Not so long ago at a convention kind of far away…
Congratulations are in order for Shelter Island’s Matt Rohde and Water Mill’s Oliver Peterson (Dan’s Papers’ own Senior Web Editor). Rohde and Peterson’s works were chosen to be part of a collection of 24 winning photos from Hasbro’s #HasbroToyPic contest, which challenged artists to recreate scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens using Hasbro action figures. The series will be on display this weekend in Hasbro’s booth at San Diego Comic-Con.
Rohde, who is also a South Ferry captain, has been taking toy photos for years and has more than 24,800 Instagram followers. The artist’s winning photo depicts the Millennium Falcon being chased by a TIE Fighter during its escape from planet Jakku. “I can’t begin to explain how PSYCHED I am about this!” Rohde said, sharing the good news on Facebook last week. “This is great news for so many people that put their heart and soul into toy photography. Hopefully this leads to bigger and better things for ALL of us!”
To Hasbro, Rohde said, “A lot of what inspired me was the work I saw other toy photographers submitting. There’s a group of us that use each other to constantly push each other to do better work on a consistent basis.”
For more of Rohde’s work, visit his Instagram page, @x_captain_kaos_x. He will also be displaying and selling his photographs at the first East Hampton Pop-Up Comic Con, hosted by Archie Comics co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit, on Sunday, August 7.
Peterson’s photo also takes place on Jakku and shows the film’s heroine, Rey, traveling on her speeder early in the film. Peterson used a variety of materials to recreate the world around Rey and went to a local beach to give the background a striking authenticity.
A longtime artist, Peterson finds much satisfaction in this unique form. “I’ve been successful on a small level with my paintings since around 2003, but I took a break from painting a couple years ago and found a creative outlet messing with these action figures,” Peterson says, noting that he learned a lot from Rohde. “I have a huge collection of toys, but most of it has just sat in storage or on my shelves. This gave me something cool to do with my collection.”
One of the most stunning aspects of the photo series is the huge scale being conveyed with small materials. “I have really started looking at the world differently since getting into this. When you do this, you start to see things in the 6-inch or 3.75-inch scale,” Peterson says. It becomes second nature to scan every place I go for potential scenery. Of course I also create my own scenery and dioramas for both indoor and outdoor shots.”
See more of Peterson’s work on his Intagram account, @oliversees.