Like some of the best illustrations that graced the covers of fantasy novels and heavy metal albums in the ’70s and ’80s, Arik Roper's artwork is a portal to another world brimming with adventure and endless possibilities. Ahead of his appearance as a featured artist at MondoCon 2016 this weekend in Austin, TX, we caught up with Roper for a special "Meet the Artist" Q&A feature, and we also have a look at some of the eye-popping artwork he'll be bringing to this year's MondoCon.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, Arik. What sparked your initial interest in being an artist?
Arik Roper: It was a natural path for me, being an artist. Both my parents were artists. I was surrounded by it and I instinctively was drawn toward it, and received a lot of encouragement.
Your art often transports people deep into the realms of fantasy and horror. Were you a big fan of those genres when you were growing up?
Arik Roper: I was into fantasy more than horror. I was growing up in the mid-’70s through the ’80s, and I also got a healthy dose of that classic era of film. Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons—all that stuff was formative. I also loved underground comics and psychedelic art. I did like some supernatural horror, but mainly fantasy. I was into escapism.
What artists have influenced and inspired you over the years?
Arik Roper: Too many to count, but a few outstanding ones like Roger Dean, Bernie Wrightson, Jeff Jones, Vaughn Bodē, Frank Frazetta, Rick Griffin. Those in particular were big for me.
Early in your career, you honed your skills as a professional artist by working on album and CD covers for bands. How did you first get involved as an artist in the music world, and what were some of your favorite illustrations from those early days?
Arik Roper: I loved music and art, combining the two seemed like a natural match. I was buying old records a lot in my early teenage years and I was mostly drawn toward the artwork even more than the band itself. I loved the way the art set the scene for the music. Later, when I was in position to do art for bands, I jumped at the chance to create covers for CDs and LPs. I was fortunate to be connected with bands who later became pioneers for certain genres of music scenes. And my art went along with them for that ride and became associated with it.
When did you first get interested in graphic illustration and animation?
Arik Roper: I was interested in these things as a kid. I was always into animation, especially. I got into Ralph Bakshi, and other “adult” animation heavily when I was about 13. I reproached it manically. I spent days at the library searching for old newspaper articles and movie reviews of films like Heavy Metal just to learn more about it. Obviously this was before it was possible to see the film in any way other than at a midnight movie screening.
Reflecting on your career so far, what pieces or projects stand out to you as the most challenging ones to bring to life?
Arik Roper: I don’t know about challenging, but the work I’ve done with Sleep, the Dopesmoker album in particular, has been signifiant in a positive way.
Is there a dream project that you haven’t worked on yet that you would love to do in the future?
Arik Roper: I have a goal to do my own animated film, something all my own.
This weekend, you’ll be a featured artist at MondoCon in Austin, TX. What about the convention are you looking forward to the most, and what can fans expect to see from you at this year’s MondoCon?
Arik Roper: MondoCon is becoming somewhat of a reunion. So aside from catching up with many friends and colleagues, I’d like to see the screening of A Clockwork Orange and Enter the Dragon. But I might be stuck at my table as usual.
Below, we have a look at some of the awesome artwork that Roper will be bringing with him to MondoCon this weekend. To learn more about Roper and his work, visit his official website, and for more details on MondoCon 2016, we have the official press release with full details.
Press Release: Austin, TX—September 20 2016— Mondo is excited to unveil the lineup of panels, artists, screenings, live music and of course food trucks for MondoCon 2016! MondoCon 2016 will take place October 22nd and 23rd in Austin, TX at AFS Cinema and Holiday Inn Midtown Conference Center.
MondoCon is a celebration of everything Mondo loves, including movies, art, comics, music, toys and food. It's a weekend curated with fans in mind, featuring incredible artists & creators from around the world, panels, screenings, food trucks, live score and interactive events.
As previously announced, famed composer Clint Mansell will be in attendance to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain and the release of a brand new Mondo LP for the soundtrack, released on vinyl for the first time ever with artwork by Nicole Gustafsson. A Clockwork Orange, also celebrating an anniversary (45 years), will screen in glorious 35mm at the convention with a surprise limited edition screen print from artist Rory Kurtz.
A stellar schedule of panels will include sneak peaks at what Mondo has up its sleeve for upcoming toys & collectibles, an in-depth discussion of soundtracks from Mondo Music Group and other leading labels, and more including an epic design panel from three titans of the artist world – Olly Moss, Jock and Jay Shaw doing their first ever collaboration… live!
On the eve of MondoCon, the Mondo Gallery (4115 Guadalupe Street) will host a show entitled “Home,” featuring new works from artists Jason Edmiston and Ken Taylor. The show will feature an expansive collection of original pieces, along with a few posters, focused around iconic houses, architecture, and place. The opening reception will be from 7-10PM on October 21st, and is free and open to the public.
All this and stunning new Mondo collectibles will be made available to the public for the first time, including over a dozen limited edition screen prints, toy collectibles, and vinyl releases like The Monster Squad featuring the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack composed by Bruce Broughton and collectible artwork by Gary Pullin.
Full schedule of events: https://mondotees.com/pages/mondocon-events
Art of Toymaking
A behind-the-scenes look at the Mondo collectibles line with Creative Director of Toys/Collectibles Brock Otterbacher, sculptor Phil Ramirez, artist Matt Taylor, and other special guests. This panel will give fans a first look at a few upcoming releases and insight into the toy-making process!
Underscore: A Soundtrack Panel
Mo Shafeek & Spencer Hickman from the Mondo Music Group discuss the state of soundtracks in 2016, and discuss how they are growing the label into the digital realm, while remaining committed to producing market leading physical products of both new and classic soundtracks.
Get insight behind the process of how titles are chosen for release, and a maybe even a few 2017 title teases as well. Guests will include key labels from the soundtrack scene discussing their work and how the soundtrack vinyl revival can continue to grow.
The Art of Jock
The Art of Jock panel returns to MondoCon, this time focusing his book of the same name. Made in collaboration with Insight Editions, The Art of Jock book delves into the prolific artist’s catalog, showcasing the best of his sketches and published images. Jock and Art of Jock author Will Dennis will sit down to discuss the making of the stunning new book, and provide a look into the mind and method of one of the most critically acclaimed illustrators working today.
OMG Posters Panel
Launched in 2007, OMGPosters.com has since become one of the world’s favorite art blogs, showcasing thousands of handmade prints by independent artists and printmakers. OMG Posters features works by 40 different artists that sparked the explosive growth of the gig poster scene. OMG Posters founder, and Mondo Creative Director, Mitch Putnam and featured artists will guide attendees through the entire scope of the gig poster scene today, and the high caliber of artwork and collaboration involved.
The Mondo poster team of Mitch Putnam, Rob Jones, Jay Shaw, & Eric Garza discuss the creative process behind Mondo's work and how they work with artists and arrive at final images. The panel will include a presentation of alternate concepts and a look at some of the biggest releases of the year!
Pretty Much Everything: The Story Behind Making Our Very First Book
The Draplin Design Company got a book deal! That shimmering call up to the big leagues! Go behind the scenes with theDDC and the harrowing account of making our first book. From the contracts to the scheming, from the pagination to the design, from the tears to the nightmares...let us tell you what it’s like to cram your whole half-wit design career into 256 pages, and live to tell and read the story. We’ll pack in stories from the run-up, release and surreal fallout, as well as updates to other tricky ventures we’ve been up to. The entire presentation is dipped in Pantone Orange 021!
Mondo Live: Draw & Design
You, the audience, will pick the movie. Olly Moss, Jock and Jay Shaw will collaborate to create the greatest (or worst) poster ever live on-stage!
SCREENINGS & EVENTS
The Fountain (Screening and Q&A)
Mondo is excited to welcome composer Clint Mansell to MondoCon to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Darren Aronofsky’s epic drama The Fountain and the release of the arrestingly beautiful score for the first time ever on vinyl. Blending elements of fantasy, historical drama, romance, spirituality and science fiction The Fountain is one of the most unique cinematic experiences of all time and has amassed a faithful following since its release in 2006. Mansell will participate in an in-depth conversation about The Fountain, the music, and its impact over the last decade. Austin's soundtrack expert Brian Satterwhite will conduct the interview following a screening of the film at MondoCon on Saturday, October 22nd.
Clint Mansell said, "more than any of my works, the demand for The Fountain on vinyl has been building incessantly over the years. We've all waited a long time for this and, to be honest, I never really thought it would happen. But, once again, Mondo delivers. I was blown away by their release of Black Swan last year, so I'm excited that we get to do it all again with The Fountain. Aronofsky! Mansell! Mondo! Death Waltz! The Fountain! Nuff Said!”
A Clockwork Orange (Screening)
Stanley Kubrick, arguably the greatest filmmaker of all time, brought Anthony Burgess's 1962 dystopian crime novel, A Clockwork Orange, to vibrant life in 1971. The film stars Malcolm McDowell as an ultra-violent Beethoven-obsessed miscreant named Alex DeLarge. Alex and his band of “droogs" wreak havoc throughout London until Alex is apprehended by authorities and forced to take part in a state-sponsored rehabilitation program called the Ludovico technique. Kubrick’s gifts as a master of the medium are on full display here. A Clockwork Orange is a perfect blend of black humor, sociological commentary, science fiction, sexual politics, and music. The film improves with age in a way only Kubrick’s work does. Join us to viddy a special 35mm presentation of ultra-violence and debauchery including an exclusive new poster by Rory Kurtz. You’ll be cured alright.
Mondo Mystery Movie XII (Screening)
Mondo Mystery Movie XII is coming to MondoCon 3! It's been a few years and we couldn't be more excited about this. The movie will remain a closely held secret until the lights go down in the theater and the film starts Saturday night at MondoCon. All attendees will receive an exclusive screen printed poster for the film, included with ticket purchase.
Enter the Dragon (Screening)
In 1973, martial arts legend Bruce Lee already had a successful film career in Hong Kong, and though he had a few roles in American television under his belt, he was still mostly an unknown to the rest of the world. That all changed with Enter the Dragon- the first time a major American studio financed a martial arts film, and more importantly, the first time many Westerners had seen Lee on the big screen. With its charismatic lead, dripping-with-cool co-stars, memorable Funk/Eastern fusion score, and kinetic, hard-hitting fight sequences, it stands as one of the best, most iconic martial arts films to this day. Come celebrate with us for a special 35mm presentation that includes an exclusive new poster by Jock
Le Matos Live (Performance)
Death Waltz and Mondo are excited to have Le Matos performing at this year’s event. Attendees can rock out live to their killer mix of Electro, Techno, and 80s dance-floor synth attack. They be playing a selection of tracks from Turbo Kid and their debut LP "Join Us." Attendees can purchase a very special version of "Join Us," limited to just 300 copies pressed on exclusive splatter vinyl with their ticket.
THE ART OF JOCK BOOK - Mondo Exclusive Version
Mondo, in partnership with Insight Editions, is releasing a Mondo Exclusive version of THE ART OF JOCK, a book celebrating the uniquely dynamic work of the acclaimed artist. In addition to the book, the Mondo Exclusive version includes four 9"x9" letterpress prints, one 8"x12" screen print, and a card signed by Jock, all packaged in a stunning hard-shell slipcase. The Mondo Exclusive version is limited to just 500 copies.
Additionally, five random copies of the book will include an original pen & ink illustration by Jock inside.
Mondo will be hosting a silent auction featuring rare products from over the years. All proceeds go to Austin's Creative Action.
About Creative Action:
Through interactive classroom performances, after school arts residencies and community-based programs, Creative Action’s team of professional Teaching Artists inspire youth to be Creative Artists, Courageous allies, Critical Thinkers, and Confident Leaders.
Frank is a Chicago hot doggery with a focus on Luxurious Sausage & Waffle Fries and boasts a menu of fancy hotdogs that includes an array of artisan sausages that include veggie options. If you get a chance to stop by their downtown location definitely check out their creative list of cocktails, beer and espresso drinks. Pro tip: Frank has been known to cleverly name their hotdog options from time to time, swing by their truck in the food court and see what they’ve come up with for MondoCon!
Micklethwait Craft Meats
Austin is known to play host to quite a few notable BBQ joints. The folks at Micklethwait Craft Meats are one of those joints sitting pretty at the top. Micklethwait specializes in award-winning beef ribs, house-made desserts and bread, world famous jalapeno cheese grits and a rotating cast of fresh-made sausage and of course brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork and much more!
Kebabalicious’ organic Turkish kebabs are no joke! Another Austin staple, Kebabalicious offers up delicious kebabs ranging from chicken, beef and lamb, hutspa and falafel (with a side of K-Fries please!). Don’t forget to top your kebabs with spicy sauces and check this off your Austin cuisine bucket list!
Arlo’s serves vegan comfort food in a bistro style setting for Austin late night eats. A big supporter of local, organic and non-gmo products, Arlo’s food is designed to satisfy omnivores and herbivores alike. We dare you to tell us their vegan Bac’n Cheeze Burger doesn’t actually taste like a bacon cheeseburger.
Vegan Nom is Texas’ first all vegan taco truck. Some consider tacos to be Texas’ state food (who are we to disagree?) and a must when visiting Austin. We couldn’t risk that you’d go the whole weekend without a taco so our friends at Vegan Nom will be whipping up signature tacos with authentic salsas and house-made vegan queso for your taste palate’s delight.
Zucchini Kill is a rock n roll scratch bakery that uses organic, local and allergy free ingredients to bake delicious sweet and savory products that will revolutionize your mind and belly. Be sure to ask for their special vegan Twinkie, it will rock your world in so many ways! It rocked ours. Zucchini Kill’s call to action is “WE ARE ZUCCHINI KILL AND WE WANT A REVOLUTION – DESSERT STYLE NOW!” We see what you did there ZK - and we like it.
Juice Austin will keep you hydrated and feeling good with their healthy options of juices, cleanses and superfood smoothies. With options like green, fruit and root juices, Juice Austin will keep you refreshed to get you through the halls of MondoCon, making sure you don’t skip a beat. Nutritious, delicious and ice cold for powering through the Texas heat!
Wanderlust Coffee Truck
Wanderlust Coffee Truck is Austin’s finest mobile espresso bar. Globally responsible, locally roasted, ripe picked coffee – Wanderlust is bringing the finest handcrafted beverages brought straight to you! May we suggest the nitro cold brew?
PANELS + SCREENING TICKET INFO
Tickets for evening screenings and RSVP spots for free daytime panels will become available on mondo-con.com at 12pm CST this Friday, September (9/23). Here are some important things to know for securing a spot:
Tickets for evening screenings & events (The Fountain, A Clockwork Orange, Le Matos - Live!) include a poster and/or vinyl, and are limited to the number of seats in the theater. When the screening sells out, that’s it!
For free daytime panels, 75% of the seats will be held for RSVPs, which will guarantee you a seat in the theater. If you are unable to secure an RSVP spot online next Friday, don’t worry! There will be a line outside the theater for the remaining 25% of seats, plus any no-show RSVP spots.
Tickets to panels and screenings are non-transferrable. A MondoCon wristband and ticket are both required for entry. Identification will be required to match the name on the ticket. Follow us on Twitter for the sale/RSVP announcement.
ARISTS & EXHIBITORS IN ATTENDANCE
Burlesque of North America
Sam Wolfe Connelly
Enjoy the Toons Records
Industry Print Shop
Light in the Attic
National Poster Retrospecticus
Ship to Shore Records
Terror Vision / Graveface
Matt Ryan Tobin
MondoCon 2016 will take place October 22nd and 23rd in Austin, TX at AFS Cinema and Holiday Inn Midtown Conference Center. MondoCon is a celebration of everything Mondo loves, including movies, art, comics, music, toys and food. It's a weekend curated with fans in mind, featuring incredible artists & creators from around the world, panels, screenings, food trucks & interactive events. An opening reception featuring artwork by Jason Edmiston & Ken Taylor will take place on Friday, October 21st at the Mondo Gallery.
Two-day and single day tickets are available now for Mondo-Con. Visit the MondoCon official site for tickets and more info. And follow Mondo on Twitter for additional updates:
Mondo is an art gallery and online store devoted to a passionate love of film, art, music and toys. The company has received global recognition for bringing art back to movie poster design and has emerged as one of the leading curators of classic and contemporary film soundtracks on vinyl. Utilizing the talents of world class artists and designers, Mondo produces limited edition, screen printed posters based on film, television and comic properties, working with the leading entertainment brands including DC Comics, HBO, Marvel, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers as well as filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson, Guillermo Del Toro, Zack Snyder, Quentin Tarantino and Edgar Wright. Based in Austin, TX, Mondo operates out of a permanent gallery space, hosting regular exhibitions featuring a blend of breathtaking original artwork and limited edition screen prints. Mondo aspires to be a creative home for artists and designers to work and have their visions realized, whether through posters, gallery shows, vinyl, apparel or toys. Their first convention in 2014, MondoCon, was a celebration of art, music, film and their creators. Mondo is also recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences with a full archive of film posters as part of their research library. The parent company of Mondo is Alamo Drafthouse.