I am so excited to finally share this with you! This piece of art has taken a unique and evolving journey that took place over the course of 4 years. I wanted to write about it so its viewers could better understand the scope of it, and why it's special to me.
Original Chicago Riverboat Tour Photo Taken July 2013
Back in July of 2013, my wife and I decided to try Chicago's Architectural Riverboat tours. It was a great learning experience about the city's history. Near the end of the tour, I came away with the above photo. After looking at it a while, my mind began to wander. I imagined myself looking at this cityscape not now, but one, or two hundred years from now. What would it look like? And then, apocalyptic visions of the Walking Dead started to creep in. Would the river still be there? Would the buildings get overridden by vegetation? I was trapped in a "Life After People" scenario that kept playing over and over in my head. I knew this photo had the potential to get there. All I had to do, was figure out how I was going to destroy Chicago. But the only weapons I have are a mouse, Photoshop and a Wacom Tablet. Challenge accepted.
Building Damage and a Crash Plane
Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years, and it still just wasn't taking the shape I wanted it to. I even added a crashed plane, changed the sky and added a "Do Not Enter" sign in the background. In the months that followed, I added more overgrown vegetation and damage, but it still wasn't what I wanted.
Then, in December of 2016, a tiny movie came out called Rogue One. You may have heard of it. During the ground battle with the AT-AT Walkers, Baze grabs a rocket launcher and fires a missile right at this giant machine that's targeting the Resistance fighters.
I loved that sequence. And then it hit me. This is what it would look like if WE ever fought the Empire with our 'primitive' weapons. What if the Empire invaded Earth? Could you imagine? We could still hurt them! Or, could we? Would they decimate the larger cities first? What if the Empire invaded Chicago? It's like what, the 3rd largest city in the country? It's plausible. Not long after seeing the movie, I brought myself back to the original photo, newly inspired by Star Wars and I knew I could make it work.
Final Version. Finished September, 2017.
I might also mention that there's a neat website out there called pixelsquid.com. These guys are amazing. Not only do they have a massive Star Wars library to choose from, they have a ton of other real-life objects that you can use for your own works. And their customer service is top shelf too.
This art isn't just about Star Wars or even Chicago really. It's about a culmination of things that i have experienced in my life, including Star Wars. All of the Star Wars related items are just pure love for the franchise and the story itself. But there some other details that might not be so obvious.
In the lower left hand corner, there's a Hummer. My father used to work at AM General as an Engineer. He rode in some of the first Hummers they ever produced. In front of it, there's a crashed school bus. One of the first drawings I was really ever proud of, was a drawing of a crashed school bus. I didn't know it at the time, but that drawing would later get me in a lot of trouble. But that's another story.
I still have a lot of love for ill-fated F14 Tomcat. I got to touch one in real-life a few years ago and it was awesome. So sad that they dumped them in the ocean some years ago now. RIP Tomcat. You'll be forever missed. (But hopefully you'll be resurrected for Top Gun 2.)
The helicopters flying in formation are actually a subtle nod to Transformers. The Pave Low in the center is a nod to Blackout, who was the first Transformer to appear in the first movie. Most of the latter action sequences for Dark of the Moon were shot in downtown Chicago on Wacker Avenue.
Why the A-10's? Um...Because they're awesome. That is all.
The last Easter egg is actually nod to my vintage Star Wars Tie Fighter. Its wings would never stay on, and the cockpit hatch would never fully close. I still have the darn thing to this day.
A part of me is sad that the journey with this piece is over, but its one of the few that turned out exactly how I'd hoped it would. I hope ya'll enjoy it!
- Photoshop CC
- 153 Layers
- File Size: 795mb
- Project Time: 4 years, 4 months