mike aemka knobel

Mike “aemka” Knobel is an all-round artist based in Zürich, Switzerland. His work covers a wide range of media such as online/offline graphics, corporate design, print design (magazine & catalog layouts; poster, flyer & packaging design), fine arts, interior & exterior design, streetwear & outerwear design, animation, video & music production.

The main illustrating style used by aemka is best described as a symphony of flowing lines, shapes and patterns where everything has its exact place and an intense rate of detail. This manner derives from his early love for black markers in all shapes and sizes, and how the black ink hit the white paper every time he drew the first line.



3M / Nexcare | B+B Planer AG | Bunkers Up | bluff! interior & colour design | Daetwyler Graphics | Doodah | Eleven | Elfab AG | EM Solutions | | Swisscom Freestyle Night | hä? | Hervé Le Puy | Hillton Production | Levi`s | Metzgerei Angst | Museum HR Giger | Namuk | Pleasure Snowboard Magazine | Pointbreak Events | POSCA | Qbo coffee | Red Bull | Shred / Slytech Protection | Snowboarder MBM / Prime Snowboarding | Snowpark Zermatt | Streetart Limited | Swisslack | Swissski | West Snowboarding | Whiteout Magazine | Xray Eyewear


mike aemka knobel
(c) by Silvano Zeiter


Nowadays, it seems like we need to put labels on things and people to understand them. “I’m a snowboarder”, “I’m a musician”, “I’m a graphic designer”, “I’m a filmmaker”, “I’m an artist”. You could put any of those labels on Mike Knobel, and you wouldn’t be wrong: he does them equally well, sometimes all in a single day.

But maybe it’s better to simply say Mike is someone who lives creatively: there is no limit to what he will do, and whatever he does, he does uniquely, and makes it his own.

What new directions have you taken with your artwork recently?

My art keeps evolving constantly, so I can’t really recall any “tipping points” where it took a different direction. With every project I tackle, I get ideas on how to do it better or different next time and that’s how I keep inspired, I guess the key is just to stay busy and keep going then things tend to happen naturally.

I have been struggling for years, at times trying to force certain things but that doesn’t work mostly. My whole motto is to stay patient and not give up. As far as recent projects go, I was really stoked to work with fellow Swiss Snowboarder David Bertschinger Karg on Pieces of Freedom, where he handled the filmmaking, and I got to focus on the painting.

Will there be a Swiss Artsy Knife sequel?

Of course there will be, and it won’t be as “ordinary” as the last one, I want to go totally nuts on it.

What keeps you inspired?

Staying inspired isn’t hard at all, but choosing the right things to focus upon in this short life is always a tough one for me. There are too many ideas in my head sometimes I feel like I’m going to explode. I can’t get rid of the feeling that maybe I am wasting my time and could be doing something more ‘important’.

I guess I don’t even need any outside influence to stay inspired, as a kid I used to build my own universe around me and if I couldn’t get the toys I wanted, I just made them myself. If words couldn’t express certain things, I made up my own…

Name two influences, one within and one outside board culture.

This question is really hard, because as an all-rounder, I get my inspirations from all directions. Sometimes music influences my art way more than other artists, or maybe just things I experience in everyday life.

But if I had to, I would say inside board culture definitely Don Pendleton, the dude who designed for Alien Workshop skateboards. As a kid during my early teens I always loved his clean, graphic style.

Outside of board culture I would say H.R. Giger: partly because he is Swiss, and, even before I knew that, as a little snotnose living in the states I was a huge fan of the movie ‘Alien’. Even though I was terrified by those movies, I loved the organic/mechanical shapes featured in them.

Mike “Aemka” Knobel presents SWISS ARTSY KNIFE – Full Movie

Just like the famous Swiss Army Knife, Mike “aemka” Knobel is a jack of all trades and arguably the only snowboarder to single-handedly make an entire movie solely with his own creative and athletic powers. Only the filming was left to a handful of talented friends and professionals such as Tom Elliott, Patrick Salama, Daniel Loosli and many more. Follow Aemka on his path living a life full of snow, paint, pixels and drum-machines in a never ending quest to perfect his craft.

ARTWORK by aemka
MUSIC by aemka
EDITING & POST by aemka