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Epcot International Festival of the Arts – Artist Profile Jenna McMullins

Image Courtesy of Jenna McMullins on Instagram (@battu_mando)

Disney+’s The Mandalorian took the world – or galaxy, rather – by storm with the introduction of Grogu, an adorable, unknown species akin to the Jedi Master Yoda. The ever-popular Grogu can be found everywhere for fans to indulge – as an interactive plush, on a pair of socks, even on children’s toothbrushes. 

Yet, artist Jenna McMullins expresses her adoration of Grogu and other beloved Star Wars characters through her digital art curated on her Instagram account, @battu_mando. In each square of her Instagram profile, digital paintings not only showcase McMullins’ talent, but explore Star Wars characters and narratives in a unique way.

One of these digital paintings McMullins shared showcases Grogu and the Mandalorian in a profound moment of ‘The Child’ using his Force abilities. The characters are surrounded by a painterly atmosphere of dark, warm tones. Skillful highlights create a light source drawing the viewer’s eye from the kneeling Mando’s baskar to the Force-suspended object and finally to the small Grogu in his oversized, yet ever-adorable garb. This dynamic painting explores connection – as Grogu feels the force and the Mandalorian gently reaches out to him, the viewer becomes immersed in this scene.

McMullins explained:

“I’ve been drawing since I was 10 years old. My passion from the beginning was making the most realistic pieces that I could. I went to college for Art and Design, and I currently make licensed work for Lucasfilm and Disney through various galleries.” 

As Star Wars characters inspired McMullins’ artistic endeavors, so does voice actor Ashley Eckstein. McMullins said that her biggest inspiration comes from Eckstein, who is also an avid Disney fan. Eckstein voices Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and created the fandom fashion brand “Her Universe.”

“[Eckstein] has inspired just about every decision I’ve made since I started my art career,” said McMullins. “I’ve never seen someone be so kind and inspire so much strength in others. She’s encouraged me and supported me through every step of my career, and it’s meant so much to me!” 

McMullins encouraged young and aspiring artists to “not let others tell you what you can and can’t do.”

“Growing up I had a very supportive family, which I’m thankful for, but not many supportive teachers, professionals, and other artists. I was told over and over that the art I was making wasn’t going to get me anywhere, that I had to change if I wanted to be a professional. It gave me a lot of self-doubt. Now I’m realizing how wrong that was, and that if you dream it, you can do it. So follow your heart when you’re creating. Don’t let anyone tell you that your work won’t get you places!”

McMullins’ dream after attending last year’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts was to be invited this year.

“At the time I was only doing art as a hobby, and a few months later I was contracted with Art Brand Studios, who distributes the Thomas Kinkade line,” explained McMullins. “I was asked to join the festival, along with some of the other artists for the brand. Thomas Kinkade normally has a large presence at the festival every year, and I’m very humbled to be a part of it.”

Visit McMullins at the Thomas Kinkade tent in World Showcase and be sure to follow her on Instagram to peruse her galactic gallery of artwork.

-Tiera Tanner

Tiera Tanner lives her life spreading pixie dust. Whether creating art in her studio, or raising her two young sons, Tiera is inspired by the magic of Disney, and is always encouraging her husband to plan their next trip to the parks.