Jeff Knight

Assistant Professor
Printmaking & Graphic Design





Ask Me

Who are your role models or inspiring folks?

Role models in my life include folks like my parents who are dedicated, hard-working and always devoted to understanding the nuances of their craft. Whether it be drawing, wood working, quilting, metalworking, or a variety of other creative projects, I saw in them a steadfastness that I can only try to achieve in my own creative practice.

Outside of my immediate family, I look to a variety of artists and designers for inspiration. A short list includes: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Andy Warhol, Wassily Kandinsky, Kathe Kollwitz, Jenny Holzer, Shepard Fairey, Edward E. Mberly, Robert Crumb, Charles Burns, Aaron Draplin, Ellen Lupton, Stefan Sagmeister, Paul Rand, David Carson, Saul Bass, Paula Scher, Michael Bierut, Milton Glaser, Jessica Hische, Tara McPherson, Huck Gee, Johnny Cupcakes, Frank Kozik, Shigeo Fukuda, Art Chantry, etc. etc. 


Outside of art and design fields, what inspires you?

Music is a big inspiration, and for me it tends to exist on the louder end of the spectrum. Everything from punk and hip-hop to post-rock and hardcore. I find all media inspirational - a good work of fiction, poetry, theatre, video games, and films are all highly influential. I'm also inspired by a street art captivation in vinyl toys and sneakers. I am also visually struck by alternative craft movements and mid-century furniture. My biggest inspiration, as it directly relates to my work, are vending machines and the mystery, nostalgia, and instantaneous gratification one gets when interacting with one of these dispensers.


What do you wish you had known when you started out as a student/in this field?

I wish I had more insight and confidence to make more work. I initially felt limited by my capabilities to only make work when it was needed or when I thought I had a good idea. Instead, looking back, I wish I would have pushed myself to make more work, regardless of the outcome, and regardless of the function it served. I wish I had the ability to challenge myself to do more, which is why I sometimes feel like I'm now making up for lost time.


What was your most memorable meal?

My most memorable meal was at a sushi restaurant in Minneapolis when I was just out of college. I am a big fan of sushi and this place provided all-you-can-eat (which at the time blew my mind)! But, more importantly, was the experience of how the sushi was made and received. Guests would sit around an oval shaped bar and inside the oval were the chefs, hand preparing each delicate piece. They would prepare sushi and talk with guests, and when the sushi was ready to serve it would be placed on a small boat that would encircle the chefs along a small water-filled river. As sushi made its way, almost conveyer-belt style around the moat, guests could grab a boat from their seat and eat the dish prepared for them. The interactivity between chef, vehicle, and guest was, and still is, very inspiring.


In your office, you can only have three things, one book, one tool, and one picture. What would they be and why?

Book: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - hands down my favorite story.

Tool: Pencil - everything starts with a sketched idea. 

Picture: An Untitled 'Bird in Flight' photo by Felix Gonzalez-Torres - always helps to center my mind and think about the vast expanse of the world we exist in.

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