Ken Avidor: 100 Creatives

Categories: 100 Creatives
Number 73: Ken Avidor
City: Minneapolis

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.



14-Petters_Trial_Journal Sketch.jpg

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:

100. Jennifer Davis
99. Sean Smuda
98. Chuck U
96. Amy Rice
95. Kara Hendershot

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Ken did fantastic work on the Dump Bachmann site. Without it we might not have known the Real Michele Bachmann. 



Ken Avidor is a true creative genius.

Todd Peterson
Todd Peterson

Tina BlondellDavid EkdahlMel TadiscoRabi SanfoJesse DraxlerD C IceGina LouiseGuy Chase


listen, theoretically, I like what you're doing here, but if you want to write about all the visual artists/cartoonists/photographers/occasional fashion designers you know, you should call it 100 Visual Artists/Cartoonists/Photographers/And a Few Fashion Designers, and not 100 creative. Of the nearly 30 you have up already, I see one theatre artist, one choreographer. That's ridiculous. The performing arts scene in this city is stunningly good and giant. If you don't feel like covering it, fine. The visual artists out there deserve the recognition that this concept affords them. But don't claim to be doing something all-encompassing when your focus is excluding a huge part of the arts scene here.


and to make some recommendations as to the folks I think should be on this list as performing artists (mostly theatre, really, as I'm not as well-connected to the dance world):Heidi ArnesonMolly Van AveryJohn HeimbuchFour HumorsMaren WardPhillip Andrew Bennett LowRonell WheelerBarbra BerlovitzSavannah ReichAmy SallowayTim UrenLive Action SetOff Leash AreaJulian McFaulHijack

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