We Need To Talk About Mondo Part Three: The Future Of Mondo, by Chase Beck
In September of 2014, Mondo held its first convention: MondoCon Austin (Or just MondoCon, for short). Being the first ever, nobody; neither the attendees, vendors, artists, or Mondo; really knew what to expect. Mondo announced that there would be several panels, screenings, guest artists and artists booths. Now, the second MondoCon is occurring in just a few days. I think artists, art fans, and collectors have learned much about how to plan and prepare for the event. However, this convention is still growing and evolving and will likely be slightly different by next year. When MondoCon ‘14 occurred, I knew almost nothing about poster collecting. I had only been doing it for about a year. Some old-timers would say I still know nothing about poster collecting. They would probably be right. But that is not going to stop me from trying.
When I went to MondoCon, I had previously purchased prints with very little interest in the artists. I was predominantly interested in the art design and subject matter. For the large part, that is still true. Apart from Mike Mignola, as I have previously mentioned as one of my favorite artists, I had no idea who the various print artists were at MondoCon. But, as I studied and learned more, not just about print art and Mondo but graphic design and contemporary art in general, I felt like I began to understand, if just a little bit, the print art world. Some people are strict adherents to specific artists and will buy just about anything they release. Others follow a gallery (like Mondo, for instance) or group of artists (like Vacvvm).
I think one important thing to note is that, from the start, MondoCon was labeled as MondoCon Austin, being that it happened in Austin. I think that Mondo plans to expand MondoCon to more locations and at different times in the future. Based on the popularity of the event in Austin, I would not be surprised if this happened in the next few years. I know that Mondo prints are gaining popularity and that their booth at the San Diego Comic-Con is always popular. One of the things that I appreciate about Mondo is that throughout the duration San Diego Comic-Con this year, they were releasing prints and items online as well. Comic-Con is already an event that people all over the world pay attention to. Mondo used that popularity to publicize interactive, online sales that non-attendees can participate in, wherever they are. Due to their success in San Diego, I would not be surprised if similar sales became the norm during all of Mondo’s events in the future. Instead of waiting for the end of a gallery show, or MondoCon to buy the remaining prints. I can see Mondo offering simultaneous prints to people monitoring events from home.
My Tips For Collecting
I’m still a beginner so, take this advice with a grain of salt. Also, if you know more than me, feel free to educate me.
- Sign up for newsletters/social media: If you are interested in the type of work Mondo does, sign up for their newsletter. Many other galleries and even individual artists also have newsletters or are active on social media. Connecting to and following them is a great way to stay abreast of events
- Educate yourself: Going to a site like Expresso Beans (EB) is a great way to find learn about print art collecting. Just about every print released is posted and tracked on EB. They also have information on popular artists, prices and events. You can even record your acquisitions there to help you keep track of what you have. It makes connecting with people who are buying and selling prints much easier. EB also has a vast number of forums on various topics. It is a rabbit hole that you could become lost in for hours. EB will probably be overwhelming at first. For a while you might want to limit yourself to the art listings.
- Storage: So you’ve taken the plunge and bought your first one or fifty prints. Now what do you do? Leaving them in their cardboard shipping tubes is not a good idea. The longer they stay tightly rolled-up, the more damage they will sustain when eventually unrolled. This means that the best way to store prints is flat. If you are smart and have self-control, you will never own more prints than you can artistically display on your walls. If you are instead, like me, you will soon have posters flattening on every single surface of your cluttered, untidy apartment. There are many solutions to storing prints flat but the best is investing in something called a flat file. It’s a file cabinet used for storing large, flat pieces of paper and is usually popular with draftsmens, architects, and engineers. Most are either wood, aluminum, or steel and range in price from about $250 to $500. There is also the cardboard equivalent, a portfolio (look up Safco) which will save you money but will sacrifice durability.
- Display: For most prints, their size can present an obstacle to viewing. While it is possible to observe and appreciate an artist and printers collaborative vision and accomplishment in the detail of a piece, in my experience, being able to see the entire work from a distance as well as up close is essential to proper enjoyment. Museum galleries look the way they do for a reason. Taking a note or two from their book, framing and hanging on the wall is the best way that I have found so far of viewing print art. You likely have a local picture framer wherever you live. They will probably be eager to help you. You can also go to a hobby store and get some help, either in the form of a premade or custom frame. There are also online sites where you can specify the type and size of your frame as well as the size and width of the matte needed. I’ve used American Frame in the past and found them to be excellent.
- Enjoy: This is perhaps the most important part of collecting and should not be overlooked. I do not recommend you get into this hobby with the intention of making money. Also, do not buy anything you do not appreciate under the assumption that it will accrue in value. I have heard of art collectors doing so and I suppose that I understand the sentiment but I can not really agree with it. Part of enjoying is figuring out what you like. This leads you back to Educate Yourself. Chances are, if you are like me, you will eventually end-up with a piece you do not particularly enjoy. Sites like EB and eBay are excellent ways to sell it and allow someone who really appreciates such artwork to benefit from its beauty.