Two Lucasfilm Sculptures Created by Academy of Art University Director
The unveiling of two bronze sculpturescommissioned by film director George Lucas has brought Lawrence Noble’s career “full circle,” said the School of Fine Art Director of Sculpture. In a public ceremony in San Anselmo, CA, Noble’s figures of the Star Wars character Yoda and the archeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones marked the opening of Imagination Park, also funded by Lucas.
“In a way, Yoda was the inspiration for my second career as an artist,” explains Noble. He retells how this story came to pass, not so long ago or far away.
“I was a freelance illustrator for 20 years before I became a sculptor,” Noble recalls. “I was doing book covers, magazine covers, movie posters, what are called one-sheets. In 1980, I was invited to design a one-sheet poster for The Empire Strikes Back before the movie came out.”
Noble’s design wasn’t selected for the film’s release. He had to wait 10 years for his design to be chosen by Lucasfilm for the film’s10th anniversary poster. But first, says Noble, came Yoda.
“When I saw the film, I was so moved by the character that I went out and bought clay and sculpture tools. I ended up doing an 8-inch-tall statue of Yoda that was a whole lot more ‘heart’ than it was good. I don’t know why the character spoke to me that way, but I know the experience of seeing him on screen was intricately related to my decision to start sculpting,” explains Noble.
People fromLucasfilm saw that sculpture, and chose it as the first limited-edition Star Wars bronze. “That led me into a different arena,” Noble says. “I worked on Return of the Jedi doing design concepts for one-sheets, and I did some other Star Wars-related illustration. Then I was named by the Danbury Mint to design the Star Wars chess set.”
“I did a life-size bronze of Yoda, and because I was associated with Lucasfilm, I was allowed to personally present it to George Lucas.” That led to more commission work from Lucas and his companies and a successful sculpting career for Noble.
“But it all started with seeing the film in 1980 and being so moved by Yoda that I had to go into sculpture. It totally changed my life.” Now, with the dedication of the public sculptures in San Anselmo, “my life seems to have come full circle,” he says.