Artist Spotlight: Marlon Gunby

Interview by Kelly Kurdyukova of SoulBloom

For Appalachian Jamwich

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Marlon Gunby who is an artist of many different mediums. Marlon currently has his own tattoo studio in Bedford, PA, and is an activity practicing tattoo artist. Besides creating vivid, fantastical body art for his clients, Marlon is also a sketch and canvas artist. Marlon has taken on a wide array of projects, from album covers to gallery shows, and is very involved in the artistic community. He is currently in the process of orchestrating an art opening on April 4th, 2015, which will be held at Dantes in Frostburg, MD. The event will start at 7PM and will be complimented by live music from Mixing Numbers with Sounds. This upcoming event is set for the intention to showcase Marlon’s art and allow patrons to purchase prints or original creations.


  1. What does creating art mean to you? 

It is my escape from the current structure of society. It is also my method to connect with others and to learn about myself. Currently, it is whole my life and it is part of everything I do. It is my main method to create connectivity between myself and others. In addition, I believe it is a way of changing the world. With more art and creativity, I feel that there is the potential to shift reality. It has really changed my perspective on life and the world. I am thankful for the role that creating art has played in my journey.

MG1 copy

(This Native American piece is a prismacolor drawing I created for my friends that put on the Wills Mountain Music Festival).

  1.  What was your first memory of creating art? 

A rose I drew for my mom in my early twenties.

That was the first time in my life I felt like I had finally made a piece of art. It was completely out of my own mind and not influenced or forced like anything else I had created until that point. From then on, I fell in love with creating art. My mother stuck with me through a dark time in my life, so the rose commemorated that struggle and my appreciation for her and the triumph of overcoming. Through the process, and once complete, I felt like there was finally a meaning to what I had created.


(This lion is a graphite drawing I did a while ago).

  1. From your perspective, what defines an artist? 

An artist, from my perspective, is someone who is motivated by passion and creativity. I have a wide spectrum of what I consider to be an art, and how an artist should be defined. Being an artist is more of the mindset than anything else. It could range from being a chef to being a mechanic, but it’s all about doing your craft mindfully and imaginatively.


(The next one is an album cover I created for the band Habatat).

  1. What is your favorite style of artistic medium? 

Graphite pencil drawing, by a nose. I sketch, and I paint on canvas and on glass. I also enjoy tattooing and using the body as a medium.


(This is a prismacolor and sharpie sketch).

  1. Are there certain personal life or historic events that have inspired your style?

Yes. I find inspiration from so many things in life, but I would have to say my reconnection with nature a few years ago has been my biggest influence. I guess I just create what feels natural.

MG5 copy

(This is a tattoo based upon a graphite drawing I did a while ago).

  1. Which other artists do your draw inspiration from (can be painting, sculpting, music, acting, etc.)?

Salvador Dali, M.C. Escher, Alex Grey, Jessica Muessen and my brother Martez Gunby.

  1. What message do you want to convey to the world through your artistic expression?

There is no box.

I’ve heard the expression too much – “it’s been done”. I believe that this is not true; we’ve barely scraped the surface. It is also better not to follow trends and to follow your heart. And not to be ego driven; art comes from a place that is egoless.

  1. How would you define your style? Do you draw inspiration from past or present artistic movements? 

I am not sure that I really have a set style – I tend to create art that flows organically in my own mind.