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Wednesday, October 01, 2014
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Published: Friday, 6/6/2014

CULTURE SHOCK

Disney’s world includes area artist

BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER

When I learned that George Lucas sold his Star Wars franchise to Disney, one of my initial thoughts was, “that’s great for Brian Rood.”

Rood is a Monroe painter with a national following for his pop culture-themed fine-art prints, especially his work in the Star Wars universe. I profiled Rood more than two years ago in The Blade, not long after his professional breakthrough, including a contract with Lucasfilm and freelance work for Disney that’s seen him design artwork for Blu-ray box sets, T-shirts, toys, mugs, books, and posters.

The fact that Walt Disney Co. now owns Lucasfilm Ltd. and announced comprehensive plans to release a new Star Wars trilogy and three standalone films in the coming years, beginning Dec. 18, 2015, with Episode VII, could only be good news for Rood, right?

“They are announcing new movies [and] I’m all right with that,” he said. “That’s job security,” he said.

Like most of us, the news of the Disney purchase surprised Rood.

“But I can’t think of a better community to take over the reins of the Star Wars franchise and Lucasfilm than Disney. They already had such a long relationship … it just seems like a perfect marriage.”

Oddly enough, I spoke with Rood earlier this week just after he and his family — wife Michelle, daughter Amelia, 9, and son Max, 5 — returned from a weekend at Disney World, where he spent a few hours every day creating live art, signing prints, and interacting with fans of his and the movies.

And when he wasn’t working?

“I got to run my kids around Disney for half a day,” he said. “It works out.”

Having one of the great jobs in the world isn’t always easy and fun.

When not attending Star Wars events and comic conventions around the world, Rood, 38, is quite busy in his basement studio, creating not just Star Wars art, but licensed Marvel superheroes and Ghostbusters prints, as well as cover art for a series of America’s Army Comics published by IDW Comics. Samples of his work can be seen and purchased at brianrood.com.

Local artist Brian Rood stands with some of his artwork. Local artist Brian Rood stands with some of his artwork.
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While freelancing for the Army required a government background check, working for Disney is arguably even stricter, especially with the new films under development.

The new films clearly mean an influx of additional work for Rood. For now, everything’s being kept under wraps, though he can say that he’s working on a “huge” Star Wars project involving more than 200 of his illustrations as well as artwork from others that’s coming out in September, 2015.

“It’s the largest-scale project I’ve done since I started with the Star Wars franchise,” he said.

Rood is optimistic it won’t be his last, either.

“Star Wars is approaching 40 years [old] now and it’s bigger than ever,” he said. “Does it have another 40 years? I don‘t know, but I hope so. That would be great.”

Contact Kirk Baird at kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.



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