I remember the speech Robin Williams delivers to Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting.
We’ve all done a bit of griping about the writer/director side of George Lucas over the recent years and you don’t have to twist my arm to tell you that everything I learned from him as kid about filmmaking was why I was so disappointed with prequel trilogy….
...but I can also remember NOT feeling that way.
I can remember feeling a certain magic when hearing his name was attached to something in the works.
There were TV programs like SPFX: The Empire Strikes Back where they showed us not only how they did the stuff they did in Star Wars, but that it was possible for silly kids like us to do the same things.
There were VHS cassettes that you could borrow or check out from the library.
For many of us, it ignited our imaginations and even changed our lives….
One summer, I designed a way to build a round ball out of cutting and folding basic construction paper.
Several rolls of tape, several trips to the back of Sears for refrigerator boxes with a couple of friends, and that little design became a 7 foot boulder prop like in Raiders of the Lost Ark - and for some reason I wanted to recreate THAT iconic scene with my dad’s old Bell and Howell Super 8 movie camera.
I think about how my life would be so much different had George Lucas not gotten to share the ideas in his head with us.
How we were experiencing and learning new things from Star Wars through a filter of his childhood inspirations and experiences.
To me, that’s what I always thought “directing” a movie was about.
Learning the craft of it came first of course, but then eventually asking people to experience a story told through your filter or voice.
Today it rarely feels like I’m hearing one voice anymore - more like a room full of people talking over each other.
So perhaps it’s gone. Perhaps I’m living in the past. Get over it!?
But I feel there really is a difference between seeing American
Gothic as an online .jpg versus staring 2 feet away from the actual brush strokes at the Chicago Art Museum.
Or watching Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off staring at impressionist painter Georges-Pierre Seurat’s pointillism masterpiece, Sunday Afternoon in the Park versus standing right there in front it. If you’re to close,
you only see the paint dots. As you back up the intended imagery takes a form.
Lucas Cultural Arts Museum
George Lucas wishes to build a Lucas Cultural Arts Museum in San Francisco.
Lucas, a collector of original Norman Rockwell paintings in addition to other artworks, wants to share this collection of original art that inspired him with new generations who - in the digital age - may never even know what it’s like to experience it in person - or possibly imagine why they would ever want to.
For those of us who have ever talked about holding cassette tapes, CD inserts, or even record album jackets with liner notes in our actual hands to a younger person… that sharing of that experience - however dated - is something we all still seem to have.
The museum will also contain artwork and materials that fall into the “digital art” category - which I certainly would hope follows a storytelling through line of art history merging into technology.
Education is to be a part of it as well. I get a little nervous at this part hoping that it doesn’t strip away the interest in the organic side of art history and focusing on obtaining artistic perfection via technology.
The The Sistine Chapel ceiling is an amazing piece of Michelangelo art but the fact is was hand painted on the ceiling and took 4 years to complete is mind blowing.
Sure, you could composite it in photoshop as a photograph in day, but think about how he actually pulled this off. It’s amazing.
Also, because Lucas himself is so historically tied to much of the “digital art” by one or two degrees with ILM, PIXAR, ETC. I would hope it isn’t just (or only perceived as) self serving for merchandise sales.
I get and like the idea of sharing inspirational artists from ones childhood and I must confess that’s the part that I find most interesting…. because the impact of Lucas (and Spielberg) has already influenced so many us and now we are passing those inspirations onward in our own work.
So, thank you Mr. Lucas and I must admit….
....your passion and the sharing of it ignited my imagination and changed my life….
My very best wishes for the success of the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum (and anything similar) for trying to give a new spark for new generations to come….
(I will STILL bust your “boulders” about the prequels though :-)