Art often gives viewers a look into the mind of an artist. For Chad Knight, his surreal digital creations are a personal journal begging to be explored and dissected. Knight is both a senior 3D design manager at Nike and a 3D digital artist, and his reach is growing immensely alongside the digital sculptures he creates.
At first glance Knight’s work might make you question reality or even believe that such a place exists; at least in a dream. His massive structures loom above dense forests, deep oceans, and infinite deserts, conveying a sense of adventure interpreted uniquely by each viewer. But the detail and potential within these mysterious figures and the land they occupy is what makes his work so unique.
“I would love to convey hope,” Knight said. “For them to question the limitations they have bound around themselves through their distorted self-definition. I want people to see my art and feel invincible.”
Chad Knight was a professional skateboarder for 16 years before he started working with 3D design as a full-time job.
“I was first exposed to 3D when I had a brief gig doing skatepark design,” Knight said. “I loved how limitless 3D’s potential was. There are no rules, it was just like skateboarding. After that job, I locked myself in a room, found some bootleg 3D software and taught myself enough to get a job doing 3D design.”
As he progressed, he developed a wider set of skills that led him to a managerial position in the industry. This required Knight to oversee projects rather than do most of the hands-on design work, but he refused to let his skills corrode.
“I did not want to get rusty with my craft. I committed to a self-directed project each day to continue learning new software and tools. This initiative quickly evolved into a diary of sorts. It evolved from technical training to a journey of self-discovery. I have always enjoyed creating art, but this was one medium that I could control accurately, capture, and convey my intent.”
This self-directed project led to what has become one of the most impressive 3D art portfolios on the internet as he continues to post a creation nearly every day on his Instagram @chadknight.
A common misconception with Knight’s work might be that he draws inspiration from science fiction or supernatural beings. Despite their spine-tingling appearance, his art is very grounded in reality, drawing inspiration from everyday life experiences and commonly explored concepts.
“I try to capture what I feel or what I am thinking visually. Things that are surrounded by mystery, such as psychology, philosophy, quantum physics, spirituality, religion, connections, and intuition have always intrigued me. This leads to my other area of inspiration, which is potential. I believe we are all capable of far more that we think and are connected to something bigger.”
Working for Nike
Working for one of the most prestigious companies in the world helped Knight explore his unique potential. He has worked at Nike for over two years and is currently a senior 3D design manager.
“Nike contacted me to help lead their growing 3D department and I jumped at the chance. Working for Nike is incredible. It allows me to collaborate everyday with driven, brilliant people. I am fortunate to have worked for other companies prior to Nike, so that I can appreciate what it offers. I also love that Nike encourages people to believe in themselves. That’s what it’s all about.”
Knight plans on continuing his art while working for Nike. He made it known that he will never stay stagnant in his craft and will continue to explore new concepts both with his art and in his everyday life.
“This has all been so unpredictable that I cannot imagine trying to predict where it’s headed. I would like to think I will gravitate to whatever allows me to tell my story best. I can say that stagnation and complacency are the things I fear most, so I can predict I will evolve.”