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MondoCon 2019: Where Artists and Art Enthusiasts Meet

Austin’s own Mondo held its fifth MondoCon on September 14 and 15, and it was quite the weekend for those who love pop culture, art, collectibles and more.

The convention took place at the Palmer Events Center, where there was plenty of room for all of the vendors (including Mondo itself), as well as a curtained-off area for panels and their audiences. MondoCon has a more organized setup than most similar conventions, likely because it’s necessary in this case. Between cordoned-off lines for certain vendors and a ticketing system to prevent camping out, there’s no doubt that Mondo has this down to an art — and only five years in!

While most of the vendors were selling art — both prints and originals — you could also find board games, puzzles, records and movies at the convention. There was a bar set up in the middle serving, among other things, the Con Beer from Austin Beerworks, and there were food trucks outside for attendees who got hungry while walking around and looking at all the wares.

Some of the artists who set up booths at MondoCon 5 were familiar names to Mondo loyalists, like Greg Ruth and Rory Kurtz. Others may have provided new discoveries for the convention goers, like Scott Campbell (aka Scott C.) and Erica Williams. The styles represented at the convention ranged from cartoonish to photorealistic, and from family-friendly to adult-oriented. It was amazing to see so many talented people in one place.

There were a wide range of panels at MondoCon too. Saturday kicked off with a couple of Mondo-centric topics: the Art of Toy Making and Underscore: A Soundtrack Panel. Those who love Mondo know how awesome their collectible figures and gorgeous records can be. On Sunday, there was a MondoCon Spotlight panel with the aforementioned Greg Ruth, a Live Draw session with three artists collaborating as the audience watched, and Mondo Talk, which was a discussion of how they put together Mondo posters.

Somehow, MondoCon feels both large and contained. The fans are zealous — many of them bring their own poster carrying tubes slung over their shoulders — and the exhibitors are personable.

In the several hours I spent there over the two days, I witnessed (or was a part of) more than a handful of times when an artist had a personal conversation with someone buying from them. When you think southern hospitality, you’re likely thinking of “Thank you, come again.” But this was so much more! There were stories behind pieces of artwork, tales of past MondoCons and even discoveries of friends in common. It’s a place for like-minded people to mingle and support each other. Even movie poster art legend Drew Struzan was there to autograph posters and books.

MondoCon is a great event for anyone with even the slightest interest in pop culture and art of all kinds. It’s a wonderful way to spend a weekend, enjoying yourself and watching others have the time of their lives among a crowd. Sign me up for MondoCon 6, please!

Featured image credit: Ben Rothenberg

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