Gary Guf Frayer Jr.

Gary Guf Frayer Jr.

Gary Guf Frayer Jr.

Interview By Darrel Delgado

Gary Guf Frayer Jr. has always had a knack for art.  Friends knew he had talent when he showed up at a high school Halloween party in a Gene Simmons “KISS” costume that was damn near as detailed as the original, right down to the fangs around the boots.  His artistic repertoire includes: board graphics for some of the legends of skateboarding,  logos, zines, painting, comics, costumes and tattooing. Gary Guf Frayer Jr. now 41, continues to grow as a professional artist.  He currently draws for a Los Angeles toy company and tattoos part-time at the Ace Tattooing Company in San Diego, CA.  I caught up with Guf at his University Heights home for a little history.

When did you start creating art? 
I have been drawing all of my life. I started on dinosaurs and monsters. My mom told me I started when I was two, ever since I could hold a pencil instead of chew on it.
Gary Guf Frayer Jr.

What has inspired you to keep drawing over the years?
Different things, I had highs and lows. My 7th grade art teacher was a big influence and introduced me to surrealism. “Mad” magazine was a big influence also.  I always read comic books, Jack Kirby stuff; he did “Fantastic Four”. I always knew I wanted to do some type of art. I wanted to be an art teacher. I quit drawing for a couple of years that almost led to a mundane normal life of 9 to 5 work. I then started drawing for a zine called “Black Market”, this kicked me in the butt and shortly thereafter Dave Duncan asked me to do graphics for a skateboard he had coming out with Tony Alva. Duncan’s board was my first skateboard graphic and also my first job professionally, I thought it was big time.
Gary Guf Frayer Jr.

Who influenced your artwork while developing your style?
Frank Frazetta, I was always into that fantasy stuff, like I said comic books were big. Old Wamer publications like “Creepy”, “Eerie” and “Vampirella,” they were always neat, also other Wamer artists like Sam Julian. I like illustrators like Salvador Dali and H.R. Giger, Robert Williams, R.K Sloane, Big Daddy Roth and Rick Griffin. Weird stuff, I have also been introduced to artists like Alfonse Mooka, he invented Art Nouveau, turn of the century stuff, very tattooable, I see a lot of his style in other tattoo artist’s work.
Gary Guf Frayer Jr.

You did some skateboard graphics for Steadham, Partain and Alva; did you enjoy that phase of your art career?
It was great. I was totally into skateboarding and had been skating since I moved to California when I was fourteen. I used to read “Skateboarder” magazine and was exposed to Tony Alva and all those guys. I thought they were cool. I always admired when Wes Humpston started doing all the Dogtown graphics, a board with his graphics on it was cool. When I got the chance to do graphics I wanted to draw them like Wes Humpston, really symmetrical simple designs that had impact when you looked at them and something that had consistency like Alva’s claw mark, so I tried to use the claw in everything I did. Yeah, it was one of the best experiences of my life, this was a chance to hang out with pro skaters that others would read about in the magazines, but I was skating with them. Jay Adams, total legend. I would wake up on a Saturday morning to find a who’s who list of people sleeping on my floor when 1 lived with Darrel Delgado. Darrel and Dave Duncan introduced me to a lot of pro skaters; 1 got to skate with the heavyweights. A few of the names are Dave Hackett, Eddie Reatigui, Christian Hosoi, you name it and they would be out there on the floor sleeping. We would go skate the most insane spots, nothing but pools, sessions that were legendary. If you were into pool skating or just skating you would have been blown away by the skating I witnessed. There was too many names, I would leave some out if I just started naming names because it was all fun you know?
Gary Guf Frayer Jr.

What graphic of yours did you like the most and why?
I really liked Craig Johnson’s “El Loco Gringo”, it was just neat working with Craig, and he is a cool individual. All the Texas people were some of the best people that I have met. Dave Duncan’s first graphic, I thought that was special because Dave gave me the chance to do it. Craig’s “El Loco Gringo”, it looked like a tequila bottle and became something totally different than I normally would have done.   The “Speed Skins” logo, that was cool and got used to death, I liked that. These were the most original ones that I came up with. Mario Rubalcaba also gave me a good idea; his graphic was one of my favorites. Fred Smith’s “Punk-Size” was good; Fred had a drawing of the original punk looking little kid. A friend of his drew the face and head of the punk kid and he brought it out and had me use the head and draw a graveyard around it.
Gary Guf Frayer Jr.

Thanks Gary. 
No problem, later.

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