Whenever Mondo opens a new gallery show, it’s always an event: special guests drop by, people fly in from all over the damn place, lines start forming days in advance, collectors everywhere deliver crippling blows to their bank accounts (if you’ve been in town for one of these openings before, you know how much of a circus it can be). But when the Mondo guys announced that their show would be Universal Monsters-themed, it was generally assumed that their latest showcase would turn into the biggest circus the Mondo Gallery had ever seen…and the assembled mass of fans did not disappoint.
In fact, a few brave souls kicked off the festivities a day before the Mondo Gallery’s Universal Monsters Show opened, traveling across downtown Austin to take part in the first-ever Limited Paper/Shaman Body Mods Tattooapalooza. What went down, who got inked, and what did the resulting tattoos look like? Find out after the jump, my fellow limited-paper fanatics.
Rumors had been circulating about a Universal Monsters-themed Mondo Gallery show for months, and when the event was confirmed back during this year’s Fantastic Fest, Limited Paper was ready: October seemed like the most-likely time for such a show to take place, and the whispers we’d been hearing in the weeks leading up to the announcement only seemed to lend those rumors validity. Quite frankly, we would’ve been stunned if a Universal Monsters-themed Mondo Gallery show hadn’t been announced for October.
As you all surely know by now, the whispers were true: this past Friday—October 19th, for those of you who have lost track of time—Mondo opened its latest Gallery show, and (as expected) it was a balls-out celebration of the various monsters and madmen that make up the Universal Monsters catalogue: The Mummy, Dracula, The Wolfman, the Creature From The Black Lagoon (also known as “The Gill-Man”), Frankenstein (and his Bride), the Phantom of The Opera—all were represented in Mondo’s latest show, and (as the pictures we ran yesterday prove it was a mindblowing display of artistic talent.
If you’ve ever been in town for one of these events, you know that the days leading up to the show’s actual opening have a habit of turning into events in and of themselves: there’s the moment when the line starts to form outside (in this show’s case, people started getting ready nearly two days in advance of the show’s 7pm start time), the “Supply Runs” organized by Austin locals for out-of-towners who’ve decided to fly in for the show (people drop off chairs, drinks, blankets, food, and various other must-have items to the crowd), and—when it’s prudent to do so—pre-event parties (before Mondo Mystery Movie 10, Limited Paper HQ welcomed 60-something people for the greatest BBQ/Keg Party North Austin had ever seen). Mondo fans are scattered all over the world at this point, but the ones based in Austin know how to make visiting fans feel—if only for a few days—like they’re part of the home team.
And so, Limited Paper had been quietly working behind the scenes with a few other like-minded collectors to organize an entirely new kind of pre-show event. We knew it needed to be something special– as the Universal Monsters Show was something the Mondo crew had been building towards for a long, long time—but that was easier said than done: everything my associates and I came up with seemed petty in comparison to the shindig itself. As it turned out, a casual post-announcement conversation gave birth to the idea we ultimately settled on, and—as you can see below—it turned out even better than we ever could’ve hoped for.
The idea was this: what if a few fans were willing to get a tattoo of their favorite Universal Monster? And what if we partnered with one of the best local tattoo parlors to offer a special rate to anyone who came in on that day to get those tattoos? Would anyone really be willing to sign up for such an event?
Limited Paper announced the “Universal Monsters Tattooapalooza” several weeks prior to the show’s October 19th opening. Held in conjunction with Shaman Body Modifications of Austin, TX (perhaps the city’s most well-respected shop, owned by world-renowned piercer/body mod specialist Pineapple Tangaroa), the “Uni Monsters Tattooapalooza” was open to anyone who had the stones to take part in this misadventure. Once we started pimping the October 18th event—which, as planned, offered a special discount to anyone willing to get their favorite Universal Monster tattooed on their person—we were overjoyed when the Mondo crew got wind of our plot and made their own counter-offer:
Yup, anyone willing to get one of the above designs—one by Gary Pullin, one by Tyler Stout, one by Rob Jones, another by Mike Saputo—would get their tattoo covered 100% by the Mondo crew. A pretty attractive offer, but would anyone bite? From where Limited Paper and Shaman were standing, it seemed no less likely than anyone who’d be willing to sign up for a Uni Monsters tattoo. On the 11th, Shaman Body Mods started taking reservations (time slots needed to be filled, deposits needed to be made), and then—one week later—the long-windedly named Limited Paper/Shaman Body Mods Universal Monsters Tattooapalooza event was off and running.
Turned out, there were five brave souls willing to engage in this bit of monkey business. We’ll stop just short of using last names on a few of ‘em (dunno that they want to be outed that way, heh), but at least two participants are people we’ve already named: myself and Shaman Body Mods’ own Pineapple Tangaroa. Let’s start with Pineapple’s tattoo, as he got his done the week before the October 18th event:
As you can see, Shaman Body Mods owner Pineapple Tangaroa went with the Mondo logo designed by Rob Jones—the “Skull-and-Crossbones” logo. Unfortunately, we don’t have a ton of photos of Pineapple’s tattoo (again, he got his done before the day the rest of us were there), but still: turned out great! Moving along, the first person to get in the chair was a Limited Paper reader by the name of Jeff Morreale, who had an elaborate tattoo based on Drew Struzan’s iconic Frankenstein poster planned. Here’s the original poster…
…and here’s some pics of Jeff getting the image inked perilously close to his armpit…
…aaand here’s Jeff showing off that tattoo later in the weekend to none other than Drew Struzan:
Apparently, immediately upon seeing the tattoo, Struzan grabbed director Frank Darabont (also on-hand to help ring in the Mondo Universal Monsters show) and told him, “You gotta see this!” We’re expecting that’s the most gratifying thing to happen to Jeff since his gender reassignment surgery. Moving on, here’s some photos of Mike “Butch” B’s ink, which an upper-shoulder version of the tattoo Gary Pullin created for the event (you can also see him signing the tattoo in the third image below):
Pretty cool, right? Well, there were two people other people—myself and Limited Paper reader Garrett K.—who were interested in getting inked that day. Unfortunately, Jeff’s tattoo took so damn long to get applied (close to four hours), there wasn’t a whole lotta time left for many other tattoos. My buddy Garrett was gracious enough to step aside and let me get mine done (he was hoping there’d be time left over, but mine ended up rounding out our kick-ass tattoo artist’s work day), and here’s how it went:
As you’ve probably noticed, that Creature image looks suspiciously similar to a Tyler Stout sketch, and there’s a reason for that: it is. Awhile back, I’d commissioned that sketch from Stout himself (long story, and it was totally blind luck that I was able to nab that sketch when I did: typically, Stout isn’t available for such monkey business), and knew I’d end up doing something special with it. Seeing as how the Creature is my favorite Uni Monsters—not to mention the fact that Creature From The Black Lagoon is one of the first movies I can remember watching with my father—this seemed like a great opportunity to put that sketch to use. Now if only I could convince my Pops that a 1/1 Tyler Stout sketch-turned-tattoo done in his honor was something to feel flattered by.
And that, my friends, was the end of our Tattooapalooza adventure. Dunno that we’ll do one of these again (we were thrilled with the handful of people who signed up, but I got the impression that everyone’s wives/girlfriends only have so much patience for this sorta thing…and most of us were pushing it by going through this process one time, much less multiple times), but Limited Paper is absolutely interested in putting together future kick-ass, pre-Mondo Gallery Show opening events going forward, so keep your eyes peeled for whatever we put together for the next show! Who knows: maybe they’ll do a Crying Game-themed show and we’ll all go get sex changes (except Jeff, who already has a magnificent vagina).
Special thanks to Shaman Body Mods of Austin, its owner Pineapple Tangaroa, our amazingly cool, endlessly patient, wildly informative, and just-plain-fun-to-talk-to tattoo artist Justin Vickers; all the folks at Mondo, especially Justin Ishmael, Rob Jones, Gary Pullin, and Mike Saputo; the fine folks at Fons PR, particularly Brandi and Ryan; our tattoo-ees Jeff and Mike; and—last but not least—to Tyler Stout (for facilitating a truly awesome tattoo in honor of a truly awesome man) and my soon-to-be wife, Amy, for putting up with this ridiculous shit.
We’ve got more coverage from the opening of the Mondo Gallery’s Universal Monsters Show headed your way, folks! Just because the weekend’s come and gone doesn’t meant we’ve had our say (especially since our internet was down for the past 2 days)! We’ve got an announcement to make regarding the winner of our Creature From The Black Lagoon/Drew Struzan giveaway, a more in-depth writeup about the Uni Monsters show itself, and further updates on when those of you who weren’t in town may be able to pick up some of the show’s excellent posters via online sale. It’s all in the week ahead, so keep your eyes trained to Limited Paper in the near future!
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!
Finally, if you missed our recap of the Universal Monster show, click here for over 90 images.