Check out the letter below from the creator of the life size Rancor head pictured above, Chris Scalf:
"I'll give you a little backstory here; I am a commercial artist who primarily works in the advertising industry... Currently, I do pretty well with that sort of work. But it wasn't always that way...
Back in 2002, our daughter of only 3 was diagnosed with autism. Being that health insurance does not cover autism, we went through some heavy hard times financially. But eventually, I made my way to a modest success as a freelance artist. In the process of going through everything, my wife developed a support group for parents of autistic children in our county where we live.
As our situation continued to improve financially, we got to know lots of other families who were going through the same painful situations as we did in the beginning. And I realized how lucky and blessed I was to have a God given gift of art ability to recover from our circumstance.
And so, each year at our local Motor City Comic Con we set up a table or booth to try and raise funds for these other families of autistic children. It seems to grow each year. Basically, I sell prints of my original art depicting scifi creatures etc. and we also sell raffle tickets for people to win large prints of some of my paintings which are donated by another company. All of the proceeds go to these families, which we have selected to sponsor and help. But each year, I try to create some crazy LARGE sculpture, (out of CUSHION FOAM of all things) such as large dinosaurs, a giant Kong-beast like head, etc.. (see examples here)
Well, last year things kind of came full circle with the whole Star Wars connection. I had just gotten my chance to do my first ever Star Wars related job! It was the R2-D2 malboxes for the USPS via one of our Ad Agency clients. (Check them out here) Of course, I had brought in framed pics of it at the con to show it off!
And not too far from where we were set up was the 501st display. We were approached by Roger Rehman of the 501st with an inquiry about possibly building a Jabba the Hutt for them. It's funny, cuz that same day I had my autistic daughter with me- at the time she was 8-- and she just LOOOVES Star Wars! And she just loved seeing REAL Star Wars characters up close and in person! She kept grabbing Darth Vader and Storm Troopers by the arm, and trying to "steal" them back to our table! It was so fun to see her as tickled as she was!
But when Roger came to me about building them something, I was merely thinking of a smaller trade where my daughter could be allowed to get back in their area and be closer to them. As I started to talk about what I was thinking-- Roger very quickly chimed in about helping push people over to our display to help our cause!! EXCITING!
Well, as the months went by, obviously the Jabba was dropped in favor of the Rancor. And so, at this years con, we basically had a set up where we were sort of across the the aisle from the 501st where they displayed the Rancor!! And as promised, the big creature head drew a lot of public interest-- and as they said they would, the 501st directed a lot more people our way!!
We are currently trying to do our part in the the whole cause for autism awareness. We are almost finished setting up our government paperwork as a legit non-profit organization (501 (c) 3 status) entitled "The Creative Alliance For Autsim". Basically, it is a place where people such as myself can use the creative industry in which we work to make the right connections happen for other people with autistc children. I have run into so many people in my line of work.
Anyway-- thanks for reading. I know it was long... But that's the story!
I attached some screen grabs and a video documentary I shot while making this thing. I hope you enjoy!"