Nunez suffered the worst injuries and has endured three surgeries over the past six months. His son suffered two skull fractures and was hospitalized for a few weeks, while his daughter suffered lacerations to her head. This month, Nunez has returned to work in an effort to rekindle the magic of Nunez Tattoo and Piercing. He is also resuming holding art classes at his shop and screen-printing for community groups that request his services. “2017 is a new year,” Nunez said. “I’m in recovery still; I’m not doing full 12 hours a day, seven-days a week tattoos right now. Right now I’m doing light duty, one to two tattoos a day, everything by appointment. All of my customer base has been outstanding and very supportive. They’ve been waiting and very patient with me. Since I have a big following and community base in Richmond for the last 20 years, and being open for 15 years, I think that helps a lot.” Photo and bottom video: Chris Morocco
Nunez Tattoo & Piercing had been going strong for 15 years at 12724 San Pablo Ave. in Richmond, and its artist/owner Juan Nunez was only getting started. Aside from running his business, in recent years Nunez had launched tattoo expos that brought dozens of artists to Richmond as a benefit for Children’s Hospital of Oakland, launched art classes at his shop and designed and screen-printed shirts for community members and organizations. His growing reputation for compelling artwork had gained praise from notable locals such as filmmaker Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed), along with interest as a subject matter from filmmaker Chris Morocco. All that success came to a sudden halt Jan. 1, 2016, when Nunez and his family ended up caught in the crossfire of a police pursuit. While visiting his mother for her birthday, Nunez’s vehicle was struck by a stolen car that had been fleeing police. The stolen car was being pursued down a hill when it smashed into Nunez’s vehicle, seriously injuring him and his son and daughter.