Anybody Seen Han Solo?: Millennium Falcon lands in Bentonville

Anybody Seen Han Solo?: Millennium Falcon lands in Bentonville

Understand that art comes naturally to Tom Hoehn. He is chairman of Bentonville’s Public Arts Advisory Committee, and his “creative path,” as he puts it, “has involved watercolor and photography exhibitions and a series of digital and film activations,” including “experiences” for five Olympic Games, the Oscars, NASCAR races, the Bentonville Film Festival, Woodstock ’99, baseball’s World Series, Walt Disney World, Chautauqua Institution, and 24 Hours in Cyberspace, the first website to be included in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

But none of that explains why there’s a Millennium Falcon on the side of his Bentonville home. That’s a lot simpler.

“I wanted to do something with the ‘uglies’ that contain the utilities coming into our house.”

Hoehn was not a particular fan of the Star Wars franchise, although he says he’s always been a film buff. Instead, he quotes Albert Einstein to explain his thinking: “‘Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.’ That said, my creativity mojo flowed when I looked at those ‘uglies.’

“The amount of boxes and shapes reminded me of the many spaceships that one sees in sci-fi films,” he explains. “I looked up the Millennium Falcon and immediately thought — that’s it!

“People have asked if I projected it or had some sort of pattern,” he goes on. “That wasn’t the case at all. I just started drawing freehand on the wall incorporating the utility boxes and clapboards and kept going wondering if it would come together. I cautiously approached [wife] Paula with, ‘Ummm, I have this idea…’ Her immediate reaction was ‘Cool!’ From that moment, we were on!

“Early in the process, when I just had the white outline, someone was riding their bike by and asked if that was the Millennium Falcon. Paula answered, ‘It will be.’ That let me know that I was on the right track!”

Hoehn says he used leftover house paint to create the 12-foot design — “nothing fancy about it.”

“Once I started I couldn’t stop,” he says. “It was like the thrill of the chase — and in the end it worked out!”

Hoehn says he’s been told the Falcon looks more impressive in person, and he invites people to visit it in the alley behind the Record building in downtown Bentonville at 104 S.W. “A” St.

“I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off so I just started drawing and painting and kept at it. This is what I came up with.”

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