Artist Gunnar Visits Loose Screw Tattoo Jan 23-30

It was 1992, and it was Gunnar’s birthday. He got his first tattoo and never looked back. By 1997, he was tattooing professionally. During his long career, Gunnar has witnessed and been a part of significant transformation and growth within the industry. 

“The changes have been pretty substantial from the advent of social media and the reality shows about tattooing,” he says. “Now there can be as many tattoo studios in a small town as there were in the whole state merely 20 years earlier.”

He’ll be visiting one of those studios in Richmond, VA, later this month, Loose Screw Tattoo. Between January 23rd and 30th, Gunnar has open appointments available at the Carytown tattoo shop. Collectors can expect the illustrative tattooer to create character-based designs with a bit of drama and humor. 

“I try to keep things playful when allowed,” he says. “I also try and convey the look/ feel my client is looking to express.”

Illustrative Little Mermaid tattoo by Gunnar.

Initially, Gunnar began tattooing when influences from graffiti, skateboarding, and punk rock began to blend and even clash with traditional tattooing. 

“There was a culture coming out of San Francisco during the early ’90s that caught my eye because it was not the traditional sailor or biker tattoos,” he says. “I rode on the shoulders of those artists and loved this idea of forming a definitive style.”

As Gunnar progressed as an artist, he became fond of what is now called “Pop Surrealism” art. This shaped his career heavily. Over time, Gunnar has pushed into a wide variety of corners of the tattoo discipline to gain a greater understanding of art in general. He says this has helped him evolve alongside larger cultural and style transformations over the past 20+ years.  

“I’ve had time to see how my tattoos withstood the test of time,” says Gunnar. “I was able to use that information to evolve.” 

Today, Gunnar says it’s most important to continue to enjoy the process itself. 

“For me, I enjoy the storytelling aspect of art,” he says. “Although I’m primarily sought out for colorwork, I enjoy black and gray.”

Illustrative tattoo by artist Gunnar.

Gunnar also guides and educates other artists.  He’s released books and a film with Russ Abbott about illustrative tattooing (Check out “Match Made in Hell” here).  The Texas Tattoo Educational Event and the Explorer Tattoo Conference welcomed Gunnar as a teacher and host over the years. Gunnar hopes to plan smaller, more personal educational seminars at tattoo studios around the country instead of larger events this year.

This will be Gunnar’s third time in Richmond. He’s hosted a solo art show at Loose Screw Tattoo and attended the Richmond Tattoo, Art, & Music Festival. Gunnar earned the Best of Show honor at the festival in 2019.

“I’ve known Jesse for years, and he’s always been a huge help in supporting me and my career,” says Gunnar. “It’s an honor to get to hang out, talk art, and create art together.”  

Praying Mantis Blade tattoo by Gunnar

Gunnar’s work has graced more than this client’s skin. Gunnar’s work has been featured in Tattoo Society, Tattoo Artist Magazine (TAM), International Tattoo, Skin Art, Tattoo Revue, and Skin Deep. The first edition of “Tattoo Prodigies” highlights his work alongside other internationally renowned artists. MTV even knows about Gunnar; New Found Glory featured his artwork on the cover of the 2004 “Catalyst” album and the band’s music video “All Down Hill,” which was nominated for MTV’s best break out video.  

Follow Gunnar on Instagram @artofgunnar to see his work and find out where he’ll be next.

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