Limited Paper Interview: Mark Englert, the Artist Behind Comic-Con’s “You Are My Lucky Star”/ALIEN Poster

by     Posted 1 year, 276 days ago

In case you hadn’t heard, one of the biggest rising stars in the world of screenprints and posters is Mark Englert (the guy whose work we singled out as a “Thing Worth Getting Excited About” in our first-ever edition of Limited Paper).  Over the past few months, Englert’s dropped some majorly in-demand pieces on posters collectors, including a Walking Dead-themed print (This is My Farm…I’ll Die Here) that sold out in a matter of minutes and a SDCC-exclusive print based on Ridley Scott’s Alien (titled You Are My Lucky Star) that sold with a similarly breathtaking quickness.

Just before his blockbuster appearance at last week’s Comic-Con, I sat down with Englert to ask a few annoying questions.  What’d he have to say for himself?  Find out after the jump, folks.

At Comic-Con last week, the big story on the exhibitor’s floor had to be the stunningly popular poster drops (and subsequently unruly lines) unleashed by the gentlemen at booth #437 (the Mondo booth, if you weren’t there), a location that became notoriously busier as the Con progressed.  But a day or so into Comic-Con 2012, another massively-popular print dropped over at the Gallery1988 booth, one that resulted in an even more frantic line…and at least one almost-fistfight.

Indeed, of all the posters dropped at SDCC this year, Mark Englert’s You Are My Lucky Star poster—a screenprint based on Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, Alien—seemed to be the most in-demand.  Before we go on, let’s take a look at that now-sold-out screenprint now:

  • You Are My Lucky Star by Mark Englert
  • 12x36”
  • $50 SDCC Exclusive edition of 125
  • SOLD OUT via the fine folks at the Gallery1988 booth

Mark-Englert-Alien

So…looking at this poster, you can understand why the assembled line was a little frantic over the idea that they might miss out on obtaining one.  You Are My Lucky Star was easily one of the most gorgeously-rendered, expertly-printed posters to drop during Comic-Con 2012, and with a print run that hovered just over 100 (don’t worry:  there’ll be an online-version dropping soon, but we’ll get to that in a moment), it’s likely that it’ll remain one of the most sought-after in the Con’s aftermath.

We named Mark Englert’s work as our first-ever “Thing Worth Getting Excited About” here at Limited Paper, and in the time since he’s proved that we made the right choice:  a few weeks ago, Englert’s This is My Farm…I’ll Die Here (a piece based on AMC’s endlessly-popular Walking Dead series) sold out every one of its multiple versions in a matter of minutes, and a few weeks before that, Englert’s They All Float (a slightly-smaller piece based on Stephen King’s It) proved to be equally in-demand.  All of this is on the heels of Englert’s massively-popular first piece, Det er en Slags Ting, a poster based on John Carpenter’s The Thing (recently immortalized by another living legend in the poster industry, Drew Struzan).

It’d be a mind-blowingly successful run for any artist, but for a guy like Englert—who’s just now transitioning into the screenprint industry—it’s enormously impressive.  I sat down with Englert just before Comic-Con 2012 to get his thoughts on his recent success, his plans for the future, and what he expected from this year’s SDCC.  You can check out that chat below (we’ve gone ahead and interspersed the interview with pictures of Englert’s other posters;  they’ve long-since sold out, but—if you’re lucky—you might still be able to acquire one on the secondary market if you’re willing to shell out the cash).

But first, here are some highlights:

  • Englert says that the pressure of releasing screenprints is something totally different from the pressure of drawing comics, which is “a team effort…this is the first time I’ve had something that I’m wholly responsible for”.
  • Mark tells me that—once upon a time—he was just like us:  “I was one of those maniacs that slept on the sidewalk overnight for the LOST show and the Olly Moss show.”
  • All 350 copies of Englert’s This is My Farm piece sold in about 5 minutes.
  • If he could create one poster based on anything, or have one created for him?  It’d be based on his favorite film, “Ed Wood…I want a kickass print of that movie to hang up in my house so badly”.

Alright, let’s make with the interview action.  Here we go:

Collider.com:  Last week you dropped a Walking Dead print that sold out super-fast. Tell us a little about how that one came about.

MARK ENGLERT:  I was thinking of doing something with a forest and farm, since I have easy access to that sort of reference where I live. It seemed like an natural fit.

And Robert Kirkman contacted you at some point about it, right?  How’d that go?

ENGLERT: I actually contacted Kirkman about it. I’ve known the guy since, like, 1999… he found me on an art message board and got me to draw a bunch of stuff for him. He basically got me started working in comics. Anyway, I showed him a very rough version to show him what I would be up to and he asked that once I was done, I hold a bunch back for him.

When you put these up for a drop, do you ever get a last-minute feeling of, “Holy shit, this is NEVER gonna sell”, or are you fairly confident in the print’s chances at selling out? When Walking Dead sold out as fast as it did, how did you feel? Describe the emotions you felt in the day or so after that sell out.

ENGLERT: I’m a “glass is half empty and the water probably tastes terrible” kind of guy, so any good thing that happens is pretty much always a shock to me. I do think I have a pretty good idea of what will sell, but I never expect it to sell out that quickly. It was all basically gone in about 5 minutes, 350 prints, that is crazy… I mean, it’s my third poster.

The night before my last two drops, I was nervous, sure. I’m used to doing comics, which is a team effort… if it sucks, you can always go, “well, we messed up”… this is the first time I’ve had something that I am wholly responsible for.


Tell us a little about how the Alien piece came about.

ENGLERT: Jensen from Gallery 1988 contacted me out of the blue after someone showed him my first poster, “Det er en slags ting”. He asked me to be in a future show and I couldn’t be happier, as I’ve been a big fan of what he does for quite some time… I was even one of those maniacs who slept on the sidewalk overnight for the LOST show and the Olly Moss solo show.

When it came closer to Comic Con, he asked if I’d be interested in having the first print I do with the gallery debut at con and gave me free reign on what I’d like to do. I had an ALIEN piece in mind for awhile, so I just executed it over the course of a few days and now here I am.

Working with Gallery1988 must’ve been quite the honor. What’s it like, as an artist who’s finding his first big successes in the screenprint world, to get that kind of validation?

ENGLERT: It’s a great feeling and a perfect fit for the kind of work I like to produce. Doing it all on my own is pretty overwhelming, so it’ll be nice to be able to shift some of the focus spent on rolling prints and shipping them out and redirect it back to actually making posters.

Mark-Englert-They-All-Float

Who else would you be interested in working with, company/gallery-wise? Do you have any interest in collaborating with another artist on something? If you do, and if you could call the shots on one piece with any artist of your choice, what would it be?

ENGLERT: I’m in a pretty great situation at the moment, because I am largely independent. I seem to have a stable of faithful fans that I can count on, so I’m not really in need of any other support system. That said, I do love to collaborate and welcome any offer to do so.

As far as working with an artists of my choice, I’m not sure… I got into this as a fan first, so there are a ton of guys whose work I absolutely love as is. But, if i could call the shots, I’d want all my favorite guys to do an Ed Wood piece, since that’s my favorite movie.

How often do ideas for prints come to you? Do you keep track of them in an official capacity?

ENGLERT: I don’t write ideas down. I feel like if an idea sticks with me, then it is a good one. If I forget about it, then it wasn’t that great.

Ever had an idea for a print, started creating it, and then decided to scrap it halfway through?

ENGLERT: I have a Chronicle print that is 90% done… I gave up on it because it just wasn’t coming together how I wanted.

You are tasked with creating just one screenprint based on a film or TV show, with no restrictions in terms of size, color, you’ve got unlimited time and an unlimited budget, etc.  What do you create?

ENGLERT: Probably Ed Wood… just because I want a kick ass print of that movie to hang up in my house so badly.

Why do you think poster-collecting has become such a popular hobby? Is it motivated by money, the pop culture influence of the art (people like having art that reminds them of the shows/movies they love, etc), or are people just finally realizing that collecting art isn’t as boring as they think it might be?

ENGLERT: I think collecting is a great hobby, in and of itself, but our options as collectors are dwindling. I mean, finding a particular comic or record doesn’t mean the same thing anymore. If I want to find some obscure b-side from my favorite band, I don’t need to go hunting in record shops anymore, I download it… if an issue of a comic is sold out at my shop, I download it.

With posters, you can’t download them. They exist to collect and to own… and even to sell and to trade.

Besides that, I think it’s just beautiful art. People must be sick of hanging up all those Van Gogh and Klimt posters, why not hang up something that actually has meaning in your life? The walls of my house are plastered with these posters and it represents a lot of what I grew up and what I believe in. It’s kind of the same as when you walk into someone’s house and they have tons of paintings of Jesus and their family on the wall… I have Star Wars and Pee Wee Herman.

Besides the work you’ve created this year, can you name 2-3 screenprints you were a big fan of? What’s hanging in your house?

ENGLERT: This year my favorite was the Olly Moss Zelda prints… I was also stoked to get the Stout Wrath of Khan, Ansin Brazil and a ton of posters from Jay Shaw. Jay’s stuff is just amazing to look at and I’m so glad he is exploding this year.

Why is it that YOUR glow-in-the-dark work is lightyears more nuanced, detailed, and impressive than most of the GID we see? Are most people just using it in too limited a way, or do you know something they don’t?

ENGLERT: I think I just didn’t know the limitations of the glow in the dark ink, so it didn’t occur to me to not do what I do with it. I’m learning about why people don’t attempt to do what I do… glow in the dark ink isn’t some magical thing that you lay on top of an poster, is completely invisible and glows brilliantly no matter what is underneath it. It’s actually quite a pain to work with.

A big part of it working is Martin Hammond at P&L printing. He prints all of my stuff and is hugely responsible for making my crazy ideas work in real life.

Weirdest email, PM, or request you’ve ever received from a fan/supporter/hater: go.

ENGLERT: First one that comes to mind is a guy asked for a sketch in the margin of his They All Float print… he wanted a drawing of Pennywise the Clown smoking a joint. He got it.

And that, folks, was my time with Mark Englert.  If you’re interested in keeping up with Mark’s work, I strongly suggest that you keep your eyes on his Big Cartel store, Taco Belvedere, or check out the Mark Englert fan Facebook page to get up-to-the-minute information from Mark regarding upcoming releases.  And—as always—you can stay tuned to Limited Paper for more announcements regarding Mark’s work in the future.

Speaking of which, those of you who are interested in obtaining the non-SDCC variant edition of You Are My Lucky Star need to keep tabs on the happenings over at Gallery1988’s homepage.  A firm date has not been set for the “blue/green” edition of that print, but news should be arriving shortly, either from us here at Limited Paper or from the fine folks over at Gallery1988’s website.

Special thanks go out to Jensen at Gallery1988, the San Diego Comic-Con folks, and—last but not least—Mark Englert.  If you’re a Limited Paper reader who’s got a question to ask, a comment to make, or someone who’s just got a hot tip regarding an upcoming poster/print (or, hell, an artist/gallery who’d like to see their work featured here at Limited Paper at some point in the future), don’t  hesitate to drop me a line at LimitedPaper@gmail.com.  Everyone else:  sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below!




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