The Artist Spotlight this month shines on Hunter Knolmayer. A long-time veteran artist in the Funhouse Tattoo family, Hunter has developed a one of a kind style that enmeshes qualities from geometric and biomechanical styles with heavy deployment of emphatic textures and colors. In this interview Hunter cracks an egg of wisdom on us and shares insights on himself and what makes him one of the most iconic tattoo artists in San Diego. 

Can you take us through the evolution of yourself as an artist and how it brought you to this moment in time? 

My earliest memories are of falling asleep with a pencil and paper in my hand. I’ve always been drawn to creation. I went to college for graphic design, computer graphics, and photography; with the desire to make a living creating art. After getting tattooed by a childhood friend, my path was diverted and I lost focus in school. In the early years of tattooing, it was tough to find a “style” to call my own and I attribute that difficulty to always looking to try new things. Today, I create many styles and prefer to work large scale. This way my tattoos can flow properly on the human canvas. Who knows where my mind will be 5, 10, 20 years from now? I don’t. Just have to trust the process, while always reaching for more. 

What areas in pop culture do you draw from for creativity and inspiration? 

In my reality, pop culture will dilute my vision and I don’t waste my time worrying about what’s hip… just where my creative flow is going. 

Having one of the most iconic and recognizable styles in San Diego, what do you think fundamentally ties them together whether its geometric, biomechanical or other tattoos? 

A deep passion for taking my designs as far as I can has resulted in my “style”- however, I’ve been focusing on simplifying certain elements in my tattoos. Can’t put all my tricks in every piece or it gets lost in translation. I love the visual impact created by complexity in my designs. I want my clients to constantly get harassed while walking down the street by people who are blown away by whatever artwork we’ve created together. It needs to be a lasting design, visually appealing, and evoke emotion in the viewer. Those are the fundamentals I refuse to look past when bringing my clients’ concepts to reality. 

How do you think social media has affected the way people discover ideas for the tattoos they want? 

The positive side is exposure to rad shit. The negative is that some clients don’t want to allow their Tattooer artistic freedom. If you want to show me a picture on your phone or design your tattoo yourself, please find another artist. Sorry 

If you were to create a starter pack meme for a tattoo artist, what would be on it?

A hammer

Ed hardy shorts

Ebt card

Coronado bridge

As a veteran artist at Funhouse Tattoo, what do you find to be some of the exciting parts of working with the diverse crowd of people the shop gets in Pacific Beach?

It’s very culturing to create art for all walks of life. Hearing interesting stories and being a therapist is a huge part of tattooing. It’s great to see clients reach a level of meditation through getting tattooed. Good times, bad times, we hear it all.

Can you tell us about the significance of a soul hole and why it’s important to have one? 

It’s the happiness in your core when you get on some next level shit. Check out this video I made about it.

Being a professional artist comes with a fair amount of challenges. How do you balance your career as a tattoo artist and all the other aspects of your life? 

It’s always a work in progress. It comes down to finding motivation and that always comes in waves. Working alongside the crew here (including my wife) helps me try to push harder with my art. Pushing each other in creating keeps me sane and focused. There really aren’t many other aspects to my life other than enjoying the journey.

Where is your favorite spot to grab food in Pacific Beach? 

Depends on the day. I never know what to eat but Rocky’s has a great burger. Up to par with Hodad’s in Ob. I recommend everyone tries both.  

Where can people learn more about your artwork and what is the best way to get in touch with you?

You can see more of my work on my artist profile page or on my artist site: I have tons of work on my Instagram page as well @Hunterurscum.