mondo todd slater goldfinger

One poster I’ve seen on a few walls around Austin is your Goldfinger poster. Where’d the inspiration for that one come from?

That one was pretty crazy. That was around 2007 and was part of Mondo’s Rolling Roadshow. They showed the movie at Fort Knox and they had a print made for every date of the Rolling Roadshow. I talked to Rob about it and it was an idea I had within the first minute of him offering me the job. I said I wanted to do a mosaic of Sean Connery made out of gold bricks and Rob said “If you can pull that off, it would be pretty cool.” So I did it and it wasn’t really a big deal when it first came out and then somewhere along the line it got into a Sotheby’s auction and it sold for a bunch there and the demand went way up. People seem to look at it differently after it was at that auction. I still get pretty steady emails about that one. That one really took on a life of its own after that.

mondo todd slater jurassic park

I want to talk about your Jurassic Park poster. That movie has so much easy iconography but your poster doesn’t lean on any of that. How did you make the choice to go in the opposite direction?

I think I made the choice because it was for a Jurassic Park show and I knew the likenesses and the T-Rex ripping the car would be represented in the show. If I went for an oddball take on Jurassic Park, it would be more accepted because the other ideas would be fulfilled. The idea of DNA and replication, that became a vehicle to put a lot of different dinosaurs in the print. When I was offered the job, it was a chance to draw a lot of different dinosaurs and that on its own was really fun to do.

Let’s dive into three of the new posters you’re bringing to MondoCon. How about we start with that Avett Brothers poster? How do you figure out a visual representation for a musical act? Do you listen to the band non-stop?

It’s really changed. I used to always listen to the music and try to make these insider references to lyrics. I realized after talking with bands and with management is that what bands really want is art that stands alone, independent of a lyric or what they’re doing. It should just match the mood or the tone of their music. A lot of the time, it’s just a gut reaction on what I feel about the band. And the Avett Brothers have been working for a long time, so I know their music well and don’t have to listen to it while I work.

mondo todd slater

My favorite of the three posters you sent over is the bears. What’s the story here? Did you just want to draw bears or is there something else going on?

It was a gig poster first. After they come out as gig posters, I sometimes add to them, rework them, take the band’s name off and make an art print independent of that. I thought the juxtaposition of a brown bear and a baby polar bear…I just liked the idea of pairing those two things together. I didn’t want to touch on any specific environment issues. Thematically, it’s just broader. Visually, I just like the idea of putting a brown bear and a polar bear together. It was just appealing in that sense. It was a gig poster for Widespread Panic first.

The third one has me at a disadvantage. I don’t think I recognize the character here…

It’s the Don Bluth movie, The Secret of NIMH.

mondo todd slater the secret of NIMH

Ah! I haven’t seen that in a long time!

Yeah, it looks like the Great Owl from The Secret of NIMH. It references that, but it doesn’t stay true to the exact proportions of the animated cells. It’s sort of a nod to that. The mice in the movie are cartoon, Disney-looking mice and this is a more realistic portrayal. That was a movie I saw as a kid and I liked the gravity of the Great Owl a lot. I like owls a lot. It’s a subject matter that occurs quite a bit in my work. I think that the owl in that movie just had a presence and a gravity that I just liked. It was a gut feeling that this was a picture I wanted to make.

MondoCon runs October 22 through October 23. You can find additional information at the official site.

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