Last night, after a months of speculation (and—for those that slept outside the Mondo Gallery in anticipation of the event—after a few restless nights on the sidewalk lining 41st and Guadalupe in downtown Austin, TX) the good folks at Mondo finally opened the doors on their Universal Monsters Gallery show. With nearly 20 new prints on sale, over 50 original pieces of artwork, and surprise appearances from legendary poster artist Drew Struzan and Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont, the show was a smash success.
Wanna see some images from the show and hear what Limited Paper thought about the whole thing? Meet me after the jump, folks.
First of all, let’s get an apology out of the way: when I woke up this morning and sat down to produce my big-ass writeup covering the grand opening of the Mondo Gallery’s Universal Monsters show, I discovered that either my router or my internet provider had totally crapped the bed overnight, making it very difficult to provide a quick-and-easy writeup regarding last night’s show. I’ve set up shop inside a nearby Starbuck’s in order to bring you the photos you’re about to see below, but I’m also planning on getting a more involved/thorough writeup (not to mention the coverage from the “Universal Monsters Tattooapalooza” event Limited Paper threw in conjunction with Shaman Body Modifications in Austin, TX) hammered out for you the moment the internet comes back online at Limited Paper HQ. These aren’t the circumstances under which I’d like to be sharing these images, but in the interest of getting something up sooner rather than later…here we are.
Secondly: what an amazing evening. It’s common knowledge by now that every Mondo Gallery show is something special—from their biggest shows (the first-ever “Sci-Fi”-themed show, last night’s Universal Monsters-themed shindig) to their smallest affairs (Jay Shaw’s Don’t Go Out Tonight, last month’s Brandenburg & Drake Show)—but last night’s event was easily the most involved, overwhelmingly impressive gathering ever organized at Austin’s Mondo Gallery. The photos throughout this article document the scene inside the Gallery last night, and—as you can see—it was truly spectacular.
Outside, a line started to form nearly two days in advance of the opening. In between trips to and from the airport (to pick up fellow collectors who were coming into two for the event), I swung by the line to see how morale was holding up, and everyone was in high spirits. Locals brought chairs, baked goods, coffee, donuts, and various other supplies to keep people well-stocked and as comfortable as possible during the wait, and (from what I saw) things remained relatively civil from the time the line formed all the way up through the moment (again, almost 48 hours later) that the gallery doors opened.
And when they did, the Mondo guys did not disappoint. New artwork from Martin Ansin, Ken Taylor, Laurent Durieux, Drew Struzan, and many, many others covered every available wall, offering unique and beautiful takes on the most iconic movie monsters Hollywood’s ever created. Drinks were being served both inside and outside (on the newly-constructed back patio, which offered a comfortable U-shaped bench for fans to sit on while shooting the shit about what they’d already bought, planned on buying, or were sad they couldn’t afford), while fans circulated through the show.
Many fans were priced out of the OG’s (Struzan’s stuff, for instance, was selling for about $5k per piece), but there were still a number of far-more-affordable pieces on offer (one collection of OG’s—from Delicious Design League—was made up of $60 pieces, and elsewhere I saw OG’s in the $300-700 range). At the counter, Mondo’s own Mo Shafeek and Justin Brookheart valiantly met the swarm of fans that crowded the buy-counter, filling orders, bagging posters, and bullshitting with fans as they stepped up to talk about their favorite pieces from the show. The atmosphere was electric, joyful, totally free of the drama that seems to have dominated the online portion of this hobby lately.
About halfway through the evening, rumors started to circulate that one or two “special guests” might be arriving, and everyone seemed to have their own opinions as to who those guests might be: Robert Rodriguez had already showed up earlier in the evening, but fans were also whispering that Martin Ansin and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett might also be making surprise appearances at some point. As it turns out, the “special guests” were none other than legendary poster artist Drew Struzan and acclaimed director Frank Darabont. Their arrival was met by countless cheers and camera flashes, and both took the time to stop and chat with any fan that approached (Struzan seemed somewhat overwhelmed by the hero’s welcome he received).
The prints available for purchase would’ve been more than enough, but looking through the original works, meeting these living legends, and having a comfortable place to kick back, relax and talk posters with fellow collectors elevated this event to a level that no other Mondo Gallery show has ever approached. The Universal Monsters Gallery show was one for the books, an event that fans of the Mondo brand will probably judge all future Mondo Gallery shows against (I spoke with one Mondo associate who just sighed and shook his head when I asked how they ever planned on topping this event) and one they’ll never forget. It was incredible, and almost certainly worth whatever amount of effort anyone went through in order to attend the show.
Like we said up top, I’m going to be back in another day or so with two more write-ups for you—one covering the “Universal Monsters Tattooapalooza” event that Limited Paper threw in conjunction with Shaman Body Mods of Austin, the other offering more details about each of the prints that were made available during the Universal Monsters show—but for now, please enjoy the images spread throughout this article. For those that weren’t able to attend, we recommend swinging by the Mondo Gallery (located at 41st and Guadalupe in downtown Austin, TX) as soon as possible: the show may run for the next few weeks, but for now there are still a ton of posters on sale (only the Taylor variant and the Mike Mitchell giclees were sold out at the time of this writing), and all ya gotta do is swing by to pick ‘em up.
As always, if you’re an artist or gallery with artwork you’d like to see featured on Limited Paper (or if you’re just some lucky bastard who happened to overhear a bit of poster-related gossip while standing in the bushes outside Martin Ansin’s house) we wanna hear from you! Email Limited Paper directly at LimitedPaper@gmail.com, and be sure that you’re following us on Twitter via @LimitedPaper for ongoing commentary, news updates, giveaways, and more!
Check out over 90 images from the gallery event below (click on the pictures for high res):