Tonight's gathering for Ralph McQuarrie

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Movie Talk' started by Clerval, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Clerval

    Clerval Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Tonight a good number of us got together for remembrances, a few laughs, more than a few moments of silence, a walk past a number of Ralph's pieces (including the very first drawing he did for Star Wars and many fantastic layouts for the paintings that we know well..: many an interesting change between his tight layouts and the finals, cool notations on our history) This followed with a screening of Star Wars.

    I think Ralph would have been completely shocked by it. Was very happy that Joan made it down; she was herself surprised to see a couple of the pieces from Ralph's collection that were on display. A couple she couldn't recall, guessing that they were done so long ago that if she saw them 'then' she's forgot in the time since.

    Dennis Muren, Scott Farrar, Lorne Peterson and Steve Gawley (who had the best and funniest 'poor Steve' stories concerning Ralph) took to the stage in the theater and spent most of an hour recalling their first meetings with Ralph and his influence on them in the early days of their individual and collective collaborations. Dennis went so far as to muse as to whether he'd have been involved with Empire and on if it hadn't been for a trip to the burgeoning Kerner site, only to find a couple of Ralph's images, in every way superior to the concepts and execution for what we now now as Episode 4, already on the wall.

    I didn't have much of a chance to catch up, but Bill George, John Knoll, Terry Chostner, John Goodson, and I know I'll remember more names after I hit 'Submit'... also made it for the talk. vfx art directors, a few concept artists, a couple more amazing model builders and painters and even a few of the more technical staff-- pretty well represented. Everyone knew why we were there, literally in that space not just getting together to reminisce, and that to honor Ralph is in a way to remind ourselves that we have work to do, shoulders to stand on, and while doing so to dig a little deeper to convey what we do.

    It's never easy to lose a hero. Harder to lose a friend. And when loss becomes a regular part of how you mark time, when you measure your co-workers as friends/family for half of your life, nights like tonight have the potential to reek of regret and opportunities lost. So I hope for those of you chasing dreams, if there's someone like Ralph in your life, if you have questions and are worthy of the answers, if you do the work... then I hope you're speaking with them, learning, and looking just a bit beyond the horizon they show you. Ralph would like that.
     
  2. alienscollection.com

    alienscollection.com Master Member

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    Great story, thanks for sharing.
     
  3. Obi Sean Kenobi

    Obi Sean Kenobi Well-Known Member

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    Beautifully written.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Sean
     
  4. The Wook

    The Wook Master Member

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    I wish I'd met him.

    Thanks for sharing, Clerval. Sounds like you knew Ralph well, what was your relationship with him?

    The Wook
     
  5. jedimaster

    jedimaster Sr Member

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    Great story. At least his memory lives on through his work and inspiration for all time. I'd love there to be a traveling exhibit in the future. Sadly missed. Thanks for posting.
     
  6. Clerval

    Clerval Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for the replies here. I wish more people could have met him. I was happy to see that I'm not the only one who thought of Ralph as I did; posted a longer bit on that in another thread. He was unique and again, his colleagues all spoke to that the other night. We all, and I mean to a person, had the same thoughts on him as a professional and as a man.

    Wook, I met Ralph in the mid-90s and he became a mentor of mine for a time, matter of fact it almost cost me consideration for a job at ILM because he and Iain McCaig were my main mentors at the time. Long story. I eased off on my contact with him as the effects of his illness wore on him, stayed in touch on levels I thought he could sustain, but it proved to be too much in the last few years. It was incredibly difficult those first couple of years to see what was starting to afflict him.

    My most treasured 'possession' is his old compressor. 15 years and still running strong, after about five years with Ralph. I tell my airbrushes they never had it so good.
     
  7. The Wook

    The Wook Master Member

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    Cool. You were blessed.

    The Wook
     
  8. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    I was one of the lucky ones who had a chance to meet Ralph in the mid 90s at a comic convention in Chicago. Parkinsons was starting to take its toll, but he still was able to crank out some beautiful pieces. Ralph was a class act and willing to answer questions. I met another artist named H. Ed Cox who was doing the box art paintings for AMT/Ertl when they had a Star Wars license and he said Ralph was very complimentary of his work, saying it was better than the stuff he was asked by one of the other licensees to do during that period (getting that kind of compliment would make any artist feel great).

    The thing I always loved about Ralph's work is at least to me, the highlights weren't necessarily in the foreground action (while they were exquisitely done), but rather the background. So you look down those beautifully done cooridors or the action in space and wonder just what it is we aren't seeing in the shot and you wanted to pan the painting to another part like a camera. It is like you got the sense you were only seeing part of the story of a much bigger picture.
     
  9. Psab keel

    Psab keel Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I get that sense of wanting to "pan around the scene" as well. His work conveyed a sense of motion and depth that few artists in that field can achieve. I never had the opportunity to meet Ralph in person, but I have always been amazed by his art and everything I've ever read about the man himself attests to the fact that he was a humble and truly gifted individual.

    I have a mentor and I hope that I convey to him as eloquently as you have Clerval how instrumental he has been in shaping the course of my life.
     
  10. pandatrooper

    pandatrooper Well-Known Member

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    This is a wonderful way to carry on his legacy. Thanks for sharing it! I was and am a huge fan of his, wish I could have met him.
     

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