Perhaps you knew him first from illustrated comics for SLG Publishing, Tinto Press, or Modern Drunkard Magazine.
Maybe you're a natural Denver trendsetter and saw his artwork years ago in Adrift Tiki Lounge, album covers for Barstool Messiah, or illustrations in Daniel Landes’ 2015 short story, Revolt to What?
Or you're among those of us who have been reading his weekly comic series The Denver Bootleg in Westword for some time now, that introduces readers to our city's most interesting bands' weirdest moments ... featuring iconic illustrations which meet this respected local paper's exceptionally high standards for cool.
If any of these are true, you immediately recognized Karl's distinctive artwork on panels that adorned Colfax Avenue in 2019 as he brought eight iconic Denver haunts to life in beautiful, colorful banners for an inspired Business Improvement District project, which rightfully got the attention of a lot of people (including Kyle Clark and 9News)
— COLFAX BANNER ARTWORK, DECEMBER 2019 —
No matter where or when you jump on this uniquely Denver bus, one thing is certain: A growing number of locals know, love, and relate to Karl's work and look forward to experiencing his illustrated adventures. For better or worse, today that includes The Lighthouse in The City, an eerie, sometimes funny, always deeply personal daily comic dealing with the realities of social isolation in the age of Covid-19.
Karl Christian Krumpholz agreed to sit down with me in 2020 for a few minutes to talk about art, life, current and some of his upcoming projects. Learn more about this smart, thoughtful and eclectic East-coast native ... whose art is getting a lot of well-deserved notice by a quickly growing metro audience, for very good reason.
While Karl may chronicle urban life in our beloved city, he is not a Colorado native and far from one. Karl is originally from Philadelphia, lived in Boston for a long time, and is a proud East-coaster at heart. He is the oldest in his family and has two sisters.
In early years, Karl had a complicated relationship with his father whom he matter-of-factly describes as a"straight-laced jock from North Philly." In contrast, Karl describes himself more as a "punk smart ass." It was his uncle Bob who inspired Karl to become an artist.
His uncle Bob was a kind, easy-going, vivid soul, very different than Karl's father, who created oil paintings in his home studio. Bob loved wearing Hawaiian shirts and refused to wear black because "it's the color of death."