Happy Star Wars Day! The Fourth of May be on your side, or words to that effect.
As one of my best-known works, it’s funny it’s not had a write up – Ackbarpography was made pre-blog. The origin is now unclear, but one day in 2009 I was struck with the urge to try Type Art, and merging Star Wars characters Admiral Ackbar with his famous phrase “It’s A Trap!” was the one for me.
I traced an image of an Ackbar Lego Minifig to get simplified, head-on features. I then spent considerable time making the letters into facial features while, keeping them legible and in order. I was hesitant to add “non-letters” in to complete the face, getting away with the eyes because they’re at either side. Along with a collar, I added a hatched head shape behind everything to cohere the lettering together.
I submitted it to SplitReason, an online Geek and Gamers clothing store based in Canada who take submissions from their community. SplitReason came back with an offer: I get a one-off payment for the rights, and they print it exclusively. The latter I enjoyed as an artist, the former I enjoyed as I was unemployed. They even shipped me a few free tees from overseas.
It’s popped up on a number of clothing sites, Star Wars sites, and Pinterest-type sites over the years. Unfortunately it also popped up on shopfronts such as Red Bubble and eBay (see Yoink). I occasionally search for these and report the items if found, as they’re making money off my idea and breaching SplitReason’s sales rights. That’s why my site, the original source of all places, has a watermark where others don’t.
I let this one slide; it’s the same idea, but not the same image. Different enough to co-exist.
I expanded the series a little after this, although these were not made available to buy. After Admiral Ackbar came Darth Vader…
…then Princess Leia, in both Regular and Holographic varieties. The latter’s my favourite, methinks.
May your Midi-chlorians be high, and may Episodes VII through IX be a return to form.