Ken Avidor: 100 Creatives
Number 73: Ken Avidor
Years spent living in MN: I moved here end of 1986... that's 24 years?
While many artists dabble in newsprint/magazine illustration work, few can include courtroom sketch artist on their resume. Ken Avidor can. Last year he gained notoriety for his daily courtroom sketches during the surreal Tom Petters trial. But his art, inspired by an interesting mix of politics, environmentalism, and humor, had established popularity long before this major undertaking. Over the years Avidor's illustrations have frequently showed up in publications including City Pages and the Pulse. He has also contributed work to the local comic publication Lutefisk Sushi as well as Cifiscape Vol. I, The Twin Cities, a collection of illustrated sci-fi stories set in the future. Speaking of the future, we're curious to see what project he takes on next.
Name three things that are inspiring your work right now:
1. Sketching dead, preserved creatures at the Bell Museum once every month.
2. Sketching live, costumed models at the Altered Esthetics Gallery once every month.
3. Painting exhibits and the bookstore/gift shop at the Museum of Russian Art.
Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type:
1. Mad Magazine
2. Punk Magazine
3. Screw Magazine
What was your last big project?
I rarely do anything "big." I do a comic or an illustration here and there. I have a 10-page Bicyclopolis story in Cifiscape vol. I, The Twin Cities, published by Onyx Neon Press.
What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?
You can look for more sketches from my journals at the Urban Sketchers Twin Cities blog. Or check out more comics, paintings, and journaling in my ongoing Bicyclopolis project visualizing the post-industrial future of Minnesota.
Creative/career high point (so far)?
Sketching every day at the trial of Tom Petters.
What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?
My fascination with the weird nexus of transportation, politics, religion, and crime has distracted me from working full time on comics for several years. The good news is that all that dark, creepy stuff I've researched is going to be plowed into my comics--stay tuned.
How has the local scene changed since you began your career?
There are certainly more talented, fun cartoonists, illustrators, and fine artists in the Twin Cities. There's the Cartoonist Conspiracy. There's more stuff about comics on the internet. Sadly, there's less to be found in print publications. I still like comics on newsprint.
If you wrote your autobiography, what would the title be?
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon growing up?
The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show.
Do you have a suggestion for someone whose work we should be checking out? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments.
Past creatives, so far:
81. Joseph Scrimshaw
80. Adam Turman
79. Raul Osorio
78. Kristin Berwald
77. Rudy Fig
76. Laura Fulk
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