There’s no question that Star Wars is an international phenomenon. Notwithstanding, the franchise has never been as successful in Asian markets, China in particular. Donnie Yen (Rogue One; Mulan) once spoke on the topic, noting that part of the reason for this disconnect is that Chinese audiences simply didn’t grow up with Star Wars as we did here in the United States. That’s not to say, however, that there are no fans at all. In fact, one Chinese artist is such a fan that he’s created a stunning new piece of Star Wars art tying the franchise to his Eastern culture.

Star Wars art; Darth Vader
Image: Huang Hai

“Star Wars is a story for the world,” says artist Huang Hai in speaking to The incredibly talented Chinese poster artist recently shared his vision of the franchise to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The Star Wars art immediately captivates you, depicting a Jedi padawan in contemplation. The windows through which the young apprentice peers, though, are not what they seem. The padawan sees the galaxy through the mask of Darth Vader.

New Star Wars art, with an Eastern aesthetic

“I hoped to express the Force through the lens of Eastern aesthetics. To show it through traditional Chinese art forms other than ink painting and Chinese brush calligraphy. I meant to show what a Jedi represents in terms of Eastern philosophies. A Jedi embodies a kind of culture, and cultures, per se, are always interlinked.”

Artist Huang Hai
Star Wars art; Darth Vader
Image: Huang Hai

Hai would go on to note the parallels between the Jedi and ancient Chinese warriors: “Jedi have a lot in common with Xia Ke, the Chinese knights in the traditional martial arts novels. Both fascinate me.” That didn’t make the task of creating a unique piece of Star Wars art based on his own influences any easier, though. The artwork’s contemplative theme, “looking into oneself by looking into the Force,” is all about balance.

Finding balance

“This is why I chose to look into the Force from the inside of the helmet. Facing the temptation from the dark side of the Force is a test that every padawan faces. Isn’t it a test that everyone faces in real life? The Force is like the two sides of light. There is the dark side and there is the light side, and they always co-exist. It is how the universe always is. What we should do is to find the balance in it.”

For Huang Hai, the Star Wars art he’s created is all about interpretation. “Everyone will come to their own conclusion. Star Wars is a universal story. Wherever we come from, we can always relate to this story and arrive at an understanding of our own.”