In the summer of 2008, Tim Veekhoven, editor of the Belgian SW magazine Teekay Magazine, asked me to create a Luke-themed backcover desingn for the magazine. Later I made a funny front cover and Tim made and interview with me which was published in the 45th issue (September 2008). As the questions were deep I though it would be useful to put it to my site therefore you can read here the unedited English version of the interview.
I mention that some of the answers are out of date e.g. my favourite picture is Essence of Star Wars now.


Front cover of the 45th issue of Teekay Magazine.
This picture is the parody of my former Luke-poster which was published on the back cover of the issue before. (Note that Wicket's position is similar to Luke's - now the ewok is the hero of the galaxy.)

- First of all, tell us a bit more about where you were born and how you grew up.

I am a 26-year-old PhD student from Hungary . I born and grew up as an only child in a small, silent town under the slopes of small mountain ranges. I had a balanced childhood with many friends. I liked primary and high schools of the town. I often made trips to the mountains. It was a huge change when I moved to Budapest , the capital of Hungary to start studying at the university.

- Do you remember anything about Communism in Hungary? How do you think that Communism has influenced Hungary regarding to Star Wars?

I am a bit young to remember the real Communism in Hungary . You know Hungary was called “The Happiest Barrack” meaning we had little experience about the bad side of the system compared to some of our neighbors. And childhood always makes everything more beautiful. I met Star Wars in 1997 therefore I just heard stories about the system’s influence on it. It meant circa three years of waiting after the American premier of each episode. A New Hope was subtitled when it launched in 1980. Empire was the first dubbed SW movie. Merchandizing was a fairly unknown word that time. There were some Hungarian fakes, cards and toys and there were the three SW books published as part of the sci-fi series called “Cosmos Books”. And that was all.

- Can you find much Star Wars merchandising in Hungary ? Has the situation changed?

Now the situation is better but I must say it could be even better. I am not particularly interested in SW merchandizing nevertheless I see the supply is weak compared to other countries. E.g. after Phantom, there was a huge decrease in book publications (nothing for several years). Now, after Episode III the situation starts to get normalized as two very good Luceno books were published and this is just the beginning. Fortunately, we can buy almost everything on the net. However not from everywhere: banned Hungary completely, they do not deliver anything to here. I hope this will change in time.

- Could you tell us about what you currently do for a living and how you fill in your spare time?

I am a biologist making the doctoral (PhD) school. This is my last year, I have to write my dissertation and make the exam thus I have little free time. You can see it if you check the frequency of the updates on my site… When I am free, I like meeting friends, making trips, reading etc.

- I can tell from your work that you attach a lot of importance to composition. Did you have an art education?

Composition means a lot to me and it is one the two central questions of picture making. (The second is the color scheme.) I never participated either on an artistic course or a picture editor training. I just like to look at the works of famous painters and photographers and I try to get as much information about composition and color using as I can. And I practiced a lot, for ten years. I made circa 7-800 pictures and more than 400 of them can be found on my site. The others were the early trials.

- How and when did you start working on these picture collages?

It was in 1998 when I created my first wallpaper using Microsoft Paint. Among other pictures, Drew Struzan’s posters created for the Special Edition of the classic Star Wars trilogy gave me an inspiration. Unfortunately, my drawing skills are very limited that is why I use collage technique and picture editor software to bring my ideas to life.

- When looking at your earlier work, you can see that you’ve really evolved. How do you create your artwork?

When I started picture making, I had a simple purpose: to put more pictures together because they tell more and look better together than separately. I did not take much care about composition. Now the main question is the message of the picture. Making cool pictures is not enough; they must tell a story and/or relay a mood. And, of course, they must be beautiful. As I have no much free time, I prefer focusing on the greater stories, complex themes resulting in complex collages.

In a movie, you have three dimensions: space, time and sound. “Space” is the individual picture i.e. a frame. It has its composition and color scheme but the message originates not only from this because we have time: the sequence of pictures. A series of pictures always carries extra meaning compared to individual pictures. And sound (effects, voices and music) deepens the message even more. In a collage, you have only space. You have to fill it with elements in a well-defined way to give the illusion of time (and sound) if you want to tell a really complex story. These missing dimensions can be created by the composition and the thorough use of colors. Ordering the elements in a specific way (curves or lines) will guide the eyes like time does. Colors help to underline the key points of the story and create the adequate mood. Symmetry is also an important thing because the whole saga is symmetric. On my Anakin-Vader poster pair, many curves were used to tell the timeline and some parts of the story. In the case of Forbidden Love, elements and colors were used to depict different parts of Across The Stars.

After finding the theme, first I plan the picture in my mind: I select the main elements to be used and plan the rough orientation of them. (Sometimes I make hand-made drafts of the collages.) I also choose a starting color scheme. Then I start to create the picture itself. It takes several hours to complete a collage about 70%. The message can change or modify at this time as here picture elements and colors react upon composition. Then I stop for a while and I continue it later, up to 95%. At this stage, I refine or sometimes change the color scheme and some elements. And then, I finish the picture completely. I put the logo or episode title and my signature on it; I correct the small errors etc. During collage making I like to listen to the music of John Williams – it is beautiful and helps to get in the mood I need.

- What's your favourite piece of art that you've created?

Most people’s favorite piece is my saga poster but that is just the second one for me. Star Wars is a bit too complex to summarize in one single poster. I really like my yet-uncompleted Locations of Episodes I-VI poster series because this work will summarize the saga in two dozen carefully designed pictures which are interesting and beautiful even individually. (I especially like Geonosis, Kamino and Naboo from Episodes I and III.)

My favorite picture is Vader’s Triumph because this one is my most abstract piece where I put Vader into a symbolic environment which is a reflection of his soul and ambitions. On that picture, everything is Vader: the figure itself and its surroundings as well. The environment depicts his anger, his hate, his lust for power, the dark side. This picture also demonstrates my technique very well as it has different levels of understanding. On the very surface level it is a cool picture of Vader. It depicts the overwhelming power of the dark side. Then you can go deeper and try to understand the composition. Vader is in the center, everything guides the eyes towards his helmet. He is the center of the universe – as it is in the Sith philosophy. His pose tells his strength originated from two sources: the power of the dark side (symbolized by his red saber) and on the other hand, the Imperial Starfleet above him. Reds and blacks of Mustafar symbolize his rage while blue starfield depicts his calm cruelty. This is a full story. But there is an even deeper level: there are two hidden figures in the picture that make the story more complex. I hid the face of young Anakin in the clouds right to the lava burst, staring sadly at his older face Darth Vader. (It is hard to notice; half of his face is black.) Now the story deepens: we see the dark end and the light beginning together, giving a dramatic mood to the picture. “There is still good in him.” The second thing is in the bottom left corner: Anakin’s mechanical arm as seen in Episode III, after his burning at Mustafar. Vader’s saber points directly to it. That gives another possible explanation of his pose: it can be an indictment, a reproach against the universe and against those who forced him into a helmet – and a promise of revenge. Of course, you need not notice these elements if you do not like this interpretation – they are hidden well not to distort the simpler picture. But it makes me happy that I know they are there. From my point of view, this picture is the best representation of Darth Vader.

- What's your personal piece of SW art created by someone else?

I really like Drew Struzan’s posters, the episode summaries painted by Tsuneo Sanda, Jason Palmer’s Padme picture and the digital matte paintings by Yanick Dusseault (used in Episode III). But if I must select only one piece of art, it will be surprising: it is a dark, bluish Pepsi merchandizing poster from 1997 when SE launched. There is a large Vader helmet in the background and a fighter scene in the foreground. A very simple picture which has an important meaning to me. It reminds me to my childhood and my first SW experience as well as the beginning of the collage-making. That picture on the wall always remembered me that I wanted to do something like that. I still have it. :)

- Have you got any 'heroes' among some of the SW artists?

Let me start with Drew Struzan – I love his posters for the SE and the prequels. My favorite pieces made by him are EP5 and EP2. (In the case of EP3, I feel something wrong, I sense that two different compositions were merged together which imbalances the picture.) Then I mention Steve Anderson: his earlier works like the book cover art of Clones gave me another inspiration. It was a great experience to meet him at Celebration Europe last year. At CE, I also saw the works of Tsuneo Sanda – and they amazed me. I love his complex way of expression as well as his color using.

- When did become a Star Wars fan?

I was fifteen in 1997 when I saw the SE – this was my first Star Wars movie experience. I have read the novels before and I liked them a lot but they have not made me a fan of Star Wars. But then I saw the star destroyer pursuing a small ship and I saw Vader – and that was all I needed to become a fan. And after two years, I saw Episode I without the long time of waiting as many other fans. After Episode II, I realized the complexity of the saga and it gave more strength to my slightly decreased enthusiasm. I love complex things. :)

I would like to mention here that last year I had the opportunity to present my works at Celebration Europe, as one of the six selected fan artists. It was an amazing experience to me: the show as well as the exhibition.

- What do you like most about the saga? And how do you incorporate that in your art?

For me, the saga talks about good and evil, the responsibility of our own choice between them and the providence which guides us through the life. I think this is the most interesting aspect of Star Wars. In my opinion, the Force is an impersonalized representation of God and can be considered as Providence . It cares about the creatures of that galaxy far, far away. It has its will which is hard to see and harder to understand, even for Force-users. We see good and evil in two levels in the saga: an inner and an outer level. The outer level is the entire galaxy: the collapsing Republic turns into the dreaded Empire. But the inner level is more exciting: it is Anakin. He has everything to be the greatest hero in the universe but he is unable to face and defeat his fears and finally they destroy his body and soul. But this is not the end: love can save him and he has a chance to redeem himself and fulfill his real destiny as the Chosen One. This is the essence of Star Wars. I incorporate this into my works mostly through Anakin/Vader pictures. I think most of my works are about them e.g. I have an entire series about Anakin’s way to the dark side (“Path of Choice”). The aforementioned Vader’s Triumph also tells a part of this story in a very abstract, symbolic way.

- Some artwork has also been published in the SW Insider. Has any other official Lucasfilm partner already noticed you work?

Yes. There was a chance to get my extended saga poster officially licensed at the end of last year. I was contacted by the head of Official Pix who wanted to publish that one. He passed the picture to Lucasfilm to get their approval and they asked for some minor changes (reflipping figures). I made them and more because I read hundreds of feedbacks from all over the net. Many people suggested many things to be changed on the saga poster. Some of the good ideas was similar to my original plans I was unable to realize at the time I composed the poster due to missing picture sources (Wedge instead of Zev) while some of them was new to me – and really good (replacing EP4 Leia with EP6 Leia). So I incorporated about 10 other changes to create a really good saga poster which was re-sent to Lucasfilm. However, after several weeks, they stopped the whole thing without any reason. So now there is nothing official…

- This TeeKay magazine shows some more humoristic aspects of the Saga. What’s the funniest moment in the entire saga to you?

I really like Han’s funny lines mostly from Episode IV and the droid gags at the beginning battle of Episode III but the funniest moment for me is from Episode I and is associated with Jar Jar: the scene where his mouth goes numb when he hits the electric coupling of Anakin’s pod. C-3PO’s narrative (“this creature is a little… odd”) gives more humor to this scene.