Coco Vader and X-Ray Troopers: LEGO 'Star Wars' Characters Get Quirky Art Makeovers (PHOTOS)

Proof Darth Vader can run the galaxy and work the runway

Photo: Courtesy Dale May

Luke, Leia and Han are coming back for the next chapter of the Star Wars story, and they’re bringing new friends.

Sadly, lightsaber lovers will have to wait until next year to see Episode VII, but we have Star Wars fun to enjoy right now.

In a galaxy not so far away – The Samuel Owen Gallery in Greenwich, Conn. – photographer Dale May has created LEGO Wars.

These bold Star Wars portraits take the franchise’s iconic characters and add a touch of pop culture whimsy. Whether it’s C-3PO in Louis Vuitton or the Stormtroopers at Disney World, the Star Wars crew has a whole new look. May talked to PEOPLE about the inspiration behind his (inter)stellar project, just in time for May the Fourth.

A photographer specializing in entertainment and advertising work, May was struggling to find his next personal project – until he spied a familiar face.

“I’ve always found that you can’t wait for inspiration. You just have to keep shooting and working,” May told PEOPLE. “I picked up my stormtrooper LEGO keychain and decided to approach it like any of my celebrity portraits.”

The result kickstarted a collection of portraits that give these tiny figurines larger than life personas.

“The first Star Wars movie is the first movie I saw in the theaters as a child, and this project is also my first venture into fine art,” said May. “So Star Wars has had a big impact on my life.”

The work has left an impression on others as well. Moby and Brendan Fraser have both stopped to see LEGO Wars, along with a surprising number of children. May says his toy-muses-turned-gallery-exhibit becoming a family affair is one of the most rewarding parts of his foray into fine art.

The project, which started with May’s single stormtrooper is now a collection of creative takes on how Jedis and droids would fit into today’s world, including our fashion houses.

“The characters just seem right at home in the glamorous backgrounds,” May said of his Star Wars sartorial shots.

For some, it was about the face behind the brand. “Coco Vader,” for instance, came to be after the artist noticed a strange likeness between Chanel head honcho Karl Lagerfeld and the Sith leader.

It’s hard to choose a LEGO Wars favorite, but when challenged with the task, the artist himself says “Chrome Trooper” and “X-Ray Trooper” are his personal picks. After all, it was these little minions who inspired the project.

Whether you fancy yourself a Sith or a Jedi, everyone can agree the creative force is strong with this artist.

To learn more about May’s LEGO Wars or to set up a viewing by appointment, visit the Samuel Owen Gallery.

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