We had the good fortune of connecting with John Konrad and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
One thing that surprised me and might surprise other people about the art world is just how important connections are to your success. “It’s all about who you know” is a maxim that gets repeated a lot in the context of creative careers like showbusiness, and it’s definitely true in art. Being plugged into the scene and knowing other artists can introduce you to wonderful opportunities you wouldn’t have known about otherwise. The good news is that this doesn’t mean you have to “network” by shaking hands with men in suits, you just have to be friendly and present and you’ll meet a lot of other great artists naturally.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve always illustrated as a hobby, and at a certain point that hobby grew into a passion, which I think was the most important moment for me creatively. Once I learned to love the act of creating art, I was incentivized to create more, which in turn improved the quality of my work. From what I can tell about artists that I admire, it’s that same passion that makes their art great and keeps them constantly improving. The biggest (ongoing) challenge I’ve had to deal with has been imposter syndrome. I see other people who have been at comics a lot longer than I have, and they have their own internal world with its own references and vernacular. I sometimes struggle to see where my personal work fits within the genres and trends of their work. As a relative newbie to the scene, it’s easy to feel isolated by that, and at times I question my own merit. However, I try to remind myself that I don’t need to belong to a group or be defined by a particular genre to make good work. In fact, great work can come from an outsider’s perspective, and from leaning into the ways that my work is different from other people’s. It’s a good thing to have your own niche.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are a few spots in Tucson that I regularly haunt and would desperately miss if they were gone. I love places that you can tell are very plugged into the local Tucson culture and have a sense of community around them. Black Crown Coffee is my favorite hangout destination in Tucson, and I’d recommend anyone to stop by and support them. I go to Casa Video pretty frequently to rent movies, but it’s also a good place just to walk around or have a drink. Comics fans should check out Heroes and Villains. As far as restaurants, Upper Crust, Rocco’s Little Chicago, and Bison Witches on 4th Avenue are some of my favorites.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to thank the Tucson-based comic artist and writer Santino Arturo. Through him, I’ve been able to get a foothold in the Tucson comics scene and work on some very cool projects that I wouldn’t have access to otherwise. He’s a great comics professional in his own right and an all-around cool guy.