Surf & Skate Graphics Spotlight: FIDM/OC Student Runs Online “KNEX”thedotz– Skateboards Inspired by Art and Music

Originally from New Jersey, FIDM/OC Graphic Design Student, Joseph Knechtel, blended his appreciation for music and art, with his passion for skateboarding through his company, “KNEX”thedotz. He moved to California to study Graphic Design/Branding at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s Orange County campus, because he was ready for a career change, and because he wanted to come to the heartland of the action sports industry.

Read our Q&A with Joseph, and check out more of his work below:

KNEXthedotz skateboard designs by FIDM Graphic Design Student, Joseph Knechtel

Student Spotlight Q&A: Joseph Knechtel

Major: Graphic Design/Branding
High School: Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in New Jersey.
Goals for Post Graduation: Continue designing “KNEX”thedotz skateboards and work for a skateboarding company like RVCA or Altamont.

FIDM Graphic Design Student Joseph Knechtel( Tell us about your professional background.

(Joseph) “Having graduated in 2009 from a small art school in Plainfield, NJ, called DuCret School of the Arts, I got a job at a local print shop that I was able to obtain through school. I worked there for about two years and really didn’t see myself going anywhere with it. I wasn’t really working as a designer.”

What brought you to FIDM?

“California is the heartland for action sports like skateboarding, surfing and much more, and I really wasn’t satisfied with being a delivery man for a print shop. So I decided to road trip from the east coast to the west coast with my girlfriend, Trisha Andrada. We both were looking for a change in our lives so we packed our van and headed out to FIDM. My girlfriend is the one who told me about FIDM and now we both attend school here. FIDM is a great place to expand on our education.”

Why did you decide to study Graphic Design?

“Graphic design is all around us. Most everything is made up of some kind of a design [executed] graphically. I must have been about 15 when I realized that design is everywhere and that’s when I got my first skateboard, which was a Shorty’s ‘Chad Muska’ board. I remember looking at the board and thinking ‘how did they do this? How did they get artwork on the bottom of the board?’”

Tell us more about “KNEX”thedotz.

“‘KNEX’thedotz is a skateboarding company that I started back in Jersey – and it also connects artists and musicians to the public by showcasing them on the our Website. It’s basically the connection of art, music, and skateboarding. I feel that we are all little dots in the world, and in one way or another, we all have something in common. We have the capability to connect, and ‘KNEX’thedotz helps people do that.”

Tell us more about your skateboard designs, and other designs and illustrations.

“‘KNEX’thedotz skateboards are seven layers of 100% hard rock Canadian maple, and people can buy the boards on the Website by clicking on the Goods page. The boards are $35.00 and come with a free sheet of grip tape. The sizes range from 8 to 8.25.

I also designed the company Website and most of the graphics on the skateboards. I recently started working with one of the artists featured on the site, Edgar 301, who designed the Connection Skateboard. I’m looking forward to working and collaborating with more artists. Anyone who wants to be featured on can click on the submissions link at the bottom of the page and send me their work.

Bob Dylan vector illustration by FIDM Graphic Design Student, Joseph KnechtelThe portraits [shown below] were constructed in Adobe Illustrator by using the pen tool to be printed on skateboard and T-shirts. The Tupac illustration is printed on a skateboard and I’m working on the other ones to get printed as well.”

What do you want to do after graduating from FIDM?

“After graduating from FIDM I would like to continue to work on ‘KNEX’thedotz and hopefully be able to work for a skateboarding company like RVCA or Altamont.”

What have you like about FIDM’s graphic design program so far?

“What I like most about the FIDM graphic program is the professionalism that all the teachers have.”

Check out more “KNEX”thedotz skateboards, illustrations and designs by FIDM Graphic Design Student, Joseph Knechtel, below:

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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