Exhibition Interview: Star Wars in Glasgow

Mark Boyle 2-2


By George Bell

Mark Boyle is a local artist who has close ties to the Glasgow comics community. We caught up with him at his new exhibition at the Variety Bar on Sauchiehall Street to discuss his current work incorporating iconic Star Wars characters and vehicles into photographs taken around the city.

Strathclyde Telegraph: When did Star Wars come into your life?

Mark Boyle: Well, the films came out a year before I was born; I was brought up with the original trilogy. I don’t actually remember getting into Star Wars; it’s just always been there, something that has totally fired my imagination from a young age.

ST: So you have 9 digital prints on display at the moment?

MB: Yeah, the original pieces I made were just mock-ups to see if I could get my idea to work, using Google-searched images for which I had no rights to distribution of, so I then used my own photography from around Glasgow and the Star Wars elements are actually 3-D models, which I created.

ST: I see you have an example of the process playing on one of the screens here.

MB: Yeah, I thought that would be quite cool to do a wee short video of how I put them together.

ST: How long did it actually take you?

MB: A couple of hours, the longest part was compositing in Photoshop which, as you can see, the amount of detail I had to go into to cut out for the trees.

ST: What about the other video project of the speeder bike ride through Glasgow? Was that yours?

MB: Yeah, I basically had the idea to strap a GoPro to one of my best friends Craig’s motorbike and said “Go on! Go for a wee trip around the city”, and took the footage and again with 3-D modelling overlaid the front forks of the speeder bike.

ST: So you didn’t actually have to modify a bike in any way?

MB: No, I doubt that would be road legal [laughs]; so that is all CGI and you can only do something like that on a motorbike to get the correct camera leaning and angles and such when cornering. This is part 1, I have another hours’ worth of footage to use so next week I’ll put in part 2 and then part 3.

ST: When did you start 3-D modelling?

MB: It was about 4 or 5 years ago. I am a sound engineer by trade and I was working at an event where they had a graphics guy in who had a logo spinning with a 3-D element that would drop down and I was like “how the hell do you do that?” So after chatting with him, he introduced me to a program called Cinema 4D by Maxon. The next thing I’m going on to do is, well, one of my friends is a camera guy and we are gonna go around Glasgow and shoot footage of Star Wars in Glasgow.

ST: So going from still images to full motion work?

MG: Yep, actual moving footage of Death Stars in Glasgow so it’ll be like: speeder bikes and the Millennium Falcon and other things flying about.

ST: Is this the 1st exhibition of your work?

MB: It is yes, a couple of people have been pushing me to do something for a few years but I am the world’s worst person for selling myself, which is bizarre because I am the marketing director for BHP comics; now THAT I can do! Sell myself? Rubbish! I started talking to my business partner, Sha Nazir as well as cartoonist Neil Slorance if they would do some pieces for it, then spoke to the staff in the Variety Bar if they would be interested.

ST: What else are you working on?

MB: There are 4 weeks of the exhibition left so I want to see how much headway I can make on the filming and 3-D animation to see if I can get that going, and another 4 or 5 pieces I want to add to it. The exhibition finishes the weekend of the 22nd October, and then I start work on an Edinburgh version of it for Capitol Sci-Fi Con which we’ll call Episode II: The Edinburgh Invasion!} else {