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Friday, January 23, 2015

Ken Driscoll AKA Magic Ken

Ken Driscoll aka Magic Ken is artist through and through. Hailing from the state of Maryland in a city they call Baltimore. Ken has shown some of the most amazing culture, bikes and life to come out of the Baltimore and east coast motorcycle scene. With his natural eye that puts you right into what’s going on in his photos, to the chaotic and free spirit feelings his work gives off, I have personally found myself staring into his photos in awe. I am so excited to announce Ken will be showcasing some of his beautiful imagery at Fuel Cleveland on May 9th. Here is a little one on one I had with Ken the other day. Enjoy!

- Mikey Revolt

Where did the name Magic Ken come from?

K: I got the name pretty early on. I was heavy into magic when I was a kid and a few people found out. I think it was Oliver (from Cutrate) and Tim (editor of Lowside Magazine) that simultaneously gave me the nickname one night at Oliver’s place. It’s stuck with me ever since.

Have you always lived in Baltimore?

K: I’ve lived in and around Baltimore all my life.

How long have you been into photography?

K: I first picked up a camera 14 years ago in a high school black and white photography class. I thought it would be an easy way to get school credit for taking photos of my friends skateboarding. I actually didn’t do too well in the class. I couldn’t get into taking “artsy” photos of plastic bags in trees or power lines or something. I tried to learn as much of the technical stuff as I could and just took photos of whatever I wanted.

Did motorcycles find you or did you find them?

K: I guess they found me. Since I first picked up a camera I’ve always photographed the stuff I was interested in. I started shooting photos with Oliver Jones for his clothing brand Cut Rate and through him met Tim Wise the editor of Lowside. Tim asked me to shoot his shovel at the time for DicE magazine. That was the first bike I ever shot. From there I started shooting for Lowside and it sort of snowballed from that point.

What is your dream bike?

K: I don't know. I'd like to have a completely stock Panhead someday.

In all your travels where was the best place you have ever been and what made it so special?

K: I think I’d have to say Japan for the Mooneyes HRCS. It’s insane. If you ever have the opportunity to go, you should. I can’t really explain it in words. You have to be there to understand just how big the show is.

Any crazy stories you want to share about your travels or a shoot gone bad?

K: I don’t know, it’s tough to think of a good one. I’ve seen some crazy stuff. Everything from someone crashing while shooting their bike, being crashed into and even almost being arrested on a photoshoot. Once I rode through the Badlands in South Dakota on the back of Tim’s ’50 Pan with no seat and no passenger pegs  so I could shoot some good riding photos for the magazine article we did about the trip. It was pretty funny trying to hold my legs up and keep my feet from hitting the ground in the turns. 

Is there one image that you have taken that every time you look at it, you get thrown back to that time or place and wish you could go back?

K: Two years ago a bunch of us traveled across country to Born Free. I took photos the whole way. I get really sentimental about those photos. They always bring back a lot of memories. But I get this way with a lot of my photos. I think that’s why I like photography so much. It takes me right back to that exact moment when I was taking the photo.

What inspires you, your vision, and your photography?

K: It’s tough to say what inspires me or to give a clear definition of my vision. More than anything I feel like a fly on the wall. I’m not very outspoken so having the camera has always been my reason for hanging around. Early on I was really influenced by Adam Wright. He has a super simplistic style and a really great eye. I met him once and he was really nice to me and we’ve kind of stayed in contact for the past couple of years. I like his ‘one camera, one lens, less is more’ approach. I’ve tried to adopt that mindset and not be so focused on equipment that I lose sight of what’s really in front of me.

Is there a specific time, place, or setting you like to take your photos or is it a completely random, on chance type of thing for you?

K: I really try to just let my photos happen. I rarely pose anything. I think it has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time. To be a good photographer you have to know where to be and when to be there. I just try to be as close to my subjects as I can and let stuff happen.

Anyone you would like to give a shout out to or thank?

K: My wife, Brittany, everyone at Lowside Magazine and to anyone that’s ever let me take their photo.

Make sure to check out Ken’s work at the show. You can find more of his work at www.instagram.com/Magic__Ken

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