May The Fourth Be With You

May The Fourth Be With You by Lucasfilm endorsed STAR WARS artists Robert Bailey

Today is Star Wars day and it sees the launch of Robert Bailey’s Original pencil sketches. We have three outstanding sketches available in the gallery depicting different scenes from these iconic movies. Gold Leader Going Down, All Tied Up, and Firm Under Fire.

Robert Bailey was born and raised in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, England. He attended Longton College of Art in Staffordshire during the early 60’s. After moving to Canada at the age of 17, he finished school and embarked upon a career in photography. Variously as a photo lab technician and motion picture photographer for a television station in British Columbia during the early 70’s he also hosted a children’s television show in Kelowna, British Columbia. He then moved on to journalism and photographic work at a big city newspaper in Calgary, Alberta. After that he became an advertising layout artist at the same newspaper. During all of this time he was painting World War II subjects in oil on canvas, as a hobby.

After this he was a medical photographer at a big city hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. It was during this time that he began to publish lithographs of his war action canvases. This involved many trips to the U.S. to have them signed by American aircrews and ground crews. Trips to Germany and Czech Republic followed, again in order to obtain original signatures from fighter and bomber pilots. These lithos were sold worldwide and became so successful that Robert had to quit his medical job to take over the business, which then became full time with his wife Michelle.

He published a coffee table style book of his aviation work titled A Brush With History, about half of which sold in the U.K. The edition has been long sold out. Forewords were written by prominent pilots from the Second World War.

After many years creating oil canvases of war battles and amassing them on a large website, Star Wars creator George Lucas became aware of them and asked Robert to work on a project called STAR WARS VISIONS, which was published in both limited edition and an open edition coffee table style books. Robert was one of about thirty other artists who participated. He visited Skywalker Ranch in California and was taken on a three day tour of operations, including Industrial Light and Magic and THX, plus the main house on the ranch, at that time all a part of Lucasfilm.

Robert Bailey and George Lucas met in George’s office and chatted about Lucas’s needs for future work. These included a request for new aliens, new planets, new ships, and new alien architecture. However, Robert focused on finished art for Lucas’s collection and preferred not to do concept art.

During this visit, Robert knew nothing at all about Star Wars. He had seen A NEW HOPE when it was first released, but that was all. So he had to familiarize himself with all of the characters and story lines. Lucas sent him a box the size of a refrigerator full of research material so that he could do this.

Robert’s first work for George Lucas was rejected. But the artist soon got to know what Lucas liked, and quickly went on to produce material that was purchased my Lucas personally. This included a number or World War II battle scenes involving the Tuskegee Airmen (black Mustang fighter pilots). The movie Red Tails was shot and released about a year later. Lucas also purchased a large number of the limited edition prints from Bailey’s ten or twelve separate lithograph projects of the Tuskegee, all signed by the fighter pilots. Many went to the cast and crew of the movie.

After Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, Robert continued with Star Wars fine art in pencil only, selling originals from his website and at comic conventions with the blessing of Lucasfilm. These were and continue to be all originals. He is now known mostly for his Star Wars art work