Ewoks can be a divisive topic in Star Wars fandom. The space bears from the forest moon of Endor look sweet and cuddly, but their cuddly faces belie their fierce warrior skills. As we saw in Return of the Jedi, they stand ready to defend their home. They tried to roast Han Solo alive! They fought off stormtroopers and their ground vehicles. In short, we all learned not to mess with Ewoks. You can, however, collect them. Sideshow is here to help with that with a new limited edition Ewok Designer Collectible Statue and a Fine Art Print. The company teamed up with artist Mab Graves, known for her pop-surreal art, on this gorgeous statue. Nerdist had the chance to chat with Graves over email to learn more about the Ewok design came to life.
Nerdist: I love a space bear! What was the process like of bringing an Ewok into your art style?
Mab Graves: I have been a fan of Star Wars my entire life, so the source material was already deeply etched into my mind. With the Ewoks, I didn’t have to do a ton of character reference research like I normally would, I mainly had to decide what tone, direction, and feel I wanted to evoke in the final sculptural piece. I wanted it to have the same weight and muted softness of my paintings, so I really focused of the subtleties; the gentle placement of a hand, or the tilt of a finger, the way the cowl frames her face, or the soft feathering of the fur around the eyes. Ewoks aesthetically fit my style quite organically, so it felt completely natural to work with them.
Ewoks contain multitudes: they’re fierce, they’re nurturing, they live with nature. What sort of qualities did you want to bring to your Ewok sculpture?
Graves: I love how complex Ewoks are. When you first see them, you think they’re just pure cuteness, but as you keep watching, you start to notice the teeth and the bones, and your view begins to change. They have organized societies and rituals. You realize they are much more than cute balls of fur. I wanted to pay homage to that complexity in this piece. One of the joys of working with 3D sculptural pieces is you can really work with depth and texture to make the best use of shadows for storytelling. Depending on how you light this sculpture, the shadows shift or soften so feeling of the pose changes from fierce protectiveness to gentle presentation.
Can you share a little of your process in bringing this sculpture to life?
Graves: For this piece, I wanted to create a sculpture that had a refined elegance to the composition. I looked at classical Venetian sculptures of the Madonna and Child, and paintings by Raphael and Cassatt for inspiration. I wanted the serenity of motherhood and the immortality of that bond to really be highlighted. It was a bit of a challenge to work with the Ewoks shortened limbs, but I love how the final piece turned out!
I feel like delivering on the cuteness of a baby Ewok could be a challenge, but you did it! (The little hands!) What was the best part of designing the baby?
Graves: Creating baby monsters is one of my specialties, so the baby Ewok was really fun. Babies are one of those subjects that you have to toe a very fine line with. Too far in one direction and they’re just cutesy and vapid… too far in the other and they can be grotesque or knowingly creepy. Capturing that sentience, and that ever-so-delicate expression of apprehensive curiosity is always the hardest (and most rewarding) part of the challenge! The little hand resting on the mama’s fur was definitely my favorite part.
As for your new Ewok friend, the Ewok Designer Collectible Statue stands seven inches tall. The fine art print, “ It Takes an Ewok Village,” is a giclee print and available either framed or unframed. It’s limited to 250 pieces worldwide.