Dr Lakra (Jeronimo Lopez Ramirez born 1972) Mexican Artist
Between the world of drawing and the world tattoo, mixing techniques to animate the eyes of people. Looking for another way to make tattoo alive, visible to reluctant masses, Dr Lakra begin to do multidisciplinary work which combines his fascination with tattooing and contemporary art. When he first started tattoo in 1991, he was carrying a doctor’s briefcase, strode across the city to make his art on people skin, that’s where his nickname came from.
He is now using popular images and symbols belonging to marginal and displaced groups, such as gang tattoos and prison drawings. Again the fact to altering old documents in a way which create anachronisms is making the light on ancient traditions of global corporal art, Mexican graphic art, popular entertainment and art history.
About Him (BY BERNARDO LOYOLA)
I see two main styles in your graphic work. You make these pieces where you “enhance” or modify old prints from the 50s and 60s, tattooing pinup girls and wrestlers with spiders, skulls, and demons, and then you make these big drawings and paintings like the ones we are printing in the magazine.
Well, my work is more than that. There are also objects, collages, and many kinds of drawings in different mediums. The “enhanced” prints are the best known, I guess, but there’s more than that. In some of my work, I start with a predetermined base and in others I start with blank paper. That has to do with the work I used to do before becoming a tattoo artist.
In some of your pieces, each drawing seems like it was made by a different artist. Do you base these images on preexisting illustrations and photos? In a lot of my work, including the pinup pieces, there are different sources of iconography, and you can read different discourses in them. The larger pieces (like the ones printed here) are more like collages, and often the images in them are very similar to the original sources. I like to play with different styles and qualities of drawing and I think the composition is what gives them a new meaning.
In all your work, I see a constant juxtaposition of sex and violence, the aesthetic and the grotesque, and, in a way, the new and the old. I’ve always been interested in these themes. These are raw, universal feelings. In one way or another, the noncivilized human, the nonrefined, the primitive, is always being repressed, in a way that’s almost criminal. I think that through these themes you can define the essence of culture.
What is it that attracts you to Mexican design and iconography from the 50s? It’s not only the 50s or Mexico that I’m attracted to. It’s simply a fascination with the way things were done before. For example, in the case of pornography, I like how they used to leave more things up to people’s imagination. I like how the most important things became secondary.