With MondoCon III just around the corner, we sat down with one of our favorite Mondo artists, Ghoulish Gary Pullin for a quick chat.
Pullin’s work is heavily centered in a lot of genre favorites. His use of bright colors and specific detail is hypnotic and can be seen through all of his works. Originally, Pullin worked as a art director for ‘Rue Morgue Magazin’e and has since won a Rondo Hatton Award for artist of the year, and become a popular Mondo artist. His work echoes the same sensibilities as those special horror films you never get tired of watching and have the gravity to transport you back into some of your favorite movie moments.
iHORROR: Who were some of your influences?
Gary Pullin: If we’re taking about who my biggest contemporary influences are from the poster scene then, I’d have to say my three biggest are probably Jay Shaw and my Canadian cohorts Jason Edmiston and Justin Erickson from Phantom City Creative. Jay Shaw for his brilliant solutions, simple concepts and use of text. He can nail a movie or soundtrack with one simple, clean image and that can be a powerful thing. Edmiston for his monster talent at painting, drawing, bright lighting techniques and his ability to render just about anything from striking portraits to landscapes. Justin for his clever concepts and strong graphic design that seamlessly mends with his illustration style.
iH: I know it’s prolly a ever-changing list. But, right now what are your top 3 horror films?
Gary Pullin: You’re right, my top three horror films constantly rotate and if you were to ask me next month, it may be slightly different but lately, I keep going back to ‘The Changeling,’ ‘Session 9’ and ‘The Creature From The Black Lagoon.’ I’m also obsessed with the original ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘John Carpenter’s The Thing.’ See, it’s too hard!
iH: This is the third year of MondoCon. What do you enjoy most about being part of it?
Gary Pullin: Aside from the exhibiting aspect and meeting the people who like my artwork, I’d have to say it’s hanging out and meeting all of the incredible artists there. I’m lucky to call a lot of these folks friends. It’s also always great catching up with the hardworking folks at Mondo that make MondoCon possible. They have created a whole new convention experience for fans of film inspired artwork, music and pop culture. It’s also in Austin, which is reason enough to attend, I love it there.
iH: With licensing set aside, do you have any dream projects that you would like to work on?
Gary Pullin: I’d love the opportunity to work with Criterion on a blu-ray release, or work with Quentin Tarantino on something. I grew up reading Stephen King books, so I would jump at the chance to do a cover for anything he’s written and as much as I’ve been inspired by movie posters from the 1980s, there was some memorable book covers from that era too like ‘Christine,’ ‘Pet Cemetery,’ ‘Skeleton Crew’ and ‘Salem’s Lot.’
iH. What print do you own (other artists work) that is your all time fave. The one you love the most.
Gary Pullin: That’s another tough question because it changes often, but if it was a matter of of saving one print from a house fire right now it would be Jason Edmiston’s ‘Halloween’ variant. If there was time to run back into the house, I’d grab Ken Taylor’s ‘Maniac.’
iH: What is your process after you choose a project?
Gary Pullin: I usually start out by watching the film again with a sketch book and I’ll do very rough thumbnails, write down thoughts and ideas. If it’s a soundtrack, I’ll listen to it to help find the mood or atmosphere I want to convey. Once I’ve got a few things jotted down, I’ll move onto the computer to tighten up my layouts and to present my best concepts. I like to show a broad range of ideas to show I’ve thought about different directions. It happens once in a while but it’s rare I land on the first idea that comes to mind. Sometimes the client has a general idea or suggestion for what they are looking for or what they would like too see, which helps too and we go from there.
iH: ‘Fright Night,’ ‘Scream’ and ‘It’ are all amazing prints of yours that have had remakes in film and TV. What are your feelings on genre remakes? Do you think there are good ones out there?
Gary Pullin: Thanks very much! I do think there are great remakes that have been made, but the knee-jerk reaction, especially from the horror community, is to instantly pounce on a proposed remake. Considering most of them haven’t been so great, it’s hard to keep looking forward to them. I look at it like when a band covers a song. If the artists covering the material can’t bring something new to it, build upon the original or are just doing it note for note, then what’s the point? But when they work, they can stand on their own so I try to reserve judgement until I see it. ‘The Thing,’ ‘The Fly,’ ‘The Blob,’ ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ ‘The Ring,’ ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ and ‘Piranha 3D’ were all successful updates to me but there’s been more than a few that make me think they really should have just left it on the shelf.
iH: Your artwork for the Monster Squad soundtrack is fantastic. The creature is on of my fave characters. Can you tell me how you got involved in that project? And what’s a dream soundtrack you would love to work on?
Gary Pullin: I really felt like a kid working on ‘The Monster Squad’ vinyls. Mondo first contacted me about creating the Wolfman cover for the 7″ singles that was released back in May. They often joke that Randy Ortiz, Jason Edmiston, Justin Erickson and I are like the Canadian Monster Squad so the asked each of us to do one. I also got to design the back covers of those first four releases so when Mondo came to me to do the full package soundtrack design, they asked what I would do, I suggested we could take that back cover idea of Monster Magazine classified ads and carry it across the rest of the packaging. I imagined what kind of stuff you could order from the back pages of monster magazines or comic books and mixed the whole monster kid craze from the 1950s with ‘The Monster Squad.’ For example, the 6-foot Frankenstein’s Monster on the cover is a nod to the actual Jack Davis’ standee and the Creature model is a nod to the Aurora model. It just seemed to make sense to try this direction and it was incredibly satisfying coming up with the accompanying verbiage and imagery. I felt right at home in the clubhouse working on this one. Up until last year it was ‘My Bloody Valentine’ but I got the opportunity to do that with WaxWork Records but I’d love to do anything official for ‘The Changeling,’ both for the soundtrack or a poster.
Those lucky enough to attend MondoCon III, need to make sure to stop by Gary’s booth and say hello. Among the many great prints and vinyl soundtracks, he will feature a Monster Squad soundtrack with a fantastic Creature (From the Black Lagoon) interior.
MondoCon features tons of amazing artists, prints, vinyls pins, beer, food and film. For more info on how to be part of the beautiful chaos go to, https://mondotees.com/pages/mondocon.
MondoCon is a celebration of everything we love, including movies, art, comics, music, toys and food. It’s a weekend curated with our fans in mind, featuring incredible Artists & Creators from around the world, Panels, Screenings, Food Trucks & Interactive Events. MondoCon 2016 takes place October 22nd and 23rd in Austin, Texas.