to keep them and asked me to find a way to display them.

The problem is that matting for art, particularly large art, is ridiculously expensive.  Frames of this size can run $50 or more for a “cheap” option, and matting for them can be 5-6 times that.  While the art does look nice, I can’t forget that these were free posters.  It’s hard to justify $350 to frame something you got for free…

So I scoured the internet and found a frame and mat online that I managed to get for less than I could by a frame for locally (keep in mind, cost savings of using the Internet are often killed by shipping for those of us that live in Alaska).  I was a little concerned that the orange mats would be too outlandish, but they seem to work nicely.   They also perfectly cover up the branding by the local company on the exterior of the artwork.  It’s still hard to justify $50 for a frame and mat on a free poster, but it was far easier to swallow than any local options.

Now I just have to figure out where to display them.

Oh, and for anyone who is interested, the art was done by Andy Everson out of Washington, you can see more of his work (and purchase some of your own) by visiting his website.

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