We had the good fortune of connecting with John Grund and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi John, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
For me, success is a tricky term, especially for artists, where not only is the work itself subjective, but the achievements are as well. I think we all have to define success for ourselves, and for me it’s always about personal challenges and overcoming those obstacles, rather than external achievements. Obviously external achievements can be incredibly beneficial for an artists career, and they often line up the steps artists want to take moving forward, but I think too much focus on these kinds of accolades can blur our vision, and make us distracted from creating the best work we can. Sometimes success can be a prestigious award, and sometimes it can just be putting pen to paper one day. We all have to be careful with how we define it, and how we let it define us. More than any other achievement, creating work that I’m proud of and that expresses my ideas is the best success I could ask for. Though a magazine article is pretty cool, too!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an illustrator and a cartoonist. I make work about reality, but often with surreal or magical elements. I like the space between reality and fantasy, where I think much of the world resides, actually. Comics are such a great medium for telling these kinds of stories because they are not so directed, and the way they’re read can be very interpretive and abstract, or can be pretty linear and rigid. Theres a lot of flexibility which I find really fun and useful. I think I started to more seriously pursue comics in college, but I had been drawing for basically my whole life. I graduated school in 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, so it was a challenge to get work and to find my footing in a world where art did not feel like a priority, or even worthy of pursuit sometimes. Through my own practice, though, I was able to process a lot of the grief and emotion I was feeling in that time and I think that convinced me more of arts magic and its necessity, not only as a tool for connection with others, but also with oneself. More recently Ive been filling my days with freelance projects for a variety of clients, and Im writing a long form comic for Uncivilized Books about technology, agriculture, and magic.

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?
I love going to the High Museum, theres always great exhibitions there. Little five points is really fun to walk around in, its vibrant and lively and theres good thrift stores like Rag-O-Rama which is a well known spot. Good tattoos and music venues there, too. I love seeing shows at Variety Playhouse and Terminal West. Piedmont park is a classic Atlanta spot and its beautiful and usually has good energy and events. Sooo much good food and clothes in Atlanta. Shout out to Full Circle for the streetwear and sneakers. Wings and ramen at TonTon. If you go a little out of the way to Lilburn, Frida’s Taqueria is a fantastic spot for tacos.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Theres a whole host of people in my life who deserve a shout out. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for everyone in my family, especially my mom and dad who always encouraged me to pursue art and drawing. It’s such an important thing for an artist to have a network of friends and family to lean on and talk through things with. Artists need people to walk with, to explore with, not only in their work, but in the world as well. I am so lucky to have people in my life who have opened my mind to different mediums, new ways of thinking, and fresh perspectives. To name some names, shout out to: Mom, Dad, Sam, Ben, Molly, Rob, Drew, Gus, Min, Will, Ben, Henry, Leah, Aidan, Eric, Max, Vas, and so many more artists, teachers, classmates, and strangers.

Website: www.john-grund.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/john__grund/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-grund-01/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnwgrund

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