Null & Void, a collaborative creative studio for branding, is not easy to find. Their name is not listed on the intercom of their downtown New York City building, and the door to their office has the nameplate of a different company entirely. Inside, the Spartan space has desks, computers, and blank walls. Five guys who look fresh out of grad school are hammering away at their day jobs: creating innovative campaigns for brands such as Fool’s Gold, New York Dolls, and Boylston Trading Company, to name a handful. Eiknarf (that’s Frankie backward), a 24-year-old dude with a swoop of red hair, a Ralph Lauren rugby shirt, boat shoes, and hand and neck tattoos is calmly but intently sketching on graph paper while on a call with a free trade organization that covers half of the globe. The organization has enlisted Null & Void’s services for its world leaders conference; they want the boys to prepare groundbreaking presentations for the likes of Bill Gates, and they need it in three weeks.
The demand for the services of Eiknarf and the Null & Void crew is so intense that they’ve been turning down clients they feel aren’t adding value to society—and they have been too busy to put their nameplate on the door to their clubhouse.
“I tattooed my hands and neck as a promise to myself that I would never have to work in an uptight office setting,” Eiknarf says. In the same way that he forced himself to make his living as a creator by getting tattoos, or “job-stoppers,” he made hard work mandatory when he dropped out of school in eighth grade. He doesn’t waste his time, and he does things his way. At a ridiculously young age he became a prevalent New York City graffiti artist, which led to a designing job with The Onion, which led to a creative director job for Karmaloop and work cultivating coolness for different companies and celebrities (telling you the clients’ names would undo all his hard work). “I’m over getting free booze at cool kid parties,” Eiknarf says. “When I’m out I’m more interested in meeting entrepreneurs like Cash Warren than I am banging Lindsay Lohan—though that would be awesome too.” Essentially, he’s made a living out of influencing the influencers.
Of Eiknarf’s own early influencers, there was an ever-loving mother and a strict father who was in organized crime. Real Sons of Anarchy shit. His father was covered in tattoos, including work from Sailor Jerry and Coney Island Freddie. His older brother, Danny Knight, became a tattooer and owns Cast Iron Tattoo in Orlando. Eiknarf gets most of his work from Bert Krak and the guys at Smith Street Tattoo, and, like his father, he has mainly old-school, American-style work. “I just can’t wait until the tattoos blow out like my father’s,” he says. “I don’t like tattoos that look new, and most of [Krak’s] are done with 8 round so they already have lines that sort of blur.”
In addition to a love of tattoos, Eiknarf and his father share an aggressive streak. “I shouldn’t get arrested but I still do,” he says. “There was a time when my mother kept bailing me out of jail even though I asked her not to, that it was on me. The bail kept increasing and she told me that the next time she wouldn’t be able to post—not because she didn’t want to but because she couldn’t afford it. It was then, looking in her eyes, that I decided to fight the urge to fight and to try to be successful for the both of us.” He had to convince Norm from Will Rise Tattoo to ink his knuckles with Know and Work as a constant reminder to himself. “It means know that as a creative I do all my work with my hands—and if I break them in a fight then I have nothing.” —Rocky Rakovic