Frequent Birth.Movies.Death. readers are probably already acquainted with the name Matt Taylor - he's the guy who absolutely crushed the cover of our Star Wars issue last December (you guys still got your copies? Mine are bagged and hidden away, in case of apocalypse), and a regular fixture on the Mondo poster scene.
This weekend, Taylor will be appearing at the third annual MondoCon in Austin, TX, where he'll be dropping a brand-new print for John Carpenter's Escape From New York. We've got that reveal (plus an exclusive interview with the artist) for you below, along with a look at some other brand-new art prints Taylor will be bringing to the Con.
Let's get started.
Escape From New York (Regular Edition) by Matt Taylor
Escape From New York (Variant Edition) by Matt Taylor
Which one do you guys prefer? I don't think I'm ready to decide, but with a gun to my head I think the variant's probably the frontrunner. I love Taylor's use of Manhattan in this piece, and its inclusion is even bolder in that version. On the other hand, the regular edition has a glow-in-the-dark layer that looks like this, so...
Tell us a little bit about how you started out.
Matt Taylor: I’ve been working as an illustrator on and off for about fourteen years. I studied advertising and graphic design at university which wasn’t really for me, but I’d always enjoyed drawing - I just never realised I could make a living at it! I started out doing gig posters for local bands and editorial work at night whilst working a day job until I got tot the point where I could support myself wholly as an illustrator. It’s been an up and down journey to get to where I am now, I’ve worked in design studios, managed shoe shops and did a brief stint with the national park service, but I think I’m pretty much settled on illustration now.
What was your first Mondo gig? Were you familiar with the company before they reached out the first time?
Taylor: I actually had two first gigs when it comes to working with Mondo. I was familiar with the company already (I have Tomer Hanuka’s Warriors hanging in my kitchen) when Olly asked me if I’d like to do a Star Trek poster for a print release he was art directing. That ended up being my Arena print which took about a year to go through the approvals process, but I only really worked with Olly.
In the meantime, Mitch emailed me after seeing the Lost in Translation poster I’d produced for a private commission group and asked if there were any movies I fancied making a poster for. I suggested Brick straight off the bat because it’s one of my all time favourite movies and that was that really - it turned out really nicely and three years later we’re still working together.
What's your creative process like? In broad (or, if you'd like, detailed) strokes, walk me through a piece.
Taylor: First thing for me is to watch the movie. The only exception I've ever made to that was The Force Awakens - and if there was ever a movie to break your own rules for it was that one. Generally I’ll watch the movie on the sofa with a notepad and scribble down ideas as they come to me. Once I have something in mind I’ll go back through the movie on my laptop and take any screen grabs I need to work with, then it’s just a case of drawing up a sketch, making sure everyone is happy and turning it into finished artwork.
Which of your Mondo prints are you the most proud of?
Taylor: It's hard to pick a favorite, but Brick, The Breakfast Club and Everybody Wants Some are probably up there. And The Force Awakens - that was a total dream job, although in retrospect I would have made captain plasma less prominent...
What is your dream project, the thing you'd like to work on above all else?
Taylor: To be honest there's not much left on the list - I've been lucky to take a swing at some of the biggest properties there are - Batman, Star Wars, Back To The Future - as well as personal favorites like Brick. I'd like to have a go at something in the Disney back catalogue - because I have a two year old daughter and it would be entirely for her - and I'm really excited about next years Wonder Woman, so that would be a cool assignment. I'm just happy to keep making movie posters. I still have to pinch myself a bit that this is actually my job, so I'm going to enjoy it as long as it lasts.
Tell me a little about your approach to the Escape From New York piece. I love the incorporation of the map.
Taylor: Thanks man! I did my homework in terms of looking at as many of the posters that existed for EFNY as I could - original and modern reinterpretations - and while there were some elements that I felt were crucial despite them being used before (snake looking badass, liberty and the grid patterns) I also wanted to find something additional that hadn't been done to death. I was actually pretty surprised that Manhattan hadn't been represented much and the shape of the island gave a nice directional flow to the piece, drawing the eye down the page.
Also, and this is so stupidly literal I'm almost embarrassed, Snake is visually trapped by the constraints of the shape of the island, hence his need to escape (oof).
Settle the debate: Escape From L.A. is a) a worthy sequel or b) dead to you.
Taylor: True story: I had never seen Escape From New York when Rob pitched me the idea of doing a poster for it, so obviously I hadn't seen the sequel either. I really enjoyed EFNY but had heard dark things about LA so I asked a few friends whose judgement I trust if it was worth watching and the response was a unanimous NO, DEAR GOD NO, so even without seeing it, I'd say: dead to me.
Matt Taylor will be appearing at MondoCon this weekend, where he'll have a very limited quantity of his older prints (which ones? The ones in the checkerboard above!) available for purchase. Once they're gone, they're gone, so my advice would be to hustle on over to Matt's booth (B20 in Arsenio Hall) with a quickness if you're gunning for any of the harder-to-find items (read: Lost In Translation, Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
In addition to the Escape From New York and the older prints glimpsed above, Matt's also bringing a new pair of art prints with him to MondoCon (both will be available via his booth). Here's what they look like:
The Pioneer by Matt Taylor
The Pilgrim by Matt Taylor
We're going to have quite a bit of MondoCon 2016 coverage this week, including: a recap of the Con itself, an interview with the Mondo creative team, a look at some of the new prints being dropped at the Con - and maybe another reveal - and, on Friday, we'll announce the winner of the Daniel Danger Spirit Board contest. Stay tuned for all of that, and if you're headed to MondoCon this weekend, feel free to say hi if we cross paths! It's gonna be a great weekend.
Oh, and PS: thanks to Matt Taylor, Fons PR, and the Mondo crew for helping us put this one together.