It’s hard not to notice “The Vader Project”as you walk down Melrose Avenue. The display window is a traffic-stopper. There’s Darth Vader as a samurai, Darth Vader with rainbow flags and, if you strain your eyes just a bit, there are rows and rows of fantastically revamped Darth Vader helmets behind them.
Dov Kelemer and Sarah Jo Marks, who run distributor DKE Toys, wanted to put together an art show, but platform shows had been done time and again and they were looking for something different. Kelemer thought Darth Vader would work. They had friends at Master Replicas, who license the villain’s iconic helmet, and were able to score 100 prop replicas. Then they contacted a wide range of artists. Response was enthusiastic and they received six finished pieces, including graphically bold mixed media piece from Dalek, early on in the development of the show. By 2007, roughly two years after first conceiving the project, Kelemer and Marks were traveling to Star Wars Celebration events with sixty-six helmets. Now, they are preparing to auction the individual pieces. The Los Angeles Preview Exhibition will run until June 20, with an artist signing today. Then the collection will move to Freeman’s Auction House in Philadelphia, where the auction will take place on July 10.
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