Original Star Wars poster painting by John Berkey
American artist John Berkey hadn't seen Star Wars before painting this frenzied dogfight over the Death Star. Though not printed for the release poster, this painting did end up as an insert premium poster for the John Williams' Star Wars soundtrack double album. Berkey said in an interview, "It was the first time that I was asked to paint fictional space crafts not of my own design". He illustrated at least eleven pieces of Star Wars art, including covert for the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope novelization and Star Wars: Death Star Battle video game. Ironically, Berkley says he never seen Star Wars to this day.
In the nineteen sixties, John Berkey was commissioned to do illustrations of the astronauts involved with NASA and the space program as part of their efforts to go beyond the earths atmosphere and eventually to the moon. In 1972, John Berkey caught the attention of science fiction fans the world over with a series of dazzling paintings for Ballantine Books' STAR series. Other Berkey best-known work includes movie poster for the 70's re-make of King Kong and the Towering Inferno. He also did concept paintings for Paramount Pictures' sic-fi movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Perhaps Berkey is the most widely respected of all living space artists and one of the giants in the history of science fiction art. He started as a professional artist in the 1950s, working for various studios before spending eight formative years at Brown & Bigelow, the major calendar-publishing company of the day; there he developed his amazing landscape skills in depicting scenes of Americana and the like. On turning freelance he soon brought those skills, and his dazzlingly evocative neo-impressionist style, to the field of science fiction.
John Conrad Berkey (August 13, 1932-April 29, 2008)
- Licenced Replica