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Nerdlocker Artist Interview: Kat Connors

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It’s been almost a year since the Artistic Armory shuttered it’s doors, but I fondly remember my first visit to an official art show. We’d been to the studio several times to film with Dustin Hoots and Jeff Lewis, the team behind DeadGirls & Robots, but during this visit, I witnessed the place all gussied up with great artwork. One piece in particular caught my eye. It was Jason Vorhees painted on a square canvas, but he was positioned in a diamond. I love Friday the 13th and this portrayal of everyone’s favorite slasher was beautiful. I had to find the artist. I have to admit, I was surprised to find it was Kat Connors. I say surprised because most women do not like horror flicks. Then again, Kat is not like most women. She’s the owner/operator of Nerdgasms and an artist extraordinaire.

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Nerdlocker (NL): Tell us about yourself.

Kat Connors (KC): Native Oregonian. Fangirl. Artist. Queerdo. Feminist. Anglophile, Graphic designer. Chef. Jill of all trades, really.

NL: Where do you find inspiration and what are some of your influences?

KC:
 Most of my inspiration comes from pop culture. I would say about 95% of my art is based on my own fandoms and favorite shows, books and movies. I am definitely a pop culture junky, haha. My growth as a designer has also led me to explore abstraction a little more lately. A lot of my recent stuff has been more focused on things like transparency, balance, color etc…

NL: Where did you get your training and how do you continue to perfect your skills?

KC: Well, I’m coming up on the tail end of a degree in graphic design and that has done loads to improve my art skills as a result, but I don’t have any real formal art training apart from one illustration class. Everything I’ve learned so far has been self-taught. I seek out books from the library and tutorials from all over the web. To be perfectly honest, I’ve learned more about art techniques from blogs and tutorials than I ever have in school! This actually suits me pretty well, because I love to try EVERYTHING!

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NL: With the Nerdy world being dominated by males, do you find it difficult to be a Nerdy female? Do you feel like more women are joining the Nerdy cause?

KC: Oooooh, great question (but not if you’re expecting a short answer)! I would say yes and no. I think a lot of times women’s ideas and feelings about nerd culture (especially comics and gaming) are immediately discounted as being “fake” or attention-seeking. Like the idea that nerdy women only read comics or play video games to impress men or because their boyfriend is into it or they think Chris Hemsworth is dreamy. That shit needs to stop. I’ve definitely felt that in comic stores.

I’m not an online gamer, and I spend no time on sites like 4Chan and Reddit so I think I’ve skirted a lot of that because that seems to be where so much of the misogyny stems from. I do have female gamer friends, and the amount of harassment and abuse they have been on the receiving end of is absolutely revolting. I don’t know why these fuckwads are so threatened by women in gaming, but the fact that Gamergate even happened (and that women continue to get rape and death threats OVER A FUCKING VIDEOGAME) should be slap in the face to those who refuse to believe it’s “that bad” for women in geek/nerd culture… Especially when statistics have recently shown that female gamers actually outnumber male gamers

I really think more women are letting their nerd flag fly though and it’s always awesome to see new ladies joining the fold and being welcomed to nerddom with open arms. A good resource for Vegas nerdy girls here in Vegas is a remarkable group of women who run a non-profit called VAGINA. Very Awesome Girls Into Nerdy Activities. These chicks have nerdy on lockdown. They are a legit bunch who have fandom in common and combine their nerdy powers for good to raise charity money from sales of nerdy crafts and raffle tickets for toys and comics and whatnot. Stuff like that is important. It’s important for nerdy women to have a space to… Well, to just be nerdy really.

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NL: What are your thoughts on the nerdy Las Vegas art scene as compared to other cities like LA, Austin, New York, etc…

KC: I can’t really speak from a lot personal experience of their scenes, but feel like in general, our art scene is lot more laid back and a lot less pretentious. Very community-oriented. All the stuck-up galleries are almost exclusively in resorts on the Strip. As far as nerdy art goes, we’re a pretty close-knit group. I’ve met a lot of amazing people through the Artistic Armory and 9 times out of 10 when we see nerdy art here in Vegas, we can tell just by looking at it who the artist was. Most of us know each other. Most of us have homes filled with each other’s nerdy art. It’s kinda awesome.

NL: What is your game day process, meaning when you start your day with a project, how do you get prepped/psyched to write?

KC: I try to keep a 9-5 schedule when I’m working from home, even if I don’t have any active money-making projects going. I make myself a list of the top 3 things I want to accomplish that day and and keep an ongoing list of art/design/promotional stuff to get done in general. If I’m arting, I like to put on the TV show or movie that I’m basing the piece on to have in the background, and often times that leads to a whole series of artwork based on that. If I’m just not feeling inspired, I have lists all over the place of quotes to illustrate, nerdy bird characters to paint, other mediums to try my hand at, stuff like that.

NL: What’s your favorite nerd related snack? (like what do you munch on while playing video games, reading comic books, watching movies, writing, etc…)

KC: Jerky. I love jerky. Like a lot. It’s just the cat’s pajamas. It must be my Oregonian pioneer roots, lol.

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NL: Who wins in a battle royale of famous Las Vegans, Nicolas Cage, Gina Carano, Jenna Jameson, Penn Jillette, Jimmy Kimmel or Kevin Sorbo? Why?

KC: Penn Jillette, because he would destroy his enemies mightily with flawless logic and multi-syllabic words that would make their minds explode… Also, he is just a BIG motherfucker.

NL: Inquiring Nerds want to know, how do you achieve a Nerdgasm?

KC: I myself practice tantric nerding, which takes long years of dedicated practice and much time online. But it’s different for everyone. Maybe it’s creating the perfectly balanced spreadsheet. Or unexpectedly meeting a celeb at a con who may be C-list, but a huge part of your little fandom. Or even figuring out what else that guy from that thing you’re watching was in, BEFORE your friend can look it up on IMDb.

NL: What is your favorite medium to work with?

KC: It’s really hard for me to settle into one medium. I have a tendency to get bored with things pretty quickly, so I like to mix things up a lot, which means my favorite medium is really whatever I’m obsessed with at the moment. Right now, I would definitely say watercolor and ink. It’s expressive and loose and forgiving. As a designer I really also love the flexibility that digital media gives me!

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NL: Who are some of your favorites artists?

KC: I find myself really attracted to the weird shit. Surreal stuff especially. As far as the masters go, I absolutely love Dali. He is hands-down my favorite. I also really love illustrator Ralph Steadman. His work is manic and messy and really fucking grotesque. Brilliant stuff, and let’s face it, he’s really only illustrator twisted enough himself to properly illustrate Hunter S. Thompson, amirite?

NL: Star Wars of Star Trek? Why?

KC: Oh man. Even though I wouldn’t really claim fandom to either, and I am going to catch major shit from all my friends for this, I think I would have to be in the Star Trek camp. I appreciate the wealth of pop culture Star Wars has created, and it makes my girlfriend really easy to buy for on her birthday, but I never even saw them until I was an adult. I definitely watched Star Trek though, from my early teens on and I love the new movies.

NL: What do you do in your free time?

KC: Read, game, craft and cook mostly. I read a lot. My love of Stephen King is a little obsessive… Really, my free time and “work” time tend to blend together because I love what I do!

NL: Give us a Nerdy secret that most people don’t know about you.

KC: The list of things I have done in the name of Misha Collins is… vast and disturbing.

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NL: What is your favorite movie?

KC: Shaun of the Dead, because it is 100% fried fucking gold. Deep love here. My license plate is actually FRYDGLD. Simon Pegg is just perfection as Shaun (and also in life) and I love all the little nerdy nods and references they sprinkle throughout. Like little nerdy easter eggs tucked in the dialogue and mis en scene that make it just that much more clever and funny when you get the reference. Lately Kingsman and Fury Road have been getting crazy-heavy rotation on my screens too.

NL: What is your favorite video game?

KC: I’ve always liked RPG/Adventure games like Final Fantasy and Fable… That being said, Toe Jam and Earl 2 rules them ALL, regardless of genre. Also a big fan of Beerio Kart.

NL: What is your favorite comic book or comic book character?

KC: Tank Girl. That broad is my spirit animal. My patronus. My id…

NL: What are some of your upcoming projects?

KC: Right now I’m working on overhauling my website KatConnors.com and looking into adding some art and design tutorials. I’m currently working on a series of classic rock portraits in watercolor. A SuperCatural watercolor series in the near future is also not out of the question….

NL: Is there a question you’ve always wanted to be asked, but have never found the opportunity?

KC: “Would it be possible for you to take this complete set of signed, first edition copies of The Dark Tower series off my hands?” – Stephen King

And there you have it, Kat Connors. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our hard hitting questions.

Please show Kat your support and visit her website, KatConnors.com to see more of her work. We’ve also teamed with Kat to produce several of her designs for t-shirts. She’s taken over our store! Check them out – HERE. Show your support for a great artist.

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I'm a true child of the 80s from a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. My all time favorite topics are Star Wars, slasher films and Cleveland sports (despite the misery it causes). I narrowly avoided law school, instead choosing film school. I have been accused of being a walking IMDB, but I take it as a compliment!