AMPLIFY: JOHN KNOX, BROKEN HALOS

Our Amplify series aims to utilize our platform to amplify the voices of Black artists within the atmos family.

Meet atmos Philly team member John Knox (@xtra.kredit) and learn more about the collaborative apparel collection we're launching with his brand @_brokenhalos.

WHO IS JOHN KNOX, AND WHAT IS BROKEN HALOS?

Broken Halos is a series of different screen captures of my mind personified through art. It represents the other side of me that many people don't get to see or even know exists due to fear, lack of confidence, and lack of exposure - which can be very discouraging. In some cases, we want to keep it private, like how you would treat a diary, and Broken Halos is my diary. On the surface, you see images, but every picture I have ever done holds a memory that I keep stored within the art itself.

WHY "BROKEN" HALOS? WHAT DOES THAT "BROKEN" ASPECT REPRESENT?

When I hear the word broken, I immediately think damaged. What's damaged is not destroyed, and what is not destroyed can be replaced or can still be used or have greater or equal value, depending on perspective. The word "Broken" represents every time you feel like what you are doing is either wrong or not good enough, or maybe you are spending too much time trying to please others rather than creating freely and walking your path. The halo is the remainder that you have your gift(s), the halo is the reminder that someone is out there rooting for you to win, it is there to remind you that there is still work to do and that you still have time to get it done.

OUT OF ALL YOUR CHARACTERS, WHICH ONE OF THEM REPRESENTS YOU BEST?

Honestly, each of the main characters contains different parts of me. Iris is a representation of my mother's optimism, heart, ability to think outside the box and walk alone in faith against all odds. Jynx is a representation of all the negativity suppressed to take the high road. Every time I was teased because of where I'm from, where I lived, what I liked to do, and I chose to do it, Jynx goes through it all throughout her childhood very much as I did. Corsair represents my few vices, such as drinking or smoking; you know the things we do in the privacy of our homes after a long day's work. If I had to choose one, I'm going to have to go with Enzo, the male protagonist. You don't see him very often because he's constantly evolving, so it can be not easy sometimes to give him a specific look. He may not always be in the spotlight, but you notice when he's missing. 

AS A BLACK CREATIVE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANOTHER PERSON OF COLOR IN TERMS OF STARTING THEIR BRAND?

My best advice? Believe in yourself. I found it way more accessible and exciting to create once I stopped focusing so much on how people will receive my work and more when they receive my work. Try not to make the goal your business money-driven but more goal-driven. As long as the content is there and you believe in it, the money will come when the time is right. Reasonable Doubt came out in 1996 but did not go platinum until 2002 - so never get caught up in immediate sales and profit.

Most importantly, invest all money not being spent for essential purposes on yourself and represent yourself. Nike reps don't show up wearing Adidas; they rest what they want you to invest in. In other words, if you make music, let me hear you blast your music if you make jewelry let me see you sporting it. If you draw or paint, let me see your pictures hanging. Your brand is worth whatever you believe it's worth. It's just up to you to prove it! Being a black creative in the mix of all this means you have the edge on the competition, and they know it.

LOOKING AT YOUR WORK, WE SEE A LOT OF SNEAKER REFERENCES. IS THERE A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO?

Absolutely! Growing up, I saw sneakers on the kids' feed that we couldn't afford and had an instant love for animation that I couldn't draw, lol. So with a lot of sleepless nights practicing and studying my older brother's artwork, I began to hone my craft. With many 10-hour shifts and advice from different coworkers that I met throughout the company, I was able to get those sneakers that I always wanted. I've never been very good with feet drawing feet I reference the footwear that I am surrounded by every day to help better tie my two worlds together.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION, AND HOW DO YOU PLAN ON MAKING IT HAPPEN?

A N.E.R.D or Lupe Fiasco album cover world be dope. In all seriousness when I came to atmos, I always had a dream that some day my clothes would be handing from those racks. Now it is 2021, and it's finally coming to life. The sky's the limit, but the limit is not the sky.

IF ANYONE KNOWS YOU, THEY KNOW YOU ARE A FAMILY MAN. DO YOU FIND THAT YOU GET A LOT OF INSPIRATION FROM THEM?

100% growing up being surrounded by musicians, artists, and creatives from both sides of the family, I could not help but be inspired. It was kind of intimidating for a while. My mother and my five brothers can either paint, write, draw or play an instrument. My five sister-cousins can all sing and paint or draw, my uncles paint and play instruments - and the list goes on. They are the ones that helped me get to where I am today. Family is everything, and it can be challenging to try to carve your way from a big family, but mine has nothing less than supportive this whole journey, and I will forever be grateful to all my family, friends, and loved ones.

WHO DO YOU WANT YOUR WORK TO REACH?

Anyone who has not received it yet, not for popularity or anything like that, but if I could potentially push someone needed to be motivated or go forward with their dreams and ambitions the way other creative and business minds have unknowingly done for me, that would be love.

 

The atmos x Broken Halos apparel collection is available now in-stores and online.

 

 ATMOS X BROKEN HALOS HOODIE

ATMOS X BROKEN HALOS TEE