If you hadn’t already heard, last week’s Fantastic Fest played home to the debut of a brand-new line of t-shirts from Mondo, the movie-poster-producing arm of Tim League’s Alamo Drafthouse empire. Mondo’s sold t-shirts before, of course; they’ve had some available on their website since time out of mind. But this new line (which they’ve christened the “Brain Damaged” line) is notable for a very good reason: Tyler Stout— one of the best artists currently working under the Mondo banner– produced the artwork that appears on quite a few of these new shirts.
Wanna see some brand-new, hi-res images of those kickass shirts? Wanna hear what Tyler Stout has to say about the series? How about an update on his Drive poster, or what’s going on with that Prometheus sticker he was offering fans awhile back? Find out all of that—and more—after the jump, folks.
Of all the artists working for Mondo these days, few have a style as instantly-and-universally recognizable Tyler Stout’s. His posters for The Thing, Kill Bill, and Blade Runner are absolute classics in the poster world—they’re the kind of images one tends to think of instantly upon hearing the phrase “Mondo poster”— and even with an ever-expanding stable of outstanding artists at their disposal, Stout still tends to land atop the majority of fanboy wishlists whenever a new project gets announced.
But where has he been lately? In 2011, Tyler Stout released five posters via Mondo, which meant that fans never waited more than a couple of months for a new Stout/Mondo release. But in 2012, there’s been precious little Stout to go around: the opening of the Mondo Gallery during SXSW was headlined by a Stout Wrath of Kahn print, and a few months later Mondo’s Avengers series was brought to an impressive conclusion with the artist’s The Avengers poster. We’ve known for some time that a Stout Drive poster would be released, but the target release date of June came and went with no official update on the matter.
The result? A whole lotta Stout junkies going through withdrawals. The good news is, if there’s not a new Tyler Stout poster for sale, it’s probably safe to assume that he’s busy working on the next one. The better news is, Mondo’s recently-released Brain Damaged line of t-shirts (which you’ll be able to purchase via Mondo’s website very soon) features several new pieces of movie-themed art from the artist (and they’re portable!). The best news? I got a chance to sit down with Stout just before Fantastic Fest 2012, and when I asked him about this year’s output, he told me that he hopes to match last year’s number of releases by the time 2013 rolls around.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: read on for Limited Paper’s exclusive interview with Tyler Stout below, check out images of the Brain Damaged line of shirts (I shit you not: they’re even better-looking in person, really impressive work from all involved) throughout the article, and then meet me at the end to find out when you can order your own brand-spanking-new Brain Damaged tees:
So, how did the t-shirt thing come about?
Tyler Stout: They asked me to do it. And I was a bit reluctant at first, since it was a lot of responsibility, working with other artists and coming up with original designs as well. But it went pretty smoothly. Whether or not they will be loved by anyone is out of my hands completely.
Will we be seeing any shirts that feature your previous Mondo artwork, or even elements of it (ed. Note: this interview was done prior to Fantastic Fest, before anyone had actually seen the shirts-in-question)? I’m thinking “handbill on a t-shirt” (and now I’m thinking, “I need the entire line of THE THING handbill t-shirts immediately”).
Stout: Ha, that would be cool, but no– no posters / handbills on shirts. Pretty much all new stuff, I think, unless people prefer Iron Man 2 shirts. Then we’ll make those instead.
Have you had the run of the place in terms of what you’ve been designing?
Stout: Yep, they let me pretty much run the whole thing…I think. Unless they say differently! If it’s a success, then it was all their idea. If it flops, then it was all my idea (laughs). But in reality, it was probably like most poster projects: I show them stuff, we go back and forth with some ideas/color choices, etc, and… come up with a final design.
Uh…yup, looks like I’ve only got 3 questions regarding t-shirts to ask you. We may have to do a follow-up later if it turns out that the shirts raise troubling questions. But let’s hope that’s not the case. Instead, let’s use this opportunity to follow-up on a few lingering questions. First of all, what’s up with DRIVE? I’m betting it’s worth the wait, but I know people are curious where we’re at on that.
Stout: It’s definitely happening soon…ish. Later than we originally thought, but sooner than the end of life as we know it. So, expect that!
Fair enough. Awhile back, you offered a promotion sorta thing involving ticket stubs for Prometheus. Someone told me they’d send in a stub on my behalf, but I totally forgot that these were even supposed to be happening until just yesterday. Are you still doing those, or was that just an awesome idea that never quite made the leap to “actually happening”?
Stout: Yes, I do indeed have those happening. It’s just a sticker, though, nothing amazing. They cost, like, 50 cents apiece. Or a buck. We’ll see. So it will not bankrupt me. Close, but not quite. It wasn’t so much a promotion for the film (which certainly didn’t need my help promoting it), but just a fun random thing.
Speaking of Prometheus, the word on the street before that one arrived had you doing a poster for the film. People were swearing up and down that they’d confirmed this, and the certainty seemed so widespread, I actually reported the rumor in the first edition of Limited Paper. I jinxed it, didn’t I?
Stout: I actually have no idea how that started. I would love to do a poster for that movie. But as of this moment, I don’t have plans to, and I don’t think we ever did have plans to. I guess I might have mentioned I was excited about seeing the film and people took that as “He’s doing a poster for it!” But no, nothing came of it.
Have you ever considered mocking up an entire poster for a film that nobody likes– something like Battlefield: Earth maybe—and posting the image with a faux-announcement concerning its forthcoming release? If I were you, I’d probably have worn that joke out three times over.
Stout: I can’t say that I have. But I would like to do a poster for Deep Rising, and a lot of people haven’t seen that film, or don’t like it. As far as jokes, though…well, mine usually involve references to cats.
Recently, you posted a series of contentious emails on your website revolving around an argument with an extremely classy fan who didn’t get picked in your last lottery. He didn’t think that was fair, challenged the validity of your lottery system, and ultimately decided to take the high road by inexplicably dropping the N-word: for those of us not actively involved in the conversation, this was all kind of entertaining…but I can’t imagine you were having a good time. Do you take stuff like that personally, or do you laugh it off? And is that dude blackballed from ever winning now?
Stout: Officially, I don’t take anything personally: it’s all business. Unofficially…sure, I take it personally when someone is rude or accusatory to me in emails. But in dealing with people, I try to remind myself that, hey, (to self) “Their childhood pet could’ve just exploded or something”. It’s probably not just me. As for blackballing anyone…no, Sarah handles the sales mostly, and she doesn’t remember anyone(‘s name).
Would you ever consider changing the format for your drops, or experimenting with something new? Or can we all safely assume that the lottery system’s pretty much the standard from here on out?
Stout: I actually have done different types of sales: some via lottery—where people submit their email and those randomly get picked to get a link where they can purchase the print—and others that were just “first come/first serve” drops, where I email people and let ‘em know the print is up and on sale, whoever wants to can purchase it. Hopefully that’s enough of a mix for people.
Last year, you released five posters for Mondo. So far in 2012, you’ve released two. By the end of the year, do you expect to top last year’s “score”, match it, or fall somewhere under it?
Stout: I hope to match it, but…who knows? I try not to put out work I’m not happy with (though I put out crap work all the time, [laughs]). But I try to focus on doing stuff I can stand behind. I’d rather put out three posters I really liked—at the time, anyways—than five that I wasn’t happy with. But I’m trying! Lord knows I’m trying…and by “Lord” I mean “Rob Jones”.
(Laughs) Alright. You’ve got all the time you need, an unlimited budget, no red-tape bullshit regarding licenses or restrictions in terms of size or colors or the amount of glitter you might wanna use. Assuming all of this to be true, what movie poster do you make first?
Stout: Escape From New York, probably. And Aliens. I would enjoy living in that world.
Have you ever had to scrap a project because of something like that—licenses or some other kinda red-tape issue you didn’t see coming?
Stout: I have done that, but mostly due to my own unhappiness with how the project was shaping up.
OK, last question: I meet a lot of collectors who claim that you were—for lack of a better term—their “gateway drug” into the poster-collecting addiction: they saw one of your prints, they were blown away, bought it up and decided that was their new thing. When’s the last time you saw a poster that floored you like that? Who’re you a big fan of these days?
Stout: …that’s a tough one; I like everything. But I did just find this collection of old VHS covers from the 80’s. Just, like, millions of them, and I really enjoyed looking at those. (It was) Artwork that just really sold the movie…or “oversold” it, in a way. I’m not sure if you’ve seen American Cyborg: Steel Warrior starring Joe Lara and Nicole Hansen, but…well, honestly, it was a bit of a letdown.
And that, my friends, was my time with Tyler Stout: gentleman, scholar, leatherbound-book-owner, and now t-shirt designer (special thanks are in order to Tyler Stout, the folks at Fons PR, and photographer Billy “Peaches” Garrett for helping this one come together). At this point, you’re probably wondering how can you get your hands on one (or ten!) of these kick-ass shirts. Well, Daddy has answers for you: at some point tomorrow (October 3rd, that is), MondoTees.com will update with the entire run of Brain Damaged shirts (we’re guessing it’ll be on their “Apparel” page, but we could be wrong). There you’ll find the entire selection seen above– reasonably priced at a cool $25—along with some closer looks at each of them. I picked one of the Alien/Ripley ones during Fantastic Fest, and I gotta tell ya: I’m pretty damn happy with it.
You should also follow us over at @LimitedPaper for updates regarding future Mondo releases, Tyler Stout-related ephemera, and whatever else we can smoosh into a 140-character box. We have got some seriously exciting stuff on the horizon (I’ll say it again: our next giveaway is going to blow your effing minds, so be prepared for awesomeness—it’ll be along shortly), including reports from Mondo’s presence at the NYC Comic-Con, the October 19th opening of their Universal Monsters gallery show, and a few other things we can’t wait to tell you about. Email me directly at LimitedPaper@Gmail.com if you have questions/comments (or if you’re a gallery/artist who’d like to see their work featured here).