Prototype Fett Hybrid Painting by Adam Middleton
The internet has long proven to be a double edged sword for creative professionals around the world. Never in the history of humankind has artwork had the opportunity to be seen by so many people in so little time. On the other hand, mere “exposure” by itself has never paid any bills, and especially when the artist’s name is ommitted entirely. Both sides of the coin have been true for Adam Middleton, a talented young concept designer from New Zealand.
We know this, because Adam’s stunning hybrid painting has been a popular fixture in Star Wars and Boba Fett fan circles since before the White Boba Fett project even launched, and we only ran across an artist credit for the first time recently: over two full years after its debut. Still better late than never, and we could not be more excited to feature this already-iconic piece. Even when viewed side by side with the original base photo, it takes a lot of head turning to determine exactly where the photograph ends and Adam’s painting begins. The addition of the snowtrooper crouched behind the crashed snowspeeder in the background provides the perfect finishing touches. Phenomenal.
In addition to learning a bit more about his well-known artwork, we also made sure to ask Adam plenty of questions about himself. After all, not everyone gets to work at a prestigious world-renowned special effects and design studio like Weta Workshop, and especially not starting at the young age of 20. We are always fascinated by highly accomplished outliers and fortunately for us and our readers, Adam offers us some behind-the-scenes glimpses into his amazing achievements. Thanks Adam!
What are three interesting facts about you?
I am 24 years old and have been working as a professional concept designer for the last 4 years. I live in Wellington, New Zealand, and have also represented New Zealand at multiple international sailing regattas.
What were your earliest Star Wars memories?
I remember watching A New Hope in primary school one day. I was probably 5 or 6. I then remember heading out to the playground pretending we were the Rebel Alliance taking down the mighty Galactic Empire!
How did you first know you wanted to be a concept designer?
I came across The Art of The Return of the King book. I couldn’t believe that people got to design castles and swords for their job! I had my sights set on becoming a concept artist from then on.
What artists and/or artwork have been the most inspiring to you?
Many people dream of doing what you do, but very few actually make it. What can you tell us about your journey to becoming a professional concept designer at Weta Workshop?
It’s a bit of a long story! In 2012 I spent two weeks painting armor and props at Weta Workshop for The Hobbit trilogy. That was my first foot in the door. Then again towards the end of 2013 I was brought back to work on Warcraft, doing a similar job. During that time I had been working on my portfolio and bugging Rik, the design team manager, for a job on his team. He eventually gave in, and another designer, Jeremy Hanna, and I started on the same day in March of 2014. They haven’t managed to get rid of us yet!
What is the single piece of Star Wars art that you are most proud of?
It’s hard to choose one. I like different pieces for different reasons, but I think the ones that stand out to me are the vehicle designs I did from the ILM Challenge. To me, I felt like they successfully fit into the established Star Wars design language.
Speaking of which, please tell us about your participation in the ILM Challenge, and congratulations on having several pieces selected as ILM Favorites!
It was such an awesome opportunity! At first I wasn’t going to take part because it was going to be so time-intensive, and I would have to do it on top of my full time job at Weta Workshop. However, it was far too good of an experience to pass up! So there were a lot of late nights, especially in the later part of the challenge. I don’t think all the work I did was the best I could have done, but I was fortunate enough to make it all the way to the end and managed to make some good industry contacts in the process. So well worth it.
We need to talk about your “Prototype Fett” painting. Saying that it looks insanely realistic would be a hilarious understatement. What can you tell us about it?
I have always loved the white prototype Boba Fett design. I have a Sideshow Collectibles of it on my desk next to me right now. I have always had a passion for the snow too, so one day this idea came to me of bringing the two together, as if it was some alternate armor that Boba Fett would wear in winter environments. The painting itself is done over the top of a US Navy SEAL, which provided the perfect base. I then painted in Boba Fett’s armor as well as the addition of the smoking snowspeeder and background.
You have already worked on some of the biggest films of 2016 and 2017 so this question may be a little odd, but what is your dream goal as a concept artist?
I would love to work on a Star Wars film, game, and/or TV show. I love that universe and would jump at the opportunity to contribute something to it. I also have aspirations to be a LEGO designer, which is quite possibly a more childish job than a concept designer, although not by much!
Lastly, what was the best piece of advice you’ve been given that you’d like to share with aspiring concept designers?
Study the world around you, and have an active imagination.
About the Artist
Adam Middleton was born in 1993 and began working at Weta Workshop as a concept designer in March of 2014. Prior to transitioning to a concept designer, he worked as a workshop technician on The Hobbit and Warcraft building and painting armor and props. Since working as a concept designer, Adam has worked on Pacific Rim: Uprising, Altered Carbon (TV Series), Blade Runner 2049, Ghost in the Shell, The Great Wall, The Expanse (TV Series), as well as a World War I exhibition in Wellington, New Zealand, called Gallipoli: The Scale of our War. The exhibition went on to become the most successful New Zealand exhibition of all time, with over 700,000 visitors in its first year in a city with a population of under 300,000. Adam’s work can be seen on ArtStation, Instagram, and Facebook.