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One of the highlights from last year’s San Diego Comic-Con was meeting Mike Pain, the artist behind the company Mosaic Massacre. There were a lot of impressive costumes, some cool computer graphics on display and of course tons of our favorite celebrities. But only one person made FANGORIA a part of their art.
This giant Fango cover featuring the iconic SCREAM mask was not a quick project from a kit, and we spoke with Pain to find out what makes this artist tick.
FANGORIA: For those who may not be sure, how would you describe the art form known as mosaics?
MIKE PAIN: Technically it’s the decorative art of creating pictures or patterns on a surface by setting small colored pieces of glass, marble or other materials in a bed of cement, plaster or adhesive, but to me it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle without the pieces for which you have to make.
FANG: How did you get started in mosaics?
PAIN: My wife Danielle and her dad took a class and they were finishing their projects at home. I thought it looked interesting so Danielle gave me a few pointers on how to cut the tile, etc., and I just kind of went off and did my own thing. I never formally took a class. So my wife was making a stepping stone and a planter and I was not about to start doing that! The first thing I thought of was making a skull. About a week later I went to see a movie called THE CAVE, and in the movie there is a winged skull mosaic on the floor of a church. The next day I was working on my first piece.
FANG: I’ve never seen anyone else doing mosaics with such horror related themes. What brought you to horror as your subject matter?
PAIN: Horror movies have always been my first love. I’ve been watching them as far back as I can remember. So it was only fitting to do horror movie inspired art. HALLOWEEN was the beginning for me. I saw it when I was 9 years old when it came out on VHS. It terrified me; I couldn’t sleep at all! I thought what I was watching was real and Michael Myers was coming for me next. We lived in Illinois at the time, so I was thinking of how long it was going to take for him to drive to our house. Needless to say, my mother didn’t help when asked she replied, “about seven hours.”
FANG: Do you have a particular favorite piece and why?
PAIN: Yes my favorite piece would have to be the FREDDY VS. JASON. It’s very hard to capture someone’s likeness in a drawing or painting. Now try doing it with little pieces of tile. Robert Englund has very distinct features and I felt I was able to capture and replicate those in the piece. When Robert autographed it, he was so blown away by the detail he just sat there staring at it for a few minutes before signing it. That was a great day to have one of my idols react that way to something I made.
FANG: I’ve seen pictures of the Fango cover you had at Comic-Con this year. How was that to work on?
PAIN: There are two magazines I read religiously like a bible. One is FANGORIA and the other is STAR WARS INSIDER. I remember reading the STAR WARS FANGORIA issue [#6] as a kid and rediscovering the magazine as a teenager. To be interviewed by you guys is a great honor and a dream come true. Working on this particular piece was very challenging (I never had tried to do lettering before) and great fun. I always knew I would do a cover—I just had to get good enough at mosaics to pull it off. Everyone who sees it has to do a double take at first because they don’t realize it’s a mosaic. I think it looks like a comic book. I definitely think it is my best work so far.
FANG: How long does it take you to complete a typical project?
PAIN: It can take anywhere from 100-250 hours depending on size and detail. I do mosaics as a hobby, so the 100-250 hours translates to about three-four months to complete after normal working hours. These things take a lot of patience to see it through to the end, and I’ve had many a late night trying to finish for a deadline.
FANG: Do you have any of your work on display where people can come see them?
PAIN: Right now the only place you can go see my work is online at
FANG: What project are you currently working on?
PAIN: I’m working on a Michael Myers piece that will be signed by John Carpenter and other actors from the film. This thing is going to be massive! I’m using a 3 feet by 3 feet round wood panel. I can’t wait until this one is finished!
FANG: Do you do commission work?
PAIN: Yes, right now I’m taking orders for custom work. So if anybody out there wants to see their favorite horror movie character or scene turned into mosaic art, I do wall plaques, tables, backsplashes, fireplaces, counters and doors. You can email me at
FANG: I’ve noticed you include a blank panel in some of your work. Is there some significance to this?
PAIN: When I do a piece that is based on a particular horror movie, I will put in some blank white tiles so I can get actors from that movie to autograph the piece. I feel it brings a closer connection to the art and the movie. It all stems from attending horror conventions; you can only get so many photos and posters autographed. I was trying to come up with something unique for them to sign, something they haven’t seen before. The actors’ response has been great. Usually we are the ones telling them how great they are how much we love their work, but I usually end up spending most of the time answering questions about the artwork. It really makes all the time spent making these things worth it.
FANG: Do you work in any other art forms?
PAIN: Actually I play lead guitar in a band called Long Beach Vagrant. We have opened for bands like Death Angel, Flotsam and Jetsam, Prong, Anvil, Voivod, etc. We have been banned from ever playing the Whiskey A Go Go and El Rey Theatre in Hollywood due to a couple busloads of enthusiastic fans. Dennis Rodman had us play at his restaurant in Newport Beach. We wrote a kind of theme song for Motocross legend Mike Metzger and have played at many of his events. Our music has been featured in the vampire movie called THE KISS in which Jack Hill makes a cameo. And we are currently working on a new album which is due out in early 2011 with Andy Haller (System of a Down, Ozzy, Santana) you can check him out here.
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