My Star Wars Mural

 

Background

In 1983 my High School (now called Princes Hill Secondary College) art class was given the opportunity to paint some murals on our school walls to brighten the place up a bit. Fortunately Star Wars was in vogue at the time as Return of the Jedi had only just been released, so myself and another kid called John Darcy asked if we could paint a Star Wars wall and we were given the OK to do so.

Lucky for us there was a large wall right outside the classrooms on the ground floor just around the corner from the main office, this area was the thoroughfare to get from the front of the school to the back so we were guaranteed to get plenty of passing traffic to view our work of art. Also (and this turned out to be very fortuitous), it was indoors as well which would do wonders for the longevity of the painting's life.

Despite there being two of us involved in the Project, the bulk of the work fell to me. Even before our wall had been picked out, I had already drawn up the images that would adorn it. Being a huge supporter of the Imperial Empire, I made sure that none the "good guys" made it onto the design. The end result is that the mural is not only a tribute to Star Wars, but is also a tribute to the Empire (it also meant that I didn't have to paint portraits of the main actors - which is the reason why the Emperor doesn't make an appearance).

We had the option of putting a white undercoat on the wall, usually required for outdoor paintings, so we did that (another wise decision on our part). From there I transfered my pictures onto clear acetate then used an overhead projector to shine the images of my drawings onto the wall to trace them out with texta. As it turned out, the wall ended up being a lot wider than my drawing so I had to stretch things across to make the images balance out - hence the reason for there being three TIE Fighters where there should only be two.

Once that was done, all we had to do was paint it. Because so much of the Imperial Empire is either black or grey, we decided to put in a blue background. This all worked well for us until we ran out of blue paint and couldn't remember how to mix the exact same colour, so that was a fun experience - especially when it occured a number of times.

We also received assistance from our art teacher who helped us paint the Emperor's Royal Guard. She did a wonderful job with the helmet but unfortunately mucked up his hand by painting a fist holding the pike as opposed to an exposed arm. Ahhhh well. Mustn't grumble.

Somewhere during this time, John bailed out on me so I was left to paint the rest of it, which I was OK with.

I had a really good friend of mine, George Chouvardas - a very talented artist who was a year ahead of me - come down and paint the 1/1 scale Biker Scout and Speeder Bike. It looked fantastic ... up until early 1984 after George had left school because it was decided by the School Council that a disabled toilet would go behind the wall where the Biker Scout was painted. Sure enough I got to stand there while they literally put a sledgehammer through George's wonderful artwork. Once the bright yellow door had taken his place I got the job of repainting him (and quickly too 'cause that door was AWFUL).

Then something else happened, I left school .... leaving the mural incomplete. Fortunately I was unemployed for about a month so this gave me the opportunity to come in on my own time to finish the wall off. In the end, on the 5th of July 1984, I painted my name on it and the date, then cleaned my brushes for the last time. Ironically after a few years passed I remembered that I was going to add in explosions and things to break up the expanse of blue. Doh!

I visited the wall in the early 1990s to see if it was still there and it was doing just fine, even though murals painted by other kids around it on different walls had since been removed. Apparently I heard that my Star Wars one was a school favourite.

My most recent visit was in August 2004 where I found much to my delight, that my mural is still there on the wall in the school looking as good as ever. It turned out that being indoors was a huge bonus, unlike the fate of the big main mural painted outside the school involving stacks of kids (which had a grand "opening" ceremony and everything) that had been painted over due to deterioration from the weather. I also learned from that August visit that all surviving murals are now under a "protected trust" to prevent them from being painted over in the future.

So without realising it at the time, I've now left my legacy to Star Wars for all present and future high school kids to see.

 

Origin of the images

  • * Death Star II (Standard photo)
  • * Darth Vader (Photo from ESB teaser poster)
  • * Shuttle Tydirium (can't remember where this came from)
  • * Biker Scout (original drawing)
  • * TIE Fighter (photo from the Escape from the Death Star game)
  • * Stormtrooper (photo from ANH - although I later found out that it's actually Han Solo in disguise)
  • * Imperial Walker (original image - I stood the AT-AT model kit on my ghetto blaster at home, shone a light on it and drew what I saw)
  • * Star Destroyer (Promo Photo from ESB chasing the Falcon
  • * Royal Guard (Photo from the Jedi trading cards)

 

 
The following pics were taken six months after the wall was finished. 20 years later, it still looks the same as can be seen by the introduction photo
 
Overview, the Entry on the left leads into the staff office, while the corridor on the right side of the painting leads into the art rooms

 
 
This is the best photo of the wall I have, so you'll have to forgive my appearance with the bad hairstyle and moustache (plus the fact it was a hot day). From here you can see - and imagine - how the Biker Scout would've looked once the sledgehammers created the door cavity. They eventually fixed the door closure which is missing in this shot
 
 
I spent a lot of time on this trying to make it look like the ESB teaser poster. Ironically the transition from the black cloak to the blue background was the hardest thing of all to do.
 
 
The very last thing I painted

 

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