Dr. Lakra - profile

Dr. Lakra / Jerónimo López Ramírez

March 2, 2015

Dr. Lakra is a renowned Mexican tattooist and artist. Apart of skin, the tattoo artist prefers to embellish images from past decades - glamourous photos of Mexican beauties, dolls, and magazine covers, with macabre or tattoo-style designs.

Born in Mexico City as Jerónimo López Ramírez, Dr. Lakra is the eldest son of the anthropologist and poet Elisa Ramírez Castañeda and the painter Francisco Toledo, one of Mexico’s towering cultural figures. Among today’s young Mexican avant-garde, he is the one who has best incorporated Mexico’s tradition of illustration and printmaking and graphic design and pre-Colombian art.

The turning point in his career was meeting fellow tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy, who advocated for Lakra, exhibiting his work at show named Pierced Hearts and True Love, which he organized with the Drawing Center in 1995. Mr. Hardy, impressed by Dr. Lakra’s drawings, traded him professional tattoo equipment for a painting and took the younger artist under his wing.

He renamed himself Dr. Lakra (Dr. Scar) in reference to the medical briefcase in which he carries his equipment. Under his pseudonym he draws over vintage printed materials and found objects rather than skin, manipulating images of pin-up girls, 1940s Mexican businessmen, luchadores, and Japanese sumo wrestlers.

Main themes of his art include vulgarity, religion, evil, repression, sex, and violence, focusing on the juxtaposition of new and old. Using traditional tattoo iconography as well as a free hand drawing style, Dr. Lakra brings energy to every page, canvas, or object that he floods with paint and ink. His gallery installations are cabinets of curiosities featuring intricate wall paintings of beautiful women, indigenous statues and deities, collages crafted from vintage magazines penned and inked by the artist, human-like insect heads encased in vitrines, dolls that have been transformed into gang members, and images of pin-up girls with full tattoo sleeves.

Dr. Lakra has works in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Hammer Museum. He is represented by kurimanzutto, New Mexico, and Kate MacGarry, London. He has exhibited widely throughout Mexico, the United States, and Europe at venues such as the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO), Oaxaca, Mexico, Tate Modern, London, England, Matthew Marks Gallery in New York, NY, Galerie Chantel Crousel in Paris, France, and Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York, NY.

Dr. Lakra lives and works in Oaxaca, Mexico.