By Becca Lemire

At last, it’s springtime again, which means bike season, and with impeccable timing, Igor Kenk is out of jail. There is also a graphic novel about him that just had its release party the other day at The Cadillac Lounge. KENK: A Graphic Portrait by Richard Poplack, produced and conceived by Alex Jensen, with interview footage shot by Jason Gilmore, and illustrated by Nick Marinkovich, is now available in stores (go to for more info) and the documentary is on its way. I went to the launch hoping to catch a glimpse of Igor or possibly even exchange a few words, as I’ve gotten my bike fixed by him before and was always intrigued by his eccentricities, bike thief or not. I couldn’t find the man, adding to his myth, but I found the book. It’s an abrupt, in depth, gritty portrayal of someone who is bewildered with our culture of consumption and waste, having come from Slovenia, and perhaps uses those views as a scapegoat to justify shady activities. I found it particularly interesting to read about his past, and the things he did for money back in his homeland, but you’re just going to have to read it to find out. I met with Alex Jensen at the Lakeview (the place where all interviews with Kenk himself, and all KENK related interviews seem to happen) the day after the book launch to discuss things without the roar of hundreds (no joke) of people crammed in to the Caddy.

How was the book launch last night?
It went great. The owner of the Caddy was saying probably 400-500 plus people throughout the whole night came, which is fantastic. Igor was there which was great but surprising. He was a bit standoffish in the beginning, a bit of a wallflower, but then he mingled a bit. It was crazy to see the cop who busted him and Igor standing in the same room. Igor is an opportunist and he goes wherever there is an opportunity, trying to cash in on his celebrity, so in that sense I’m not surprised he came.

What was your role in the making of this book?
I had the original idea when I first met Igor a few years back when the cops were deciding to crack down on bike lights and bells. One night I decided to stop off at his place on the way home and grab a bell. Thinking it was going to take 2 minutes, I ended up staying an hour talking with the guy. After interviewing him, I had the vision, and decided it would be a good graphic novel. I heard about the “myth” of him before meeting him. You know, everyone has an Igor story.

Did Richard Poplak interpret things Igor said in the footage and then write the whole thing, or are the speech bubbles direct quotes and he did the narration?
The speech bubbles are directly transcribed from the footage filmed of Igor before his arrest, and Richard Poplak pieced it all together to tell the story, as well as adding narration when applicable.

How does Igor Kenk feel about this book?
The first time he looked at it, he was a bit mesmerized, flipping through the pages, but didn’t really give too much of an opinion. Igor is kind of indifferent to things like that, however not indifferent when news stories give what he feels are false allegations and misrepresentations. Things like this book don’t preoccupy a lot of his mind space, and he hasn’t given us a lot of in depth feedback.

What is the significance of him always wearing the “I’m Tired” shirt in the book? Was that super imposed or did he actually wear that shirt all the time?
A customer payed off his debt to Igor in hundreds of these shirts and he would always wear them, in fact he wore one to the book launch.

Igor says at the beginning of the book “my greed factor is fucking non-existent.” Can you explain what he means?
When he talks about his greed factor, he’s always talking about how much the western world consumes. He does have his own greed factor; it’s just not with new things. He hoards old things, and doesn’t consume new things. His definition of greed is western consumption, and it’s really hard for him to understand how we throw away perfectly good things, and these things aren’t even available at all in his homeland, and people are throwing them away here.

What is your opinion of him?
Out of the whole team of people working on the project, I have a soft spot for him. He’s a complex character, interesting, not just black and white. Before I met him he seemed black and white, just a thief. When I spoke with him more, I saw the shades of grey of his character.

And on the lighter side, if Igor Kenk were to have a ringtone, which ringtone would it be?
It would definitely be something loud!!