Seriously Funny: Ed Koren
Ed Koren is one of those cartoonists whose sense of humor and draftsmanship are immediately recognizable as his own. And in Koren’s case, his uniqueness is not the result of a forced effort to stand out from the pack. It’s just a reflection of who he is—a longtime New Yorker now ensconced in Vermont.
Koren’s New Yorkers are a quirky breed, known for their intellectual pretentions, their neglect of tonsorial responsibilities, and their obliviousness to the weather. They can always be counted on to deliver witty observations, albeit sometimes inscrutable to anyone other than denizens of the Upper West Side.
When Koren moved to Vermont many years ago, he discovered a culture that seemed completely different from that of the city. Yet over time, similarities revealed themselves—the familiar pretensions, an understated humor, and an off-and-on desire for privacy. Koren’s Vermonters share their New York counterparts’ almost aggressive impulse to help strangers in need, especially hapless out-of-towners.
I always felt that Ed Koren was one of the best things to happen to New York, and that Vermont was one of the best things to happen to Ed.
— Jeff Danziger, Curator
In my cartoon drawings of things in the physical world, I try to get the details as correct as I can without dealing a death blow to a lively hand and dashing pen. My example is the great New Yorker artist George Price’s stylistically expressive and goofy, but accurate, rendering of loony objects, chaotic interiors, and architectural oddities.
All the human theater around me captures my attention. I can never quite believe my luck in stumbling upon riveting mini-dramas taking place within earshot and eyeshot. To be always undercover makes my practice of deep noticing even more delicious. I can take in all the details as long as I appear inattentive. Wonderful moments of comedy happen right under my nose, and my low expectations are never disappointed.
— Edward Koren