Acclaimed cartoonist Keith Knight describes how San Francisco influenced his career, Hulu’s ‘Woke’

SAN FRANCISCO – Before Keith Knight co-created, wrote and executive produced Hulu’s Woke, he discovered the legacy of underground cartooning in San Francisco.

Knight’s exploration of an alternative farmer’s market and self-syndication ignited limitless artworks.

“I started doing strips in this larger format and I was able to talk about whatever I wanted,” Knight explained.

Knight belongs to a generation of African American artists who grew up listening to hip-hop and infuse their work with urgency, poignancy, humor, satire, politics and race. His art has appeared in various publications worldwide including The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Nib, Ebony and many more.

Today, his work as one of America’s most respected cartoonists has inspired a streaming series about awakening in all its forms.

“The first season was more about Keith Knight’s journey of figuring out how to connect with his audience and how to use his blackness in his art,” explained Shasheer Zamata. “Season two is more about what each character’s journey is like in terms of waking up, social justice issues, or how to be progressive or active.”

In 2007, Knight finally left San Francisco for Hollywood in hopes of writing a hit TV show starring a cartoonist.

“Hulu was just really, really excited about it,” Knight said. “And I love the fact that they campaigned to keep my voice on the show because so often you hear about artists selling their work to Hollywood and then they have nothing to do with it.”

Knight has a starring role in the production of the series, which also features the cartoons he created while living in San Francisco.

“I specifically chose a lot of the cartoons that I did in San Francisco, so a lot of San Francisco-specific ones, but also roughly my time living here,” Knight explained. “San Francisco was a wonderful place to cultivate the inspiration for all of these cartoons.”

From now until June 26, 2022, Knight’s artwork will return to SF in the Cartoon Art Museum’s newest exhibition, “Keith Knight’s WOKE in San Francisco.”

More information can be found here.

Stay up to date with Keith Knight on Instagram. Acclaimed cartoonist Keith Knight describes how San Francisco influenced his career, Hulu’s ‘Woke’

Dais Johnston

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