Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our one hundred and tenth guest is one of the artists from the Incredible Cross Sections series – Richard Chasemore.
Lightsabre – Richard, welcome to Lightsabre.
RC – Thanks, great to be here! Is this a real Tauntaun skin?
Lightsabre – Your artwork has set the benchmark for detailed and intricate cut-away drawings and shown us some amazing sights from the Star Wars universe. Which image had given you the most pleasure to draw and complete?
RC – Oh that has to be Slave-1! The second version I completed for Attack of the Clones, everything went right from the paint to creating the crafts interior! I did the first version back in 98 I think and it was a mishmash of different technologies Boba Fett had bartered, stolen and bought for this craft to upgrade it but for Jango’s old version, I could make more standard and give it the feel of a production model.
Lightsabre – Tell us something of your career. How did you kick off your artistic career?
RC – Well, I started with one exam pass and a career at a fish farm! I figured while raking algae out a trout lake dumping it in a stream the fed right back into the lake that there must be more to life! So I went back to school and did a year to get those exams I should have got! There was trip to Bournemouth our local big town to go shopping! Well, that was my idea and it stopped at the Bournemouth and Poole College of art, on going around it I saw the Technical illustration department!
I just was struck that was what I want to do! So I quickly did some sketched and got a place guaranteed, I did get enough exam passes to get a place properly! I spent four years there and went to Germany on work experience after the first year and that really kicked me off on my career, I got back and spent the best part of three years on special projects for the college! Great fun and 3 of us got our studio with a 20 foot long drawing boards each!
Lightsabre – What is it like to be a part of the Star Wars phenomenon?
RC – Mmmmm…Hans and I have a little part to play and it is brilliant to see little things like a rocket launcher we designed in the Star Wars film! Our art was used for a lot of licensing products, we really loved the Code 3 models that used our art and tuned it into 3d!
The big pleasures are to go to Japan or the US and people know who we are and really love our work, I love the expression ‘a way of Explaining” and that it what I try to do with every art work! We want the people looking at it to know how it looks and feels just from the cutaway and the paint finish we give it!
Lightsabre – When you were a child, doodling on bits of scrap paper, did your artwork show anything approaching the level of attention and detail that it does today?
RC – I weirdly enough liked to do pictures from above, I will try to look out a piece for this interview but I remember drawing almost like maps from above showing every detail I could remember! So I guess yes it was in me to draw everything!!!
Lightsabre – What brought you to the Star Wars table!
RC – Lucasfilm had seen books that Hans and I had worked on, the Look inside series of books! They likes the real life stressing of the painted surfaces and being able to see what makes the machines tick. DK and LFL met and the Incredible cross sections were born, Hans started a sample art of the Millennium Falcon, it was completed in 9 days and as Hans did not have access to all the reference he needed the art was later redone! But Lucasfilm loved the style and the method of cut-away! We met in London with the author David West Reynolds (Below with his DeLorean) and the book was sketched out and we left with our missions!
Lightsabre – The new Star Wars TV shows are on the way. What are you hoping to see from them?
RC – Well, I love the comic stories particularly the bounty hunters! There are some great story lines and I would love to see some of the those brought to life!
RC – I worked on Military illustration books for model makers, I love stressing the paint work and adding mud, etc., I would be given a tank and told it fought in Kurst, it was standard Russian green and a year old so sun bleach it a bit and the mud was red! Off I would go using actual Black and White photos to recreate the tank as it would have looked, I also used to do allot of airbrush art, I remember working all night for a few quid knocking up a green house or double glazing add in B/W so it could be printed in the Local rag! The good old days!
RC – Which of the myriad Star Wars characters do you feel the most affinity for?
RC – Kaminoans I think, they were given a massive task and they planed it and made it happen quietly and professionally! I like that!
Lightsabre – Tell us something of your other interests outside of Star Wars?
RC – I am big into lots of things, I love the water, Wake boarding, fishing swimming, I share a boat with a mate and we go out first light and have a good ski and everyone is at work by 9-30! We call it the Tea and medal run! I competition shoot as well, I love the whole zen thing about shooting! It is not PC these days but it is almost completely a mental sport, a routine has to be created and completed with accuracy 60 times perfectly! The stress in competition is incredible and has to be controlled! Real mind over matter…Oh I love to paint as well 😉 I am getting into pallet knife with oils…
Lightsabre – You and Hans Jensen have had the good fortune to go to Skywalker Ranch and work alongside the concept artists from the films. What do you take from those meetings, and do you think your detailed works are a bonus to the ILM crew as well?
RC – Sure did and about 10 times! A pick of me wheeling the Skywalker Ranch bike back from the General store! Hans said I was abusing the bike but it was fine!
The guys in the art department were so giving with their time and much too complimentary! Back in The Phantom Menace days Doug Chang and the team just blew us away with their talent!!!
I mean proper artists and everyone without fail were just the nicest people, Skywalker is like the best college in the world, you cant fail for the talent to rub off on you! The animatics boys all had our books by there machines and said our art was the best reference as we had poured over every detail already and because of that we got to go in the archives! Even some of the art department didn’t get to do that! I remember the first time we went in the Ark from Raiders was right in front of us and I looked to the left and OMG the sand crawler!!!! Tooooo cool! I must admit I sat on a Endor speeder! Oh for a red wood forest!!!
Lightsabre – You also run Superglider Records. Tell us a bit about that.
RC – Yes Superglider records!!!! Four of us own the label it is a kind of Tomato type thing, we have put out Vinyl with every cover having an original art work on and lots of low run ep’s as well as mastered large run cd’s too! We are into the whole design and worth while music thing! Paul Campion who I used to have a studio with made a video for one of the bands that is getting acclaim right now, you can find it here http://www.eelgirl.net. We have put out some incredible music but we just put out our last (maybe) record by our favourite band “True Swamp Neglect” Their last album is called Cloud Cloud Cloud and is so so so good, please go to www.superglider.com and download our fabulous music for free from the mp3’s page! And if you love The Swamp you can get the album from Borders 😉
Lightsabre – What lies ahead for you in the future?
RC – I just don’t know, I did some Transformers, Stargate and of course Star Wars and having just finished up some Indiana Jones art and a Batmobile owners manual, both published by DK I am wondering what’s left! In a panel in LA last year I repeated a famous phrase, it’s funny the harder I work the luckier I get, our latest adverts we have been producing for United Technologies just won a place in the Communication Arts publication and also won an award in New York last year so I guess that could lead to new openings but who knows! This project has been so exciting and I just got back from China where I was getting reference for a new eco factory producing OTIS lifts, but we even got to put an actual space glove from the NASA space suit made by Hamilton Sundstrand in Connecticut! Proper space stuff, this glove can handle + and – 250 degrees C and you can feel and pick up a penny in them!!!! Awesome technology! Hans worked on the New Gen Hydrogen Fuel cell bus art and I can describe the building that had actual satellite and fuel cells for the space shuttle being worked on in special clean rooms, we could look through windows and what looked like a movie set….truly impressive! Han’s UTC helicopter!
Lightsabre – A quick question about our site. Any comments?
RC – I love this site and the best bit is the interviews I loved reading Rusty Goffe’s interview, I spent 10 days in Japan with him a few years ago! We had a good few wines and even survived an earthquake…It was the most surreal experience of our lives! Tokyo is one city I would love to live there for a year!
Lightsabre – It’s been a great interview, and thanks for being our guest. Just one final question. You and Hans are locked in a room with a pad of paper, some rulers and a pack of pencils. You have the choice and the time to draw, in your own unique style, anything you wish from Star Wars or any other universe. What would it be?
RC – LOL I think something simple for a change 😉 something like Yoda’s walking stick!
This interview was originally posted on lightsabre.co.uk on 15th June 2008.