Special Feature: Mondo
So then for this piece I’ve grabbed just a taster selection from the Mondo back catalogue, I’ll add some notes on those in a moment, then run the Q& A kindly supplied by Mondo’s creative director Justin Ishmael. First up though here’s some background information…
Mondo is the collectable art boutique of the Alamo Drafthouse. If you’re not familiar with the theatre, it’s a world-renowned cinema eatery and has been named the “best theatre in America” by Entertainment Weekly. The Alamo Drafthouse is based in Austin, TX and there are currently 10 theatres in Texas and Virginia, with plans to expand nationwide. The Alamo Drafthouse derives its reputation from its incredible programming. Mondo creates the poster artwork for special Alamo Drafthouse events (see the examples from the nationwide Rolling Roadshow tour, a yearly event where Alamo Drafthouse goes on the road to show famous movies in famous places — http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/events/rollingroadshow/). And in addition to creating posters for Alamo Drafthouse screenings/events, Mondo also has acquired licenses for properties like Star Wars, Star Trek and Universal Monsters. They work with artists across the world to create original works of art that are screen printed, hand numbered and limited to small quantities for collectors.
Some quick notes then on the featured posters here; 3 of the greatest Sci-Fi Movies ever made and one the strangest (no prizes for guessing which that is!).
Top: “The Empire Strikes Back” 1980, Directed by Irvin Kershner. Without a doubt, the greatest of the Starwars Trilogy, absolutely love this interpretation by Tyler Stout so cool it actually includes Boba Fett not once but three times, superb!.
2nd top: “The Holy Mountain”. This beautifully rendered screen print by Florian Bertmer perfectly captures (or suggests) the tone of this nightmarish, psychedelic extravaganza, directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky in 1973.
3rd top: “The Thing” By John Carpenter 1982. More astonishing artwork from Tyler Stout this time for perhaps my favourite ever Sci-Fi Movie, well it’s this or Aliens. Love the composition here, featuring every member of the films all-male cast, would absolutely love a copy of this, but alas, it’s long since sold out!
Bottom: “Alien” an extremely sinister interpretation of Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi/horror masterpiece, this poster lovingly crafted by Australian Ken Taylor, also available in glow in the dark inks!
** Interview **
Q: How longs Mondo been going and when/How did you get involved?
We’ve been going for about 5 years or so. I took over at the beginning of 2009. There are three of us that run the company creatively. Myself, Rob Jones and Mitch Putnam. We all come from different backgrounds so it really helps with deciding what projects we take, what artists we get, etc.
• What’s your day to day role with Mondo involve?
My day to day is pretty time-consuming. I am technically the creative director, but I run the backend and all of the social networking stuff, number all of the posters, negotiate all of the deals, talk to studios, etc. We all wear many hats at Mondo as we’re a relatively small company.
• What’s been the highlights of 2010 for Mondo? any favourite pieces?
Well, 2010 has been a breakout year for us. We really got on some good projects like Universal Monsters, Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. We also go to work on some big movies like IRON MAN 2 and SCOTT PILGRIM. Personally, I think it’s cool when we get to spotlight smaller movies like THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE or MONSTERS. Most of the general public doesn’t know what those movies are because they’re not getting advertised during commercials of TWO AND A HALF MEN or whatever, so I like to think that we can help spread the word by doing a poster for them. I also really love the Universal Monsters series. I have a DEEP love for those films, so it’s really cool to open your inbox and see an image you’ve never seen before for something that is so iconic and recognizable.
• And what’s lined up for 2011
Well, 2011 as it stands right now looks like it will be bigger than 2010. We have A LOT of projects lined up right now and a lot of things pending. One of the most exciting things is the Director Series we just started with Guillermo Del Toro. We have about two or three other big name directors lined up right now, so it will be a fun thing to do every once in a while for 2011. Plus, we’ve signed some new contracts for licenses…it’s just a lot of secret things that I can’t share. haha
• Any particular type of SciFi/Horror/Fantasy that you feel particularly drawn too or aligned too (personally)?
Those are my favourite genres, which is weird because I was born in ’84 so I really grew up in the 90’s and watched nothing but action movies. My grandfather is the one that got me into sci-fi movies. I remember the first time I watched PLANET OF THE APES so clearly. The scene where they catch Heston in the net and he says the “Get your paws off me” line I said “WOW” aloud. That was such a happy day for me.
I didn’t start watching horror until I was a junior in high school. Now it’s full blown. One of my favourite movies is a mixture of sci-fi/ horror and it’s called THE DEADLY SPAWN. I actually got a half sleeve tattoo of it a few years ago because I like it so much. I highly recommend that one.
Some of my faves are the POTA series (especially Conquest), DUNE, ALIEN PREDATOR, LOGAN’S RUN, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS ’78, GALAXY OF TERROR, EQUINOX, etc. I could go on and on. I have to say that some modern sci-fi movies have been really amazing. MOON is one of my all-time favourites now and I also really enjoyed DISTRICT 9 and MONSTERS.
I really like to follow movies because of who did the special effects or designed things. Rob Bottin (The Thing), Dennis Muren (Equinox, Dragonslayer), Richard Edlund, Moebius, Giger, Rick Dunn, John Dykstra, Syd Mead, and on and on. They are some of the coolest people on the planet. These dudes are my rock stars. It’s kind of like how some people would’ve thought Axl Rose was an ultra badass back in the day, I think that way about Muren and these guys. If they had posters, they’d be up on my walls. I watched a live streaming conference with Dennis Muren one time online and it was like two hours long. I would LOVE to meet these guys some day.
Oh, and Harryhausen….but, that could take an interview up all by itself.
• Do you have (or what would be your) a wish list of other artists you’d like to work with and why? (living or alive)
Nobody knows this, but we were talking to Frank Frazetta about a year ago. We were really close to making something happen. I was really sad when the word came through that he passed away. I really loved and respected his work. Actually, as I type this I have a Death Dealer ring on that I bought from his gallery. I also want to work with Moebius and Dan McPharlin. You’ve profiled Dan a lot on the site and also Moebius. We’ve got projects in mind for both of them, so it’s just a matter of getting ahold of them and pitching it. Moebius is legendary. Better writers have dissected his work, so I won’t go too deep, but I love Arzach. I found the paperback with all of them collected and also started buying the original Heavy Metal books. I think I have 1-10 right now. Someday, I’ll buy the Metal Hurlant versions, too. That art was so amazing and to this day still holds up. I would be blown away if the dudes doing the new HEAVY METAL movie did an Arzach story. How would nuts a Fincher directed Arzach movie be?
Dan McPharlin was a guy that I liked, but just figured it was some art from the 60’s or 70’s. Then, I downloaded THE SWORD’S album and saw the cover and made the connection. We have about three things off the bat that we would immediately put him on that he would be 100% perfect for. His landscapes are gorgeous and I love what he does with his characters. There is a piece in particular where it’s a spaceman riding a horse with a helmet on. It’s one of my favourite images of his.
• Finally can you point readers in the direction of obscure SF/Horror/Fantasy they might have missed?
So, the main movies I watch are sci-fi and horror and I highly recommend these seldom seen gems.
THE DEADLY SPAWN
FORBIDDEN WORLD aka MUTANT
GALAXY OF TERROR
THE HIDDEN– Drop everything and watch this…now.
FIRE AND ICE (Buy the Blue Undergound disc for the awesome Frank Frazetta doc called Frazetta: Painting With Fire)
EQUINOX (Directed by SFX god Dennis Muren)
If you’d like me to give more detailed little snippets of why I like these, I’d be happy to, but seriously….all of these movies are AMAZING!
** Many thanks Justin! oh and I totally agree there on The Hidden!