Star Wars art auction to raise money to help one-year-old Princess Leah

A number of Star Wars artists and fans have pitched in their talents to help raise money to defray the health care costs of little Princess Leah Esquenazi. As we reported last year, when Leah was just two-months old, she came down with a mysterious illness that kept her mostly hospitalized, and the Star Wars fan community rallied to help her parents offset the costs of her medical bills. Now Leah is over a year old, and continues to require hospitalized ventilator support with the diagnosis of a mitochondrial illness. An ebay auction started on May 25th with over 100 unique and rare Star Wars art pieces and craft items to raise money for Leah’s care. Right now, there are items donated by Matt Busch, Randy Martinez, Amanda Howard, Michael Ramirez, and Joe Corroney.

My friend Lesley, of the 501st Legion’s Southern California Garrison, has been busy organizing the auction, and has a photo album of the donated art pieces. Follow the auction news on Facebook at facebook.com/ArtForLeah. After only 24 hours, there’s already over $1,000 in bids for items. A second group of auction items will going up for bid in a few days. You can also follow Leah and her family via their blog. Check out the auction and find a piece of your own to bid on!

Star Wars Identities exhibition unveils some spiffy new images

With the Star Wars Identities museum exhibition opening in Montreal in April, the exhibition’s ad agency, Bleublancrouge released some additional promotional images by Louis Hébert for the show: a series of six character mosaic portraits highlighting the factors that build up identity. Zoom in or check out the full set of images on geek-art.net: Darth Vader, Yoda, C-3PO, Queen Amidala, Boba Fett and a stormtrooper.

Put on by X3 Productions, Star Wars Identities opens at the Montreal Science Centre on April 19 and continues through September 16, then moves onto Edmonton’s Telus World of Science in October. The exhibition, which will showcase a large archive of original props and costumes while focusing on the science of identity, will then move onto Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim over the course of 6 years.

Star Wars visionary Ralph McQuarrie has passed away

It’s a sad day in fandom: The man who gave Star Wars its first images passed away yesterday. Originally commissioned by George Lucas to illustrate scenes from the Star Wars script in 1975, Ralph McQuarrie was the first – and certainly the most well-known – concept artist for the saga. On StarWars.com, Lucas said: “When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous illustrations and say, ‘Do it like this.'”

In addition to the original trilogy, McQuarrie also worked on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Cocoon, for which he won an Academy Award.

McQuarrie was 82. His official site is asking for memorials to be posted to his Facebook page or via email.