AIGA Jacksonville introduces the creative community to highlighted members through the Membership Spotlight. This month, we invite you to meet Rob Knox of the PGA TOUR here in Jacksonville.
Originally from Chicago, Rob transferred to Flagler college in January of 2000. Later, he graduated in 2002 with a BA in Graphic Design and Fine Art, and minors in Illustrating and Advertising. Rob is currently the Senior Graphic Designer for the PGA TOUR, after having started his career there as an intern.
“What interested me most about working for the TOUR is the people.” he says, “The TOUR family is an organization of hundreds of professionals that come together in several departments from a variety of backgrounds to put on the best golf tournaments in the world. People are what make the difference. I think if you surround yourself with great people, it doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll enjoy doing it.”
In his free time, Rob enjoys photography, traveling, triathlons, and of course, making the most complex costumes this side of Hollywood.
For the past couple years you’ve been a graphic designer for the PGA TOUR. How did you break into that job, and what have you enjoyed most about it?
The summer before my final semester I landed an internship with PGA TOUR Creative Services and was hired on full time in January of 2003. I was promoted to Sr. Graphic Designer earlier this year. As a designer on a team of 5, it is our role to create the art that is used to communicate the voice of a world class sporting organization. The best part of the year is when THE PLAYERS Championship is here. For one week our department designs a 16 page pairings sheet with editorial, we turn into a newspaper for a week and the daily turnaround is exciting. I also enjoy getting out to the tournament as a photographer and capturing some pretty cool images. I have two panoramic shots of 17 and 18 hanging in HQ that are particularity nice.
It’s a well known fact that you’ve translated your graphic creativity into whimsical self-expression through Halloween costumes. What interested you in this particular holiday, and what keeps you coming back each year?
Halloween allows me to use myself as the canvas and, become the art. Costuming started out a few years ago when I heard about a costume party at Twisted Sisters. I went to the costume shop to see what I could find and I saw a Jack Sparrow costume, however I wasn’t happy with what was in the bag, so I went around to other costume shops and the craft store to see what else I could find to detail the costume. I ended up winning that contest. Winning definitely wet the appetite for future endeavors.
How many hours do you typically work on your halloween costumes? Do you construct many of them from scratch or do you have specific providers?
I spend anywhere between 20-40 hours on creating the costume almost entirely from scratch. My most recent costume, Edward Scissorhands, took between 15-20 hours. I made the pants and shirt out of fake leather/pleather fabric from the fabric store. The belts I bought from a department store and put together into a sort of harness he wears. I bought a punk-rocker wig and then gave it a cut and then dreadlocked it by hand.
If I can’t find a good piece, I’ll make it. The Joker shirt for instance, there were a lot of shirts out there, however they weren’t accurate patterns of the real one. I actually found the real pattern, closely compared it to screen shots from the movie, recreated it in Adobe Illustrator then made my own screen and printed the panels of a light blue shirt myself. I had to construct a simple screen press on my dining room table with hinges and 2×2’s to pull it off.
The Darth Maul horns, lightsaber, hood, all homemade. I used my college graduation gown as the robe. I had to shave my head for that one, which provided me the opportunity to create my Two-Face costume where I shaved half my head a few nights before.
I think the most challenging costume was the Mad Hatter. I had to figure out how to make a hat with multiple layers of fabric to get the right look. Small embellishments like the hat pins, the colorful scarf, the magenta handkerchief all had to be made. The bandolier of spools of thread was made out of wine corks cut in half with thread hand spooled around them and then secured with floral wire and small chains. I altered the pants into bellbottoms and embroidered flourishes with several different colors. I got lucky and found a perfect brown coat at Goodwill that I added large buttons to and then sewed cuffs and added a some details to them as well along with lace cuffs added to the shirt.
Documentation through photography and video is a big part of your process. How do others react to your creations, and has this helped you gain a lot of exposure?
The reactions I get are amazing. When I walk through the door I usually don’t get 10 feet before people want to take a picture with me, and that goes on all night long. I know I’ve done a good job with a costume when this happens and it is the best compliment that I could receive.
People tell me that each year they look forward to what I will come up with next Halloween. I usually consider a movie character that is coming out that year, but most of all I want to choose a character that has full face makeup. I think that is really the best part in completing the transformation into the character. The best is when I show up and my friends don’t even recognize me. I try to keep them secret for as long as I can but sometimes I spill the beans to a few friends as the first night out in costume approaches.
The time lapse videos I post are a nice way to show that it really is me putting on the makeup and a way to show the different elements of the costume before I put them all on. I love getting into the details, weather it is shopping the plumbing department looking for something that will make a good hilt for a lightsaber, or grabbing 40 paint sticks to glue, shape and paint into giant scissor blades. It is all good creative fun. Engineering the different elements is probably my most favorite part. I love getting glue out, using tools, building the elements the will be used to make the costume, like the screen press I mentioned earlier. I have this 4×8 piece of plywood I will put on my living room table and turn it into a work bench. It has the build up of paint and patterns from all of the different costumes over the years and is becoming somewhat of a journal itself.
You’ve brought a similar creativity and dedication during your participation in AIGA events. What have some of your favorite events been, and how did you contribute?
I think the Designers in Toyland and Always Summer Poster and Mix Tape shows have been my favorites. It is an opportunity for the AIGA community to not only go to a great event but to become part of the event itself. The creativity coming out of our community is always inspiring. One of my most favorite toys was a doll made by Katy Garrison, it was a little girl in a Godzilla/Dinosaur costume, and was really well done! My Submission was three fish made out of golf-balls. They each had a unique look and personality to them. I called them Jack, Arnold, and Gary after the three great golf legends. I also love going to see the more notable speakers, Vanderbyl, Bierut, and Willoughby been some of the most memorable.
You can learn more about Rob Knox, his fantastic Graphic Design, and more about his incredible costumes at knighthawkdesign.com or follow him on Twitter as @robbio78.
~ Stephanie, Membership Co-Director