Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Meet Dr. Lakra!

September 15th, 2009 by

Every art form evolves, regardless of what that art form happens to be.  Tattoo is no exception.  Without the artists and visionaries who push the boundaries of what we think we know and understand about the art of tattoo, creativity would quickly grind to a halt.  I don’t want that?  Do you want that?  Of course not.

As it so happens, there is a tattoo artist based in Mexico City who is going about his own quiet revolution with the tattoo needle, blurring the lines between fiction and reality.  His given name is Jeronimo Lopez Ramirez, but he is more commonly known as Dr. Lakra.  The name came from his early days when he used to do tattoos with his own crudely designed equipment and jars of ink.  Ramirez would carry all these things in an old briefcase, wearing gloves and earning himself the name of “doctor” in the process.  “Lakra” is Spanish slang for “scum” or “joker”.

What differentiates Lakra from other tattoo artists however, is his desire to see past conventional means of tattoo and to push the art form forward by tattooing everything from human flesh, to images from vintage magazines, to figurines. This different view of the possibilities of tattooing as an art form gives legitimacy and credibility to tattoo’s place in the world of art.

“I see my work, my tattoo work and other formats, as a mixture of different iconography’s from different cultures and places. I’m always trying to deal with this basic primal urge. Primitive instincts like sex, violence, graffiti, are all innate into human beings and not tied to one culture.”

Some might argue that what Lakra is doing beyond his tattoo work on flesh isn’t tattoo at all.  This is a mistake however, because Lakra’s ability to change say, an image from a vintage magazine by adding tattoos to the model in the photo, has the power to completely alter what we will think and feel about that vintage image. I might be way off here, but doesn’t the same thing occur when tattoo ink is put on to human flesh?

I don’t know about you, but I really like the idea of tattoo art blurring the lines of flesh and gallery style art, of reality and fiction.  In addition to his work, Lakra has appeared at numerous high profile galleries and exhibitions, including the Miami Beach Art Basel gallery.  Here he combined his tattoo work as well as his drawings in an exhibition which:

“…asked questions as to whether art could be transferred mechanically onto any format or medium.”

What Dr. Lakra is doing may not be for everyone, but it’s value can’t be denied, just as any artistic movement gains momentum and spawns its own variations, tattoo will only continue to do the same as time passes and more artists decide to experiment beyond the conventional.

If you’re interested in getting a tattoo from Dr. Lakra, you’ll most likely have your work cut out for you.  Word has it that he’s something of a recluse.  Your best way to start however, is probably by getting in touch with the art collective that he communicates with, Kurimanzutto.

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