Inverting Traditions: The Surreal Tattoos Of Knarly Gav

By Rebecca Rimmer  - 
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.

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. 

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.

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