How Star Wars Changed my Life

Armand Cabrera
The new star wars film is about to hit theaters in a few days. Like many fans of the franchise I will go see it and see if J.J. Abrams can make something filled with the same pathos and sense of wonder the first trilogy had. I hope he can.
I was 22 when Star Wars came out and like most people I loved the initial films. They created a sense of awe that was missing from most science fiction in those days. They brought humanity and spirituality to the genre in a way that resonated to my young self.
I did not know at that time that 13 years later I would end up becoming a professional artist and actually working at the LucasFilm Ranch in Marin County, California on Star Wars products making art for some of the very early computer games in the franchise.
Starting in the mid 80’s I began working professionally illustrating the odd cover here and there for companies like Baen Books and St. Martin’s Press but not enough to quit my regular job. I was also showing my work at fantasy and science fiction conventions winning awards and selling originals, and painting landscape commissions for people but again not enough to make a living from it.
LucasFilm launched my professional career as an artist. I was hired by them full time in 1990 and I worked on Star Wars for Nintendo, Super Nintendo and later on with Totally Games on the Xwing series for the PC. In those days at LucasFilm we were a small division and the artists had lots of responsibilities and creativity, there were only 15 of us when I started. Those games made up a large part of my work as a professional in the Entertainment industry.
When I left LucasFilm Games had become the LucasArts Games Division and we had tripled the personnel.  I had no problem getting hired at other top game companies. The steady work over the next 12 years helped me build my abilities and allowed me to transition into galleries. The high output of those industry work deadlines, although frustrating at the time, helped my productivity level which sustains my art business to this day.
I will always be grateful to the people at LucasFilm who hired me to work for them in the games division and later Totally Games as a concept/background/production artist. The time I had at the LucasFilm Ranch, surrounded by all the other talented artists that I worked with, shaped me as an artist in every aspect and helped to have the successful career I have today.

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