Monday, August 15, 2011

Pheaturing Gunnar Gaylord

Are you ready? Are you ready for another entry of the Peverett Phile? Welcome to a Monday entry, kids, how are you? About 45,000 Verizon employees are on strike after failing to reach a new contract. Yeah, things are so bad, the S&P downgraded them from “Verizon” to “AT&T.” There was a small fire today at President Obama’s vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard. Or as Obama told China, “Darn! That's where I was keeping the $14 trillion I was about to give back! What are the odds?” Rush Limbaugh accused President Obama of trying to inflict as much damage as possible in four years. And then Rush Limbaugh’s chair accused him of doing the same thing. The Dow fell 634 points and went below the 11,000 mark. All I can say is: It’s a good thing all my money is tied up in comic books. Michele Bachmann said that if she’s elected president, she won’t read words off a teleprompter. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin said that if she’s elected president, she won’t read words. The Republican Party is making automated robocalls to voters, blaming Democrats for the credit downgrade. Yeah, I thought I got a robocall from Mitt Romney. Turns out it was actually Mitt Romney. Hershey’s announced that someone hacked into its website and changed a recipe. It's weird when your buddy is like “I hacked into the CIA and spied on Iran. What’d you do?” “Well, do you know walnut brownies? Now they’re pecan brownies!” President Obama took campaign volunteers out for burgers  and apparently left a 35 percent tip. Oh man, that guy is so generous — with China’s money. During a call with investors, Rupert Murdoch said that News Corp made $2.7 billion last year. Murdoch said if investors had any questions, they should contact him by leaving a message on their own voicemails. A new study found that using Facebook too much can lead to psychological problems. Which explains that new relationship status, “It’s complicated... because a magical unicorn said it was.” So, have you heard of this new planking phenomenon? I haven't, until I saw this planking PSA. Check it out.

Hey, kids, it's the Philosoraptor!

Today's interview is with a very talented artist who started the project Story To Tell, and who is the fourth artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery. Please welcome to the Phile, the one and only... Gunnar Gaylord.

Me: Hello, Gunnar, welcome to the Phile. How are you? 

Gunnar: Doing great, thanks.

Me: A mutual friend of mine named Michael Banks recommended I interview you after I interviewed him. How long have you know Michael, sir? 

Gunnar: I met him a few years back at the Tried and True Convention. Then I did a collaboration painting with him for an art show he did... then recently we had the opportunity to paint together on a project I started called "Story To Tell"... which is a large scale collaborative art project

Me: Gunnar, where are you from? You have traveled a lot in your life, right? 

Gunnar: Originally from Connecticut, then I moved to Ohio, then to California and then back to Ohio to be with my kids who live there with their mother. Yea, I travel alot, I don't really enjoy living in Ohio, its not a great fit for me... so I play with my kids and then I hit the road. I'm currently on the road 2-3 weeks a month.

Me: You started out as a tattoo artist years after you got your first tat. What was your first? How many do you have? 

Gunnar: My first tattoo was the Orange monsters with the green sneakers from an old Looney Tunes cartoon. Now I have alot. HAHA.

Me: I only have four, and my first was my son's signature on my left arm. Getting tattoo's kinda addicting, isn't it? 

Gunnar: It is. Not the process of course. I think now and days its sort of away for people to get attention... then when that attention starts to fade... they need a new one too show off. That's not everyone of course... but definitely true of alot of people.

Me: Have you ever inked someone thinking to yourself you couldn't believe they were getting that tattooed on themselves? 

Gunanr: Yeah, it happens. But since I dont have to live with it, its not my place to tell them what to wear. My job is about making that the best tattoo they have technically.

Me: What is your favorite tattoo you have ever done? 

Gunanr: I have a list of pieces I really like. I get alot of free reign so there are a bunch I was proud of... and some that I loved the way my drawing turned out but the tattoo never got finished... that happens alot.

Me: So, Michael told me you are one of the biggest names in the "new school" movement, Gunnar. Explain what the new school movement is. I didn't know there was such a thing.

Gunnar: New school now is such a silly term... but at the time when new school was created it was a relevant term. Now its a misnomer. When it first was created there was traditional tattoos and fineline tattoos and then "new school" which were bold lined, full colored images highly influenced by the low brow and graffiti art. It really stood out from what was being done, but like I said its an irelevent term now

Gunnar: Do you think tattoo's are getting more and more popular? Just in my small town in Central Florida, there's like three tattoo parlours. A few years ago there were none. 

Gunnar: Yeah...its almost ridiculous now... I heard a statistic (not sure how true it is but it sounds about right) that nearly 70% of the people tattooing now have been doing it 3 years or less. I could believe that. Its sort of sickening at times. Like anything it will have its spotlight moment, then a generation of kids that hate tattoos cause their rebelling from their parents will come about... and have these kids will be on the streets trying to figure out what to do with their lives. Im not saying tattoos are a flash in the pan... but this hipness of it right now is sure to fade.

Me: You opened your own parlour called Gods and Monsters, right? Do you still have that place? Where did the name originate from? 

Gunnar: I opened that about 10 years back and closed it 3 years after opening. It was an awesome place to call home for a bit, but we (the artists) all moved out of Ohio and I just wanted it to die with us, I didn't want to sell it to some hack that would ruin what we created. Gods and Monsters stems from the film Bride of Frankenstein where Dr. Pretorious says "To a new world of Gods and Monsters" in toast to him and Dr. Frankestein and what they were going to create together.

Me: I was impressed when I read you did some work for New Found Glory and your art was featured in the video for "All Down Hill From Here". How did they approach you for this? 

Gunnar: I got some calls and emails... but I thought it was a joke. That is till I got a call from Geffen Records, then I knew it was legit. They had seen my work in a tattoo magazine and liked what I did. It was pretty cool, cause I had only been painting for a year and half at that time and had no real art education and here I was presented with this huge job. Pretty flattering.

Me: Were you a fan of the band before the projects? 

Gunnar: I had heard of em and knew of them, but they were a bit more pop then what I was listening to at the time. I actually became a fan of theirs with that album. They are super great guys and they put on one hell of a show.

Me: Has any other band approached you, or record label? Have you inked any celebrities? 

Gunnar: I was gonna do art for another band at the time, but they were on the same label and Geffen wasn't having it. I was also supposed to develop a line of toys with Drive-Thru records, but the deal fell through. Depends on how ya define celebrity, I've tattooed a few people that are famous in their field. It's not really my thing though... I tend to find some of the people that others would call celebrities are always looking for a hook up and they are used to getting 'em. I don't treat them different from my normal clients cause I do not feel they are any different. The ones that I have tattooed have understood this, but I had a couple that tried haggling and I wasn't into it. They came to me, I'm not going to them.

Me: I have to ask you about the cute and creepy kids you created. When did you come up with the concept for them?

Gunnar: I guess it was created from a few things that just kind of happened collectively. I was into horror films and cartoons. Then my kids were born so I was watchng even more cartoons and reading children's book while at the same time I was introduced to the work of Joe Sorren, Mark Ryden and Todd Schoor. They were a culmination of my infuences at the time.

Me: You have kid's of your own. What do they think of your other 'kids'? 

Gunnar: Yeah I have 2 daughters, Ella and Clara. They're actually pretty into my art and its cool. They think I am a rockstar... and I am certainly not gonna try and ruin that image, LOL. We draw and paint together, but I don't try and push art on them.

Me: You're working on a children's book, which I think is cool. When it comes out, you have to come back so I can put the book in the Peverett Phile Book Club. What is the premise of the book, Gunnar, and does it have a name yet?

Gunnar: The name of the book is "Lilith and Thatch". Its kind of a dark story about a girl that creates a "friend" to help her defend her garden from an evil crow and his minions. Their friendship blossoms and ends up causing some trouble for them, but in the end things turn out ok. Its a children's poem in the vein of a Dr. Seuss, but dark. It has the same cadence as something like the Lorax might. I have had alot of positive response from it, so much so that we are currently working on a CGI short to accompany it. This project is my baby, so I am taking time with it to make sure it's perfect before releasing it.

Me: Is it a novel, or a picture book? 

Gunnar: It's will be illustrated, but its a poem. I do however have a premise for a much more simple picture book, that I plan on doing in the future titled "There's a monster in my closet".

Me: Okay, I HAVE to ask you about the Story To Tell project, which I think is amazing, and is the real reason I wanted to interview you. Tell the readers what the concept is.

Gunnar: It's essentially a large scale collabrative art project. I choose a city/state to go to. While there I ask resident's of the state to tell me about their local folklore, famous people and sites and fauna and then I sketch out a large scale painting depicting the state... starting at the southmost point and heading in a northern direction (For example with Florida it will eventually go from the Keys to the Panhandle). I try and cover the normal stuff like Disney and the space shutte, but I also like things like famous urban legends and mythology. It's fun but dark, like most of my art. Once the sketch is completed I invited local artists to come help me color it in. It's a collabrative art project with a single vision and it has had a really great response. It's super fun and the attending artists seem to really enjoy it. They get to rub elbows with fellow artists and there is no vibing or competition... they are all there for the same reason and its super positive.

Me: When did you come up with the idea, and where have you started?

Gunnar: The idea was born in South Jersey which is where the original painting is. It started when some friends of mine wanted to do a collaboration painting while I was visiting. However in tattooing, Bio Mech (think HR Giger's Alien art) and skulls tend to be done in excess as collaboration paintings... I wanted to make sure we didn't do that. Plus I thought it would be cool if it was a a landscape style image instead of just a collage of imagery. So we decided to do a Jersey Devil to represent the area. But then it just kept growing cause people kept telling me to add stuff. When I was done it was 4'x30' and went from Atlantic City to Philadelphia. When the artists showed up to paint on it the next day they were floored by the scale of it and it got them talking... I instantly knew I had something... so since I travel so much I decided to take it on the road. My goal is to have it span the country from Florida to California (not phyically just in imagery) and then show it as one continuous piece. At this point there have been over 30 artists involved and ive only done 2 areas, so I think we could break some world records with this one.

Me: You came to Orlando with it, right? 

Gunnar: Yeah, I came to Orlando, that was the 2nd city... It was awesome, had a great turnout and it was alot of fun. However, we only made it a third of the way up the coast at 4x18 feet, so we have much more to do.

Me: How many cities have you been to so far? Just 2 so far with the project, but I am doing more soon. It's takes planning and money. And since it's grassroots its tough we have had to find sponsors to host it, to fund it etc... but I think once people hear about it, it will snowball.

Me: When do you think it'll end? 

Gunnar: Maybe never, its a continually growing piece... and artists are free to go add to it at any time. Its alot of work and unless I get a whole lot more help, it may never end.

Me: If a Phile reader or artist wants to take part, what should they do, Gunnar? 

Gunnar: Go to for more info.

Me: Okay, Michael Banks referred you, so I was wondering if you know any other artists you can refer to be interviewed here? 

Gunnar: I'm at my friend Craig Driscoll's shop right now doing a guest spot... He too is a "new school" artist but with a completely different style then mine... You can check him out at

Me: I heard there's a special project as well that you might be doing, something along the lines of "LA Ink". Can you talk about it, Gunnar? If not, we'll move on... 

Gunnar: Too early to tell.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Go ahead and plug all your websites, Gunnar, and if someone wants to learn more about Story To Tell, where should they go again? 

Gunnar: Thank you. You can find me at (new website look coming soon) and and and

Me: Thanks again, and please come back when your book comes out.

Taht about does it for a short entry. Logan and Jen need the computer for home schooling, but before I go I want to say thanks to Gunnar for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Alumni Kevin Rowe and then on Monday it's Alumni Baub Eis, then a few weeks it's the lead singer for one of my and Logan's favorite bands ever. Until then, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligator's bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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