In 2012, twenty-percent of adults were recorded to have at least one tattoo on their body; with tattooing being a fast and growing industry in modern culture, percentages have only increased since. Tattooing has been around for centuries, yet the culture surrounding it has labeled the art medium as strictly gang-related and only capable of holding negative connotations. Specifically, looking at Dr. Laka, a modern Mexican artist, and his medium of tattoo imagery in art, this paper will discuss the taboos surrounding tattooing, how symbols and imagery create narratives on the skin of individuals, and how women are represented and projected upon in both the art and tattooing industries. Utilizing old photographs, advertisement posters, magazines, and postcards, Dr. Laka uses these preserved human canvases to tell the narratives of the individuals preserved in time. Reflecting his culture and personal style, Dr. Lakra does not create the canvases he works on, but takes what has been formed and places his personal touch on them.
Keywords: art, artist, canvas, culture, death, Dr. Lakra, illustration, Mexican art, photography, tattooing