Barbie and Han Solo Art

Bonnie Burton | September 3, 2008

Looks like Ken’s got some real competition for his gal. Artist Ben Walker pays tribute to Barbie and Han Solo in his art piece “A Love That Transcends Time, Space & Manufacturer.”

Walker chats with about the piece.

What made you decide to pair up Barbie and Han?
For Gallery 1988′s TOYS! show I wanted to play with the idea that as kids we don’t necessarily stick to the story lines supplied by TV, films and toy marketers. We would play out all kinds of fantasies and stories on our bedroom floor, and everything in our toy box was fair game in order to bring that story to life. I knew I wanted to do a piece that would poke fun at the idea of a forbidden love between characters that we held dear to our hearts but weren’t supposed to exist in the same universe.

While my 5-inch Han Solo may have had a few heated moments with The Baroness (Cobra!!!), I knew I had to go with my wife’s all time favorite childhood game: Han loves Barbie. She loved Han Solo so much that throughout elementary school, all of her class papers were about Han (until her teacher told her to find some new subject matter, BOOO!!); and she has always been a fan and collector of Barbie. So I put her in charge of setting up the photo shoot that would be my reference for this painting, She chose just the right Barbie and outfit, and unpacked her mint condition 12 inch Han. Then I did my best to get them to gaze longingly at each other for the camera.

What kind of materials did you use for the piece?
Han and Barbie are painted on separate panels connected by hinges, reminiscent of the old-timey duel-framed portraits of our great-grandparents. Keeping them separate but connected gives the viewer the impression that they love each other but are worlds apart. I think that’s something we all can relate to. Plus there is something so secretive and scandalous about it! I can just picture my wife as a 7 year-old playing out this scene: Barbie stands at the front door of her dream house, kisses Ken as he leaves for work, while Han parks the Millennium Falcon and swaggers toward her back door. Ha-ha! Shocking! Anyway, I put a lot of work into this piece and I’m glad it turned out.

Check here for more art by Ben Walker.


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