Art Appreciation: The Surprisingly-Familiar and Not-so-Alien Art of the Star Wars Galaxy

After a long career as an Art Appreciator of the Empire, I gave a presentation at the SLSA (Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts) conference in the fall of 2021, on a panel of artists mostly speaking about science. Meanwhile I come from a galaxy of super-science and I was talking about art.

My topic was, and is here, the art of the Star Wars galaxy. Basically, why does it seem so similar to the art here and now on Earth? After all, my original galaxy hosts beings of all sorts, only some of which look even remotely human, and they have their own completely “alien” cultures. And on top of that, they all hail from “a long time ago,” so any art they made came before the art you have here by a very long time.

So how do we explain that both galaxies have representational sculpture, and abstract paintings, and graffiti, not to mention guerilla performance art? I think the only possibility is that all beings share a certain set of feelings and interests, which we’ll oh-so-self-centeredly call humanism. If we all–humans and Rodians and Ithorians alike–start off with a humanist core, then all the rest follows.

Or perhaps you have another explanation–please let me know.

What we have here is a giant, way-embiggened version of my original presentation. This does not show every single example of art in the Star Wars galaxy, but it is a pretty wide range of it, from all of your different media that re-present the events from my galaxy: video games, novels, movies, TV shows, comics, role playing games. All of them have art, a surprisingly large amount of art, described in surprising detail. I talk about the genres you may find, the similarities you can see between very specific examples of art from my galaxy and yours, and the cultural and economic conditions that surround the Star Wars art world. I talk about artists like Sabine Wren, Darth Momin, Ves Volette, who have detailed careers in Star Wars media, as well as lesser-known artists like Darth Vader, Cronal, or the Navalaanians, and collectors and dealers such as Chancellor Palpatine, Ronen Tagge, and Walisi.

You can see the presentation here. Enjoy the art!

I update this presentation pretty regularly. The most recent update is from June 7, 2022.