California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Knight Brings Light to The Dark

Mural art is a daunting process, but artist Andrew Kong Knight was not put off by that particular fact.

“My dream is to be an artist,” said Knight. “I’ve been working on this my whole life.”

His current project— three different murals surrounding the parking structure of the Century Theatres on Foothill and C Street in Hayward—is well underway.

Knight, a San Francisco Art Institute graduate and Hayward High School teacher for 16 years, keeps himself busy by juggling work, family, art and music.

“Music and art are like my two mistresses who are always calling me,” said Knight.

Knight began playing violin at age eight, plays guitar and sings with his rock band, Angry Tired Teachers. They perform at rallies and fundraisers in support of education and have posted videos to YouTube.

In reference to his previous mural project completed earlier this year on Foothill Blvd. across from the old Mervyn’s headquarters, a massive landscape adorns a space that had been just a big, ugly, graffiti-covered wall, according to Knight. He used calm colors and realism to rid the city of the eyesore.

With the new project, “Hollywood meets Hayward,” Knight shifted his focus into an Art Deco style.

Knight’s storage container on C Street exemplified the level of his dedication and study invested in this current mural.

Gallons of paint and tools were lost in a sea of posters, statuettes, and foam boards filled with the images he amassed to spark continued motivation.

“I’ve been studying Egyptian and Mayan art, Art Deco architecture, jewelry and glasswork – the speed lines or stream lines are an effect that I want to bring into mural,” Knight said.

“The true definition of a mural talks to the architecture,” Knight said of his intense study of the structure.

Knight laced up his paint covered Nikes, tightened up his headband, put on the dark shades, plugged in his headphones—and it was show time.

When he climbed up the scaffolding he became less an artist and more a performer. The physical dynamic of the project added another element.

“This is the most dangerous project I’ve ever been a part of,” Knight said.

“You could fall off the scaffold and hit your head, or one false step into traffic, and that could be it.”

His passion for the work keeps him going.

“There’s not too big, of a difference between graffiti artists and what I’m doing. It always feels a little illegal,” Knight confessed.

With a project this big Knight accepted as much help as he could get. He had as many as five assistants during the prep period and one to three helpers for the painting process.

Larry Peters, painter, interior decorator and all around handyman, proved to be one of Knight’s biggest helpers.

“I tell people if they help me, I’ll teach them how to do mural art,” said Knight.

Knight’s fiancée, Alani Rose, was also a big help, and served as the model for the goddess figure on the tower of his C Street mural.

Scott Young, a volunteer who became Knight’s ‘tech guy,’ rigged a solar powered light source to accommodate night work. They met by chance when Young passed by.

“Just walking his three-legged dog, Jason,” Knight said.

“I’m excited about starting to work at night,” he said. “I’m a night guy—my name is Andrew Kong Knight, not day.”

By getting his second project on Foothill Blvd. together, the Hayward native exhibited excitement about what contributing his art could mean to his community.

“It’s my hometown and I get to transform it,” Knight said. “The power of art is setting the mood.”

He intends to blend his pressurized paint gun and brush painting to make one unique stylized image, with dark colors used to help accent the neon and light colors he envisioned.

“We’ve had some dark times in Hayward, but from the dark comes the light,” Knight mused.

“We’ve already had a lot of homicides this year, hopefully we can turn that around.”

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Knight Brings Light to The Dark