As we head into the home stretch for this top 100 Mondo prints list, it’s worthwhile reminding that this is a fully subjective list of prints that I consider to be the best that Mondo has produced. Part of what’s entertaining about making these lists is that one can decide what print means more to them than another. Art is a subjective form, so for some the lack of Tyler Stout classics will rankle feathers, while others may say there’s too much webuyyourkids – and they’re not wrong, but they’re also not right. These next twenty prints are the ones that work the most out of the hundreds of prints that Mondo have created for me. However, let me know what you feel should have been in the list.
20. Jay Shaw has six entries on this list, and if you were to look back at the four already presented you’d question if they came from the same artist. Like Martin Ansin, Mike Mitchell and Ken Taylor, Jay Shaw is an artist whose palette spans many styles. Here, he tackles one of the most unique new forms of art around – x-rays. Like many of the prints on this list, Jay’s Alien print has a ‘shit, why didn’t I think of that?’ aspect to it. After all – John Hurt’s Kane does get an x-ray in the film.
The facehugger sits tight on Kane’s face, the distended heart suggesting what doom is to come. The typography of the patients name and details helps place this x-ray in a futuristic realm. While some may cringe at the idea of having an x-ray hanging on their walls, the artistic level of this print (which was printed on a backlit polyester film) is top level work.
19. Even though the machine that is Mondo is one that was founded on trying to create new, unique, interesting prints for existing properties, there is a need to also create prints for films that are yet to be released (and in some circumstances, films that will never be released). The access to IP’s may be bundled alongside certain new properties. If Mondo wants to do X property, then they will have to create prints for this lesser desired property. Because of this, an artist is sometimes unable to actually see the film that they are creating a print for – often they may only have a trailer to go on, or set photos. Daniel Danger experienced this when all he had to go on when making his Cowboys & Aliens was the trailer.
So, when director Guillermo del Toro and Legendary Pictures approached Mondo to do a Crimson Peak print, they went all out. del Toro is no stranger to Mondo, having worked with the company on many different prints for his films (such as this Mimic print), and therefore understands the need of an artist to understand the text they’re creating a print for. Seven months prior to the films release, Daniel Danger was allowed to sit in a cinema all by himself and draw from the gothic elements to create this masterpiece (that is, until he does his Corrina, Corrina print). When you think of gothic, haunted, fractured houses, you think of Daniel Danger. This is a perfect companion of artist and film. I could go on about its brilliance, but really, just read this interview with Danger and get a sense of his pure excitement for the task that laid ahead of him.
18. As you may have gathered from the previous Ken Taylor entries in this list, he absolutely nails the films of classic cinema. Nosferatu, Metropolis and now 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Ken’s attention to detail with the giant squid versus the Nautilus is next level work.
The dark black, and deep blues present a feeling of doom and peril. The inhabitants of the Nautilus are in for a rough time, and you can’t help but imagine the destruction that will eventuate from this tussle. But, the typography and inclusion of a ‘For General Exhibition’ rating label, help push a sense of fun and safety that early Disney kids films provided. You know that bad stuff is going to happen, but it’s adventure level bad stuff – it won’t be that bad.
17. Rockin Jelly Bean’s work is all boobs, butts and bright colours. Women are often exaggerated, with their oversized appendages draped in small, tight clothing. It’s pure objectification, and sure, it’s not for everybody, but the artistry is through the roof. One could argue that Rockin Jelly Bean is the Russ Meyer of the art print world.
With that in mind, there’s no better fit for Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about the porn industry than Rockin Jelly Bean. Aaron Horkey helped curate a series of prints that focus on the work of Paul Thomas Anderson, and his decision to put Rockin Jelly Bean with Boogie Nights is inspired. It’s bright, it’s garish, it’s erotic, it’s everything you’d expect a print for a film about porn to be.
16. Spike Jonze’s Her is a film about how integrally interweaved technology has become in our lives. It’s become as essential as water, air, and food. The concept that our lives are driven, and changed, by technology is a daunting one. The concept that we can possibly fall in love with a being, or rather a computer program, that has no physical form is a fascinating idea.
Matthew Woodson’s Her could have gone the easy route of showing Theodore with his phone, or try and create a physical representation of Samantha. Instead, we see Theodore walking alone, dwarfed by a monument of a plane standing on its nose. It’s daunting and helps reinforce how small and alone Theodore feels in the world. The absence of people here helps reinforce this manufactured isolation that has come from the existence of technology. Yet, the muted colours provide a warm, calming feeling. This is not a future to fear or be concerned about. It’s one to embrace and cooperate with.
15. The third Jurassic franchise entry on this list, and the last dinosaur related print, is Rich Kelly’s stunning Jurassic Park print. Like Jaws, it’s hard to top the original poster, but Mondo have certainly tried. Almost every artist on their roster has had a shot at this IP, and no doubt many will feel that their favourite is the best of the bunch (for what it’s worth, coming a close third is Todd Slater’s kaleidoscopic print). Yet, for me, none top Rich Kelly’s work.
The title Jurassic Park is part of nature here – it lingers behind Muldoon, waiting to pounce just like the circling raptors. What works so well about this print is that it simply oozes a feeling of being in the thick of a jungle, and out of your element. The sunlight seeps through the cracks in the foliage, and the shadows harbour the waiting mouths and claws of the velociraptor pack. Muldoon’s shotgun is dipped down, his eyes having locked on his impending doom. He has resigned to his fate. Man will never be able to ever truly conquer nature.
14. What you’re looking at below is the work of over 100 hours of artistry. The level of intricate filigree and flourishes that are applied to surround a plumage of smoke from a bursting, flaming oil well is mesmerising. To quote a Simpsons episode, it’s like a lava lamp.
Look, where I’ve written a bunch of words discussing the intricacies of a print before, I am simply at a loss for words for this print. It’s the print that hangs beside my bed, and is often the first thing I see in the morning. It’s powerful, impressive work. Aaron Horkey’s choice of green colouring for the variant gives a hint of American currency. I’m sure many are asking why this isn’t in the top ten, and I have to say the only reason is due to the titling being a little tough to read.
13. While David Cronenberg’s The Fly is not an exceptionally sexual film, it does still focus on the creation of a unique being. The organic, moist and sticky aspect of Brundle’s accidental creation is disturbing, and webuyyourkids print portrays the beginning of the union between Seth and the insect that seals his fate.
This close up of Seth’s hand hints at the image of naked Seth squatting, awaiting the outcome of his experiment. It’s a resigned, limp hand that hints at someone who has willingly put his life into the cradle of science. Mondo has, oddly, released a lot of prints that focus on hands, and there is no better display of the appendage that got us into the dilemmas we have gotten into than this print. Lest we forget the fact that without opposable thumbs we would not have the ability to create devices such as teleportation pods. One can’t help but ask, maybe we would be better off without them?
12. Back in the renegade days of Mondo, the notion of getting actor likeness approval or license approval was something that simply wasn’t entirely there. Likeness rights are when an actor has given approval for an artists representation of them in a print. The same goes for studio approval, where a studio or director has signed off on an artists concept that will be commercially sold as an item that represents their film. Way back when, those things were less of an issue and that’s how we end up with Todd Slater’s masterpiece – Goldfinger.
I would like to hope that Sean Connery would sign off on an image of his face being turned into gold bouillons. I won’t lie, I’m not a huge Bond fan, but I can certainly appreciate the creativity and genius here. Yes, it’s quite literal, but it’s so simply perfect that you can’t help wish it were the actual poster for the film. So mesmerising is this print, that it took me until a few months ago to realise that this print had images of the film in the background. And this is ten years old.
(Heck, this print is so darn great that even Christie’s wants a piece of it.
11. Robert Eggers The Witch is a modern horror classic. It’s a film that’s about the allure of ‘the other’, and all the chaos and confusion that that emotion brings with it. Religion, death, the supernatural, heaven, hell and the devil all are explored within the film, culminating in the climactic scenes with a pure black goat named Black Phillip. The children taunt the goat, jeering and dancing around the creature. The ominous woods hang close to the farm stead, its shadows reach far in a sunless sky.
Where Black Phillip is the pure representation of the Devil, he is also a figure of desire and represents the lurid, enticing aspects of witchcraft and evil. Aaron Horkey’s work represents an orgy of hands grooming and caressing a smiling Black Phillip. Horkey’s use of a wide array of oranges and blacks shows the death that fuels the autumnal season, and also that fuels the Ineson’s families downfall. Horkey’s work is equally as enticing as the film itself. A pure, perfect representation of a superb work of art.
Alright, that’s the 20 through to 11. Come back tomorrow for the Top Ten Mondo Prints.