Joseph Franco, professionally known as Knucci (pronounced New-Chi), is a contemporary self taught artist born in 1991 in New York City. His signature work involves colorful symbolism with references to finding inner freedom as well as growing through life’s challenges.
From a young age, Knucci traveled extensively and visited countless museums, admiring the beauty and talent of the world's most famous artists. He studied Entrepreneurship and Finance at Babson College, graduating in 2014. Knucci began painting in 2015 in New York City.
In 2018, Knucci was involved in a tragic car accident where a pedestrian was killed. He spent 2 years in House Arrest, during which he worked extensively on his art and produced close to 50 large scale paintings. During this time, he exhibited his work at the Mario Testino Museum in Peru as well as at the Gallart Gallery in North Miami Beach.
Knucci subsequently spent 2 and a half years in prison during which time he developed his artistic talent by working primarily with pen and paper and through collaborations with other artists in prison. During this time, Knucci helped to illustrate a book through back and forth correspondences with the author, Bonnie Salkow. The book, titled “Luv, Bonnie” was published in 2022 while he was still incarcerated.
While in Prison, Knucci also helped to establish Miami Mind, an organization that helps people tackle mental health issues, while also attempting to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. Knucci donates 10% of his net proceeds to this organization.
Knucci was released from incarceration in August of 2022 and currently resides in Miami, Florida and works out of his art studio in North Miami.
The flower which is depicted in much of Knucci’s work is a symbol for personal growth and development.
When examined closely, the viewer will notice a letter “i” at the bottom of each flower. This symbolizes that the flower is a reflection of both the artist, as well as the viewer of the art piece. The message that the artist wishes to convey is that the things in life that are worth pursuing take time, care and tending, similar to the way that one nurtures a flower. Things such as personal relationships, building a family, developing a career as well as physical and mental wellbeing, all take time and care in order to cultivate.
Therefore, the artist also wishes to convey that on the flip side, all the things in our society which deliver immediate gratification, such as shopping, social media, drugs and alcohol etc., are not worth actively pursuing.
The vertical lines that are prevalent in Knucci’s body of work carry a message of attainment of inner freedom through conquering life’s challenges and obstacles.
The colorful lines represent prison bars. They represent the literal prison bars that the artist experienced during incarceration and are also symbolic of the many challenges and obstacles that we all face in our daily lives.
Whether we face financial, health related or family issues, the artist chooses to represent these “prison bars” in a colorful fashion because he wishes to communicate that these obstacles should in fact serve as a catalyst for fighting through and finding true inner freedom.
Knucci’s signature Pineapple, represents the Pineal Gland, or our “3rd Eye”, a symbol for living intuitively. Honesty and integrity are necessary to leading a life of intuitive action because when we are dishonest we are forced to constantly look over our shoulders and cover our tracks.
Therefore this symbol is meant to be a reminder for the importance and beauty of living an honest and transparent life. Additionally, Pineapples are a symbol for hospitality and sweet, luxurious living, a reminder that through gratitude we can come to a realization that we lead blessed lives.