Editor’s note: I work for Disney and the division that helped create the art show, but I had no part in this post, nor was there any money or funny business involved. Just saying.
The movie poster is dead. Remember the times of hand-drawn studio posters that possessed a creativity rivaling that of the films they represented? Neither do I. Or at least these would be the words I’d be spouting if not for Austin based Mondo. Last week, in collaboration with Oh My Disney, Mondo unveiled their most recent exhibition, Nothing’s Impossible! A homage to the beloved Disney classics we all cherished growing up (or, most likely, still do). Their gallery was filled with works inspired by the films and characters of Disney, featuring Mondo’s most talented recurring artists.
Mondo is serious about their posters. They’re not alone. There’s a rabid demand for their prints, whether it be the fans who buy them out within seconds of sale, or The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who’ve been adding Mondo prints to their archive over the past years.
Certainly a step-up from their humble beginnings: Mondo Tees was established in 2004, where they made t-shirts emblazoned with classic movie imagery to coincide with screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse (of which Mondo originated from). A few years later and a couple clever moves by Mondo’s leading men (Justin Ishmael, Rob Jones, and Mitch Putnam) saw Mondo cultivating some of the most gorgeous original movie posters you’ve ever laid eyes upon. In 2012, they relocated to a new gallery where their works of art could more appropriately be exhibited.
Last week that space was home to Nothing’s Impossible! The goal was to explore decades of beloved Disney films and characters, like never before, through some of Mondo’s most renowned artists, such as Olly Moss, Ken Taylor, Martin Ansen, Tom Whalen, Kilian Eng, Mike Mitchell, Jay Shaw, Kevin Tong, and many more (spend sometime checking out their work, you won’t regret it). “Disney has a special way of bringing out the magic in all of us and we’re very excited to bring that feeling to Austin at this year’s gallery event,” said Ishmael. “Having worked with Oh My Disney over the last year, we know the site celebrates reinventing timeless stories and we hope our work sparks the imagination of both Disney and Mondo fans.”
As you can see, the poster styles range based on the artist, consisting of everything from classic character portraits to abstract pieces. Always screen-printed and of limited quantity, they’ve taken the movie poster format and turned it into something you’d be more familiar with viewing in MoMA or a Sotheby’s auction. “If it wasn’t limited, it wouldn’t be precious,” Jones says. “It wouldn’t be worth your time and care.” They’re true objects of art, enhanced by their limited nature and pop culture status. A walk down your local cinema and a look at the posters studios are churning out can induce your gag-reflex. But it’s outfits like Mondo, who’re fighting this trend, that give a glimmer of hope and instill a sense of artistry back into the genre. Their work is far past catching on; the movie poster is not dead.
You can view all of Mondo’s pieces in their archive (again, time well spent digging through here). If you’re eager to get your hands on a future print, follow Mondo on twitter, where Ishmael announces, randomly, their sale (I recommend setting mobile alerts). Happy collecting.