The man behind the sculpture Icons of Doom, a handmade representation of the classic shooter that the designer John Romero himself bought for $6,000, is at it again. His latest masterpiece is called Childhood Religion, a response to a lifetime spent under the thumb of the Star Wars licensing empire.
"Episode X: Childhood religion," reads the crawl on the video above. "After 37 years of making toys, the evil Licensing Empire constructed a massive Cross Destroyer star ship to scour the galaxy in search of non licenses intellectual properties to licence and disintegrate them.
"A small rebel force within the Evil Licensing Empire known only as 'The Artists' have a plan to defeat the empire with original art."
Standing 59" tall by 41" wide by 10.5" deep, this wall-mounted cruciform space station is an unholy amalgam of everything you ever loved as a geeky child from a galaxy far, far away.
"This assemblage sculpture represents that part of my childhood along with the millions of other kids who played with and collected Star Wars toys," artist Jason Hite writes on his website. "There are seven different rooms or scenes within the 'cross-destroyer' I created. It started with the discovery of some vintage 80’s Star Wars play sets I never saw growing up and highly detailed game pieces of every fucking character from the movies and then some. I got obsessed with getting certain figures and I didn’t even have a plan at that time. I just wanted the ones I always wanted as a kid!"
Central to the sculpture is Darth Vader's TIE fighter and below a scene from Jaba's palace. Vignettes include the classic duel between Vader and Luke Skywalker from Empire Strikes Back, the abduction of Princess Leia aboard her diplomatic vessel, and admiral Ackbar's realization that "it's a trap" above the moon of Endor. Atop it all sits Emperor Palpatine, offering his hand as if in blessing.
To Hite, Star Wars isn't just some hokey religion. It was a way of life. But as he grew older, that passion turned to hatred.
"That hate got me thinking deeper about the dark side of it," Hite wrote. "The Star Wars license is what really started the entertainment-based action figure business that I love. How many tons of plastic toys, derived from petroleum, are made in a foreign country like China? How are the working conditions in those factories? How many of those workers making the toys out of hazardous materials are children themselves? We Americans tend to forget where our products come from and what goes into making them, and I’m not just talking about toys."
Hite's relationship with the franchise is complicated, and his post is an interesting read. It also includes a handful of watermarked wallpapers, showing detailed shots of his work in all its glory. Childhood Religion is currently on sale at the Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. The asking price is $10,000.