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Richard Knoll, aka Mofo, joined Thrasher magazine as their second official employee only months after it was founded in January 1981 and rose with the success of the San Francisco based publication to become one of the most influential photographers, writers, graphic artists, and personalities in the skate media world over the course of the decade. Responsible for coining and launching such columns as Skate Rock (and subsequent cassette tape compilations), Skarfing Material under his nom de plume Chef Boy Am I Hungry, the annual April’s Fools Issue, along with famously touring like a rock star and shooting some of the most iconic photos ever—while wearing sunglasses—Mofo also brought a DIY jack-of-all-trades creative genius to the mag’s pre-computer design process. Mofo designed countless covers and subscription ads, laid out articles and even created some of the logos for Thunder trucks and SMA.
Raised in Escondido, California, Mofo first discovered skateboarding in 1965, however his active obsession kicked in after the arrival of fiberglass technology and urethane wheels in 1973. Studying the pages of Skateboarder and the nearby hills of La Costa, by ’77 he briefly pressed decks for Mowrey Skateboards in San Jose, before deciding to head to San Francisco and getting hired by Thrasher. By ’83, already a figurehead in the industry, Mofo would also found and sing lead vocals for the legendary skate rock band, the Drunk Injuns. Dismayed at the industry changes in the early ’90s, Mofo would step away from Thrasher and skateboarding. Over the past two decades, he has worked freelance as a photographer, designer, and consultant for everyone from Birdhouse to etnies, Skullcandy to Wells Fargo, and Erotica to Independent.