Category Archives: Artist Inspirations

Artist Inspirations: 2023 Data and Spot

2023 Data and Spot

In 2023, Hallmark will be releasing an ornament of Data with his pet cat, Spot. The ornament’s reproduces Data reciting Ode to Spot, a poem he wrote about his four-legged friend.

Spot, on the ornament, is represented as an American Shorthair but would appear in the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a male Somali cat. In subsequent seasons, Spot would “become” a female American Shorthair. After Star Trek: The Next Generation, Spot would make appearances in two Star Trek movies. Years later, we would even see Spot II in Star Trek: Picard.

2017 Picard and Data

The 2023 ornament’s base was previously used by Hallmark on the 2017 Picard and Data ornament. The red and tan base, labeled Star Trek: The Next Generation, houses the circuitry and speaker for the audio recording.

In this year’s ornament, Data cradles Spot with his left arm, his right hand near the nape of his neck. Data’s use of his left arm to anchor the feline is a hint that the ornament is based off an on-screen image because Brent Spiner, too, is left-handed.

TNG’S “Schisms” (S6, E5)

Data was not holding Spot when he recited Ode to Spot in the 6th season episode “Schisms”. Instead, Data was sitting, arms empty and by his side. In fact, the entire episode is Spot-less.

So, let’s try to find the moment that inspired the sculpt of the ornament by revisiting Spot’s television and big screen appearances.

Left: “Data’s Day” (S4,E11), Right: “In Theory” (S4, E25)

Data holds Spot in a similar position as seen on the ornament in both “Data’s Day” and “In Theory” but Spot is not an American Shorthair in these episodes.

Left: “A Fistful of Datas” (S6, E8), Right: “Birthright I” (S6, E16)

Data briefly holds Spot in a left-handed cradle in “A Fistful of Datas” but he never faces the camera in a useful way for an artist to use it as inspiration. In “Birthright I”, we briefly see Spot sitting in the Captain’s chair and in what may be the most factually accurate Star Trek moment ever…the cat just lies there.

Left: “Descent II” (S7, E1), Right: “Phantasms” (S7, E6)

“Descent II” can be ruled out since the only attention Spot receives is from Geordi. Spot is in three scenes in “Phantasms”, none of which have Data holding Spot as he does on the ornament. Instead, Data handles Spot in a two-handed hoisted position.

Left: “Force of Nature” (S7, E9), Right: “Genesis” (S7, E19)

In “Force of Nature” Data, once again, holds Spot with both hands under her front two legs. Notably, in this episode, Spot is referred to as a female for the first time. Spot’s sex is definitively confirmed in “Genesis” when she gives birth to a litter of kittens. Still, Data never holds her as he does on the ornament.

Above: “Star Trek: Generations”

Spot made her big screen debut appearing in two scenes of 1994’s Star Trek: Generations. The first scene, Data picks Spot up off the table. The second, Data holds spot close to his chest after discovering she survived the crash landing of the Enterprise-D. Neither resemble the ornament sculpt.

Left: “Star Trek: Nemesis”. Right: “Star Trek: Nemesis” deleted scene.

In Star Trek: Nemesis, Data’s brother, B-4 holds Spot in a similar position as the ornament. In a deleted scene from Nemesis, Worf and Geordi clean out Data’s room and Worf appears to take ownership of Spot as he cradles him right-handed.

Star Trek Picard’s “Et in Arcadia Ego I” (S1, E9)

Spot II appeared in Star Trek: Picard as an artificial life-form made in the likeness of an American Shorthair. Nothing in the episode seems to have inspired our ornament.

Left: “Data’s Day” (S4,E11), Right: 2023 Data and Spot Hallmark ornament

After reviewing Spot’s eleven screen appearances, we circle back to his first appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The position of Spot’s left paw on the computer console is the first clue that the ornament was modeled after this moment in “Data’s Day” and not the scene from Star Trek: Nemesis. Further confirmation comes after comparing the position of Data’s arms and sleeve cuffs, they are nearly identical.

Hallmark appears to have used the image from “Data’s Day” when Data is seated and holding Spot at the computer console. The Somali breed that was used in the scene was substituted for the more common American Shorthair breed used in following seasons. The ornament shows Data standing and Hallmark needed to look no further than the 2017 Picard and Data ornament for a pair of Data legs and a Next Generation ornament base to place them on. Add the recording of Ode to Spot and we have the 2023 Data and Spot ornament!

Ode to Spot

Felis Catus is your
taxonomic nomenclature
An endothermic quadruped
carniverous by nature
Your visual, olfactory,
and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills
and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued
by your sub-vocal oscillations
A singular development
of cat communications
That obviates your
basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur
to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential
for your acrobatic talents
You would not be so agile
if you lacked its counterbalance
And when not being utilized
to aid in locomotion
It often serves to illustrate
the state of your emotion.

Oh Spot, the complex levels of
behavior you display
Denote a fairly well developed
cognitive array
And though you are not sentient,
Spot, and do not comprehend
I nonetheless consider you
a true and valued friend.

-Lt. Commander Data

Other Artist Inspirations…

Artist Inspirations: McCoy (1997)

In the 90s many of the Star Trek Keepsake character ornaments were modeled after publicity stills taken to promote their respective series during their original run. At first glance the 1997 McCoy ornament appears to be just a generic pose but it bears an uncanny resemblance to a publicity still taken thirty years earlier.

Comparing the ornament to the photo (see below) the medical tricorder slung from McCoy’s left shoulder to right hip, head looking slightly off center toward his right and his right arm bent and away from his body.

During the 90s, Hallmark refrained from placing a hook in a character’s head or body so character ornaments were integrated with scenery. It is likely McCoy’s pose was lifted from the publicity photo below and incorporated with a transporter chamber to sidestep the hook issue.

More ‘Artist Inspirations’…

Artist Inspirations: 1992 Galileo Shuttlecraft

The Galileo’s unfortunate condition in 2012 as it was going up for up auction.
Top: 2013 image after restoration. The Galileo ornament was quite an accurate sculpt for 1992. The only standout differences are the rounded roof rails that were straightened and the lack of landing pads.
Galileo’s unveiling at Johnson Space Center in Houston where it has resided since 2013.
The restored shuttlecraft was used for an episode of Star Trek Continues, 2014’s ”Fairest of Them All”.

Artist Inspirations: Tabletop Transporter (2019)

In what first appears to be a sculpt that would likely be an aggregate of different poses turns out to be from one image.

All three characters in the same pose, phasers on their sides and tricorder hanging from McCoy’s right shoulder.

Sculptor, Orville Wilson, took a few liberties by slimming down the uniforms while bulking up the physiques. I would be happy to have Mr. Wilson commissioned to design a statue in my ”likeness” after I am gone.

Artist Inspirations: Legends Series

The iconic poses found in the Hallmark Legends series can be found in Trek merchandise like character standees, trading cards, figures and posters.

Left: Cardboard Standee Cutout on Amazon.
Middle: 2016 Dave and Buster’s trading card.
Right: Uhura poster.

Many of the Hallmark Legends poses can be found in the Star Trek Quotable Notables Boxed Card Set that was first available on Amazon in 2017, the year after the final Legends ornament was released.

Send the coolest greetings with this Star Trek Quotable Noteables Boxed Card Set! Each boxed set includes cards and sticker sheets of your favorite Star Trek characters. 
Characters include: Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov. Box Contents: 7 Cards, 7 Envelopes, 7 Sticker sheets.

Star Trek Quotable Notables Boxed Card Set
Left: Season 3, Episode 14 “That Which Survives”
Middle: 2010 Hallmark Legends: Kirk.
Right: Star Trek Quotable Notables Boxed Set.
Left: Likely publicity still taken on the set during ”City on the Edge of Forever”.
Middle: 2012 Hallmark Legends: McCoy.
Right: Star Trek Quotable Notables Boxed Set.
Image from “City on the Edge of Forever”.
Left: Nichelle Nichols as Uhura in a 1966 publicity still, the Legends ornament has slightly less hair and missing the front overlap on her skirt.
Middle: 2015 Hallmark Legends: Uhura.
Right: Star Trek Quotable Notables Boxed Set.
Left: Season 2, Episode 2 ”Who Mourns for Adonis”
Middle: 2016 Hallmark Legends: Chekov.
Right: Star Trek Quotable Notables Boxed Set.

Four of the seven Legends ornaments share the same pose as those that can be found in Star Trek Notable Quotables Box Set but three Legends ornaments did not as you can see below.

Top Row: Star Trek Quotable Notables.
Bottom Row: 2011 Hallmark Legends: Spock , 2014 Hallmark Legends: Sulu, 2013 Hallmark Legends: Scotty.
Left: Season 1, Episode 8: “Miri”
Right: 2011 Hallmark Legends: Spock.
Left: Season 3, Episode 14 “That Which Survives”
Right: 2014 Hallmark Legends: Sulu.

Interestingly, both Kirk and Sulu in the Legends series were modeled after moments in the same episode when the away team visited a Moon-sized planet.

Left: Season 2, Episode 6 “The Doomsday Machine”.
Middle: From the game Star Trek Timelines.
Right: 2013 Hallmark Legends: Scotty.

Scotty seen holding a Trident Scanner which was used to repair power relays. 

The term “trident scanner,” was first described almost thirty years later, in the script for “Trials and Tribble-ations,” where the device is apparently named after its general shape, which resembles a trident.

Memory Alpha

I’ll take some of the credit/blame for the standees deviations! In the design phase, when I was asked about Spock, I said something to the effect of, “Can we please NOT have him just standing there doing the hand thing?” And we didn’t. I remember being asked what Scotty could be doing, and I suggested his use of the trident scanner; it’s my favorite of his engineering tools. As for the Sulu deviation, I’m pretty confident the decision was made early that Kirk would be the only one of the seven brandishing a hand phaser. We did want each of the Star Trek Legends appear to be actively doing something, so Sulu got a tricorder. I mean, legends don’t just stand there!

A closer look should show that of all our Star Trek ornaments, the percentage depicting the use or display of a weapon is pretty low. By my (quick) count, it’s only nine:

1996—Riker (phaser)

1999—Worf (bat’leth)

2010—Kirk and Spock (lirpa)

2013—Gorn and Kirk (stone dagger)

2018—Kirk and Sulu (épée), M’Ress and Arex (phaser)

2020—Sulu (dagger), Uhura (dagger)

2021—Chekov (phaser)

We prefer not to show weapons in our Star Trek ornaments but we will when we feel it adds to the storytelling aspect of a design. Note that in 2018, the Kirk design released that year by Hallmark Ornaments substituted a communicator for the phaser he typically carries in that stance of his Quogs design, a move that was intentional on our part. Not familiar with Star Trek Quogs? Check out this link from 2009—you’ll even see the greeting card we did with them.

-Kevin Dilmore, February 22, 2022

Note: 2019—Transporter (Kirk, Spock and McCoy with phasers)

Artist Inspirations: Picard (2021)

It appears the 2021 Hallmark Picard ornament was inspired by a deleted scene or photo from the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s series finale, ”All Good Things…”.

Left: 2021 Hallmark Picard ornament.
Middle: Picard on set of The Next Generation’s ”All Good Things…”.
Above: Images of Picard on trial in ”Encounter at Farpoint” with crew by his side and standing on an unlit platform confirming the inspirational image was not taken from this episode with a similar set.
Left: Image from ”All Good Things…” where Q questions Picard. Picard stands during every trial scene with his arms at his sides.
Right: Picard’s pose with right hand over left is never seen during the episode which makes it likely from a deleted scene or an onset photo due to coverage of the series’ finale.

The only other images I could find of Picard in the same pose…

Left: Image from “Jean-Luc Picard Was the Father Figure I Needed”,, January 9, 2020.
Right: 2014 set of salt and pepper shakers.

I would take great delight if the artist’s inspiration was taken from a salt shaker.