Arts Wars turns the dark side into the art side

Art Wars – an exhibition of Star Wars Stormtrooper helmets transformed into works of art by some of the world’s leading artists – has now launched at the inaugural STRARTA Art Fair, which is running until Sunday at the Saatchi Gallery.

Art Wars sees Ben Moore, founder of Art Below, team up with the Missing People Charity and Andrew Ainsworth, creator of the original Stormtrooper from Star Wars.

Contributors to Art Wars include Damien Hirst, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Jason Brooks, Paul Fryer, Mat Collishaw Joana Vasconcelos, D*Face, Antony Micallef, Yinka Shonibare, Bran Symondson, Inkie, Mr Brainwash and David Bailey. All participating artists have been issued with a Stormtrooper helmet cast from the original 1976 moulds by Andrew Ainsworth. Alison Jackson has also shot a special Stormtrooper image for the exhibition.

The promise of new works by these highly collectible artists has already seen interest from the US, Russia and the Middle East. For founder Ben Moore, who set up Art Wars to raise money to help in the search for his brother Tom, who went missing ten years ago, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Pictured above: Yinka Shonibare's Stormtrooper helmet

‘We’ve had calls from major collectors interested in securing works. The Stormtrooper image is timeless and there is a great deal of excitement around the artists’ interpretations of the physical helmet. Collectors are initially drawn to the iconic nature of the works and the calibre of artists involved, but are also supportive of the charitable ethos of the project and interested in the very human story behind it.’

Art Wars is also being showcased for four weeks across billboard space on an entire platform of Regent’s Park Underground station in association with Art Below to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair. A free App, created specifically for Art Wars by artist Erin Ko, is available and enables Tube users at the station to view and explore the Stormtrooper billboards using 3D technology on their mobile phones.

A selection of these helmets will be offered in the next 90s to Now auction at Christie's in February 2014 to benefit the ‘Missing Tom’ fund. 90s to Now is a fresh auction concept, with its inaugural auction only last year.

Pictured above: Damien Hirst's Stormtrooper helmet

Leigh Wilson, managing director of Jet Logic, an innovative global provider of aviation services to corporates, industry, governments and individuals which is supporting Art Wars, says: ‘Sponsoring Art Wars felt like a very natural fit for Jet Logic. We loved the idea of effectively neutering (in most, if not all, iterations!) the daunting iconic Star Wars storm trooper helmet and turning it into a work of art requiring an altogether more benign response.

‘There is an all-encompassing awareness and appeal of anything associated with Star Wars so we were excited and intrigued to see what might happen when the worlds of popular culture and art collide. Art Wars is all about challenging and indeed changing people’s perceptions which struck a chord with the approach we’ve taken at Jet logic to the Private aviation sector.’

Ben Moore says: ’I am excited about the potential of Art Wars to raise awareness, not just of my brother Tom’s disappearance, but also of the Missing People Charity and the work they do day in and day out. I am very grateful to the participating artists for giving their time and energy to this project and really believe that with their support we will find Tom.’

Images of current art works can be viewed here artwars.net/artworks/

Credits: Yinka Shonibare, iPod Invader, 2013 (image: Bran Symondson)

Damien Hirst, Spot Painted Art Wars Stormtrooper Helmet, 2013 (image: Prudence Cuming Associates) © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2013

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