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OK... enough of life's sad losses. Let's take a look at those who are still with us and inspire anew each day! Caesar102 ( caesar120.deviantart.com/ ) , known to legal documents as Michael Vilardi, is an old friend and illustrator whose work constantly raises the bar for me… like a mean old bully who took my lunch and keeps it just outside of reach  :) Mike's always had mad drawing skills and began to seriously pursue it by attending the Rhode Island School of Design… but life gave him a wedgie and the plan changed. But there's no putting a damper on skills like his.

'Make A Move' by caesar120 Feral Attack! by caesar120 Dragon's Breath: Color Test by caesar120


I met Mike sometime in the 80's (insert wholly fabricated war story, here). When I became art director at Digest Group Publications I opened the door for him there where he produced some great art and proved himself to be the definitive artist for the Aslan alien race. I pulled Mike with me over to do work for West End Games on Paranoia and ultimately the Star Wars RPG.

'Aslan Attack' by caesar120 MegaTraveller: Arrival Vengeance by caesar120 'Tactical Error' by caesar120

Mike's Star Wars work left the rest of us in the dust. The opportunity to work on that license seemed to make his already considerable illustrative fires burn even brighter. We were there as the doors began to open on The Expanded Universe, allowing both of us to leave out fingerprints on the visual look of some key characters and hardware. Mike was one of the first artists to bring Mara Jade's image to life.

'Hold On Tight' by caesar120 'Cantina' by caesar120 'Blindside' by caesar120

These days Mike's ( caesar120.deviantart.com/ ) still doing some sporadic gaming work, as well as taking on private commissions. And his work still embodies all those elements that make space operatic SF so much fun to dive into.
  • Mood: Peaceful
  • Listening to: Bagel Radio
  • Reading: Biocentrism by Robert Lanza
  • Watching: Arrow
  • Drinking: To lost friends and family
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:iconfarwanderer:
Farwanderer Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014
My favorite Star Wars artist of all time. A self confessed Vilardi junkie. ;)

No treatment for me, I love the addiction. I only wish I had a tenth of his talent! :)
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014
Very kind words, Eric. Much appreciated! I will do my best to make sure you can find the necessary "junk" to feed your addiction. *smile* Hey...I should send you an original...you can burn it...and snort the ashes! HA! You know...ala Keith Richards!
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:iconfarwanderer:
Farwanderer Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014
Is that how he seems to keep living forever? lol! I can assure that if you ever sent an original it would never be burned, I would only snort (huff?) the ink on the paper. Then of course I would have to explain the ink stains. :)
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014
Well you've got your work cut out for you, Eric. You would need to create an ink-stain story that would rival Richard's tale of snorting his dad's ashes. That's a tall order!
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:iconvargas09:
Vargas09 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014
Mike has done work recently for the Thousand Suns RPG.

And he's good as ever!
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014
Thank you for saying so, Doug. *smile* I enjoyed making my small contribution to 'Thousand Suns'. Totally worth the effort!
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:icondeepblu742:
Deepblu742 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
"whose work constantly raises the bar for me… like a mean old bully who took my lunch" Ha, that fits some folks around here while I seem stuck in creative block hell, such is life. Wow, this guy has enormous talent for dramatic figure poses and interaction. Some just have "it" in that regard.

I hope artists like him and yourself will find a revival to make your talents work for you again like in the past. SF needs a cultural shift back to appreciating illustration and talent whether hand drawn or 3d/computer based of a true emotive real caliber. I just watched an amazing docu on Drew Struzman...wow, why the movie industry stopped using talent like that for quick crappy photoshop work from college grads is beyond me. Hopefully the audience will soon recognize that a fast new technology tricks from the Adobe bag doesn't equate to quality work.
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014

A revival? I hope so as well, Hethatis. It would be a great thing to find a steady stream of paying work again. I don't feel that my skills were ever "in demand" so to speak...and that wasn't important to me anyway. I reveled in the opportunity to create. Not just for myself, but also for others. I would love to get back into creating in the Star Wars universe. I've tried knocking on the door of Fantasy Flight Games...but no one answers! *smile*


 As for Drew Struzan...I'm not surprised that the movie industry quickly turned their collective backsides. That's the nature of The Beast to quickly lose interest and abruptly change direction. I'm willing to bet, however, that Mr. Struzan has continued to create fantastic art with his trademark excellence and inimitable style.

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:icontonystardreamer:
tonystardreamer Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I watched this guy a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, his art is amazing. Stormtrooper 
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:icontonystardreamer:
tonystardreamer Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I watched this guy a long time ago, his art is amazing. :)
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
Garrett...*shaking head*....You can't say 'long time ago' without following it with '..in a galaxy far, far away.'  *smile* Star Wars 101, my friend!
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:icontonystardreamer:
tonystardreamer Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Of course, how could I have forgotten. Well I fixed it, posted a new comment.

Speaking of Star Wars, what are your thoughts on the upcoming episodes 7, 8, and 9 as well as the show Star Wars Rebels
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014
I'm looking forward to seeing VII.  The word is that they will try to create the same "feel" as the original Trilogy. I can get into that. If that attitude carries over into VIII and IX...there could be a lot to be excited about for quite awhile. As for 'Rebels'...I haven't really seen or heard much. But I liked 'Clone Wars' for the most part, so if they keep the quality of the writing running at a high level...could be cool.
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:icontonystardreamer:
tonystardreamer Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
If they can get the new movies to have the same "feel" as the original Trilogy, that' would be awesome.

I really like Clone Wars, but as much as I liked it I hope Rebels will feel like the original Trilogy rather than just the Clone Wars in a different time.
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:iconmetalsnail:
MetalSnail Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I found his work about a month ago, a very skilled guy!
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
I make a damn good banana quiche as well! *smile* Ooo...on second thought...banana quiche? Ew.
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:iconmad-geo:
Mad-Geo Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014
Mike's work really made Star Wars RPG really come alive.
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014
Thank you, Mark! Those were very gratifying years for me in terms of artistic expression. I credit Rob Caswell with opening that door for me.
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:icontaka67:
Taka67 Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014
I hate life wedgies. :nuu:
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
Yeah. Life Wedgies truly suck, Lee. And mine was a double-wedge. Still...dealing with that trauma lead me to travel a path that has allowed me to meet some great people who I may not have known otherwise.  It was a painful time..and yes, it changed the course of my life. But it has turned into a satisfying course-change.
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:icontaka67:
Taka67 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
I went through some self-inflicted financial wedgies a few years back, it sucked, but I guess I'm on a better path now.
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:iconkhairulhisham:
KhairulHisham Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014   General Artist
Been a fan since West End Games. Very, very honored to be sharing art credits with him on the Westward RPG.
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014
If there is a singular benefit to be found regarding this internet thingy *smile* it's the idea that I can connect with other artists such as yourself, Khairul. Truly truly a blessing!
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:iconkhairulhisham:
KhairulHisham Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014   General Artist
:)
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:iconphaeton99:
Phaeton99 Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Another fine artist for the watch list...  :D
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:iconcaesar120:
caesar120 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014
Much appreciated, Phae!
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