Stormtrooper Rainbow Blast

Several months ago I received an email with a sub­ject line that made my heart flut­ter more than either of the OkCu­pid noti­fi­ca­tions it was nes­tled between.

It read: STAR WARS ART, sent by one Luke Lom­bardo.

I held my breath and bit the inside of my cheek. I hoped that Lombardo’s was not the name of a NYC pizza joint that was sim­ply send­ing me a well-tar­geted coupon offer.

Thank­fully, The Force was my ally (I was think­ing of Lombardi’s Pizza). Luke was writ­ing to thank me for a shout-out dur­ing an old episode of TC Cribs.

It came back to me imme­di­ately. I’d been tour­ing YouTube’s office when I encoun­tered the mas­ter­pe­ice you see above and promptly spazzed out — read­ing his name aloud and declar­ing that it might be my favorite piece of art, ever (my spaz-out comes around 1:20 into this video). As a result of this shout-out, he said, there’d been a flurry of inbound requests for prints of his work.

At the time he wasn’t set up to make prints that would do his art jus­tice, so he decided to do some­thing about it: he started a com­pany called Art For Peo­ple, which now spe­cial­izes in sell­ing pro­fes­sional-qual­ity prints on stretched can­vas, fea­tur­ing a curated selec­tion of Lombardo’s work and pieces from other artists. He wanted to send me a copy of Stormtrooper with Rain­bow Blast as a thank-you for help­ing get him moti­vated to launch his com­pany.

My ini­tial instinct was to shrug it off with an ‘aw, shucks’ — after all, I’d only done what any self-respect­ing geek would do in the face of such awe­some­ness. But it also made me reflect a bit on my time at TechCrunch. Few peo­ple get the chance, as I did, to stand on a plat­form that high and point at neat stuff and have it make a sig­nif­i­cant impact on peo­ples’ lives. When I was still writ­ing for TC that influ­ence was some­thing I tried not to dwell on — it made me anx­ious — but in hind­sight it just makes me feel remark­ably lucky.

After fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion I also real­ized there’s a line between humil­ity and stu­pid­ity, and in this case it was very clear — so I sent Luke my address, and he sent me a gor­geous print of Stormtrooper, which will be promi­nently fea­tured in my home forever.

If you’re keen to get one for your­self, you can find it here, and there’s a bunch of other great art avail­able on the main Art For Peo­ple site. Lombardo’s work is also fea­tured in an exhibit inspired by 80s movies that’s being held at the Gauntlet Gallery in San Fran­cisco. The exhibit is fit­tingly called, “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

Thanks again, Luke, and con­grat­u­la­tions on your ven­ture. May The Force be with you.

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