At the center wall of the Austin Film Society Theater, between elaborate booths of posters, pins, tee shirts, and original art stood a simple picnic table draped with a black cloth. A piece of paper read Artist Signing 10AM – 12PM in perfect penmanship.
With it being the first morning of the film poster and collectibles convention MondoCon, the thousands of attendees were split between a handful of lines for exclusives and must-have items but would soon be making their way to this booth with nothing for sale. The people would come to shake hands, have books and prints signed, or just say hello to the artist, Olly Moss.
Moss was only one of many artists who traveled from abroad to be in Austin that weekend — he arrived, alongside a bevy of others, from the United Kingdom with other artists traveling from Belgium, France, Canada, Brazil, Australia and all across the United States. The bulk of those illustrators and vendors had booths mixed with recent releases, original drawings and paintings, plus brand new exclusives designed to not last the weekend. Some, like Olly Moss, were there with nothing but the ability to be visible, to sign art and meet fans.
MondoCon, the celebrated arts convention of Austin’s Mondo Gallery (art department / sister to the Alamo Drafthouse) flows within the current stream of pop culture with a bevy of limited edition toys, posters, and vinyl soundtracks for properties like Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Masters of the Universe sitting alongside classic moments of cinema like Rosemary’s Baby and recent films The Martian and Under the Skin. The convention also hosted screenings of Clockwork Orange, The Fountain, Enter the Dragon and The VVitch, each with accompanied by a limited edition screen print provided by artists Rory Kurtz, Nicole Gustafsson, Jock, and Aaron Horkey.
The Mondo stage contains a vast spotlight, aimed as much on illustrators of reknown as those still working in the shadows. Each has an equal place on the gallery wall and the convention floor. It’s this that makes MondoCon such a unique moment — the event remains about the artists themselves. With the artist list being ‘invite only,’ the curated two day event is both ceremony and celebration of ink and paper, paint and canvas, and the ideas and narratives that guide them.