Even if you're not well-versed in the ever-expanding contingent of artists, galleries and websites that make up the collectible poster industry, there's a good chance you're familiar with the work of artist Mike Mitchell. This is the guy - nay, the minor deity - who created the famous "I'm With Conan" image that was adopted by Team Coco supporters during the Late Night Wars of 2010 (and by Team Coco itself during O'Brien's subsequent Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour), the guy who creates those cute little 8x11" images of your favorite movie characters (part of Mitchell's ongoing "Just Like Us" series), the guy who created one of the most indelible works of Tyrion Lannister-related artwork to date (ahem).
He's a versatile artist, is the point, and his work is all over the damn internet (start here); indeed, Mitchell is one of pop art's most prolific, consistently impressive talents. That title has never been less in-doubt than it was this past Friday, when Mitchell opened his second solo show at Austin's Mondo Gallery. The sheer volume of work on display was nothing less than staggering, and all the more impressive for the fact that there wasn't a weak spot in the entire showcase.
Like it says up top, this was a Marvel-themed showcase. The Mondo guys basically gave Mitchell the run of their Marvel license, and...well, Mike Mitchell went apeshit. Over 50 character portraits (most of which were 11x16", if you're wondering) were on display and available for purchase, every square inch of the Mondo Gallery's walls filled with framed superhero greatness. Check out the full lineup below.
On top of the 50+ portraits Mitchell created for the show, he also unveiled a dozen new Just Like Us prints, also based on various Marvel characters. Though smaller than the portraits, the JLU's offer a funnier, more playful punch, and were - as they usually are - the stars of the show. The most popular of these seemed to be Ghost Rider (that's him on the flaming unicycle below), but for my money the Post-It Note-faced Mysterio was the real winner.
I've attended every show the Mondo Gallery's ever thrown, and, even though I don't consider myself a Marvel fanboy (if anything, I'm a Vertigo fanboy), I gotta agree with the response this show has received: this was one of the most impressive, gorgeous collections to ever hit the Mondo Gallery walls. One can't help but wonder where Mitchell finds the energy. Let's hope he doesn't cave in on himself or something before he can return for a third showcase (pssst, hey Mike: how about a Kubrick-themed collection? My walls demand an Eyes Wide Shut JLU).
As always, special thanks to Team Mondo, Mike Mitchell and the folks at Fons PR for helping pull this event off.
Oh, and by the way: the Gallery announced its next showcase, a one-man show from Australian legend Ken Taylor, for the end of next month. No telling if that show's going to have a unifying theme; for now, all we have to go on is this (admittedly grainy) photo of the showcard announcing the event. Even shrunk down, that Little Shop of Horrors looks glorious. Stay tuned for more on that show as it develops, folks!