Inverting Traditions: The Surreal Tattoos Of Knarly Gav

Knarly Gav has created a completely unique tattoo style that transposes the old-school traditions of tattooing.

Gavan Daly, aka Knarly Gav is a US-based artist whose tattoos are like no other.

The foundations of traditional tattooing are built on reoccurring imagery (such as tigers and roses), solid, clean, perfect shapes, shading and line-work. The identifiable tattoos of Knarly Gav invert these traditions in their imperfect and humorous style.

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Melon tiger tattoo by Knarly Gav #GnarlyGav #tiger #melon #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Melon tiger tattoo by Knarly Gav #GnarlyGav #tiger #melon #sketch (Photo: Instagram)

In an interview with MySpace, Gav spoke about his art:

"I like to do a really clean tattoo of a kind of bad drawing, but I do shitty stuff too because that's what's popular in Brooklyn right now. It's up to the artist to make it look clean, I don't pretend to know what the guidelines are for what's 'good'."

Crazy, sketchy designs, scribbly lines and disfigured shapes all make Gav's tattoos so distinguishable - the watermelon tiger head in particular is a reoccurring, popular tattoo of his. 

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Scribble tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #scribble #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Scribble tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #scribble #sketch (Photo: Instagram)

In the interview, Gavan said: "Tattoos are up to interpretation anyway. It's really about what the people think."

I love Gav's tattoos because they remind us that art is subjective. Some art should paint outside the guidelines... it should break rules and push boundaries, it should challenge us to re-evaluate everything we know about that art form so far.

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Pineapple bird tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #seagull #pineapple #beach (Photo: Instagram)
Pineapple bird tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #seagull #pineapple #beach (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Flamingo palm tree tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #flamingo #beach #palmtree #sunset (Photo: Instagram)
Flamingo palm tree tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #flamingo #beach #palmtree #sunset (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Cat portrait tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #cat #catportrait #funny #words (Photo: Instagram)
Cat portrait tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #cat #catportrait #funny #words (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Surreal skull woman tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #skull #woman #traditional #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Surreal skull woman tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #skull #woman #traditional #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Eye tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #eye #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Eye tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #eye #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Skull woman tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #skull #woman #traditional #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Skull woman tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #skull #woman #traditional #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Red tattoos by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #tiger #womenshead #sketch #red #traditional (Photo: Instagram)
Red tattoos by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #tiger #womenshead #sketch #red #traditional (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Eagle tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #eagle #americantraditional #traditional (Photo: Instagram)
Eagle tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #eagle #americantraditional #traditional (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Mom tiger tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #tiger #mom #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Mom tiger tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #tiger #mom #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Peacock tiger tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #tiger #peacock #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Peacock tiger tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #tiger #peacock #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Fishbowl tiger tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #tiger #goldfish #fishbowl #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Fishbowl tiger tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #tiger #goldfish #fishbowl #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Scribble tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #scribble #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Scribble tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #scribble #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Melon tiger tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #tiger #melon #sketch (Photo: Instagram)
Melon tiger tattoo by Knarly Gav #KnarlyGav #tiger #melon #sketch (Photo: Instagram)