The Art of Miguel Dark Exhibited at Diatriba Koven 2019

Alejandra Fernandez
Alejandra Fernandez

Postulating themselves as one of the most critical Tattoos parlours in Bogotá, Acid Ink Tattoo Art invites us to know this countercultural way of living through Diatriba Fest 2019. The art of tattoo became a tradition for the young artists that opted to mark their bodies as an authentic way of life. This Festival merges good music, exotic paintings, drinks and good company with the best tattoo artist.

A real festival, Diatriba 2019 gathers well-known tattoo artist at both national and international level in a marathon four days event beginning this December 11th with the release party from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Estudio 74 located Calle 74a # 20c – 75 in Bogotá, Colombia. This expositive proposal, promoted by Acid Ink Tattoo Art, since last year serves as a platform to showcase artistry made by illustrations, lines, points, shadows and colours which transform into a work of art in the skin.

Tattoo artists made a great effort to be recognised as such. In this country, tattoos were associated with delinquency in a society ignorant of the millennial tradition of marking one’s skin. The craft of tattooing was far from being a profession or a way to make an honest living from needles and ink, nor tattooed people thought of as people from all backgrounds to enjoy this unique art.

It was through the endless and patient effort from those artists that they became known in the illustration and drawing scene. Before just graphic designers, painters or plastic artists were part of art circuits. Still, with time, Tattoo artists achieved to unlock the conventions linked to art and traditional scenarios such as museums or the use of linen canvas and oil paints as the only instruments to show or provoke sensations. Skin became a canvas, and those tattooed are walking and breathing works of art, taking them to the streets, nightclubs or offices.

One of the first battles won by this trade was by a law promoting the free exercise of one’s personality, which embedded in article 16 of the Constitution in 1991. In this article, it forbids to fire or to discriminate a person based on his/her appearance, religion or race. In other words, the tattooed or pierced person has the right to exist without being discriminated by their presence.

Throughout the years, there is a visible change in society’s perception of countercultures. They began to be accepted in every working environment, to feel comfortable as any other citizen with the same opportunities, but they maintained their unique aesthetic and way of living. However, there are sectors in society that still stigmatized tattooed people, such as religious and conservatives in the country.

In the how tattoo artists built their platforms, the first referent found in Colombia was in the sixties, when Cali-born tattoo artist Leandro Ríos (1940 – 2009) came from the United States with the notion and found it the first tattoo parlour in Cali called Leo Tattoos Studio, a place that not only served as studio but also as tattoo academy to other that wanted to learn the trade.

Besides the apprenticeship in tattoo studios, there were drawing and fine arts academies that embraced the formation of tattoo artists as well. Many tattoo artists graduated first as plastic artists, illustrators or graphic designers and then developed a taste for carrying and making tattoos, a lifestyle that generates a good income. The first tattoo fest ‘Nutabes’ took place in 2007 and created the terms to dignify tattoo’s craftsmanship reflected directly in the cost of the tattoo itself. Tattoo artists must charge based on their experience, the place they work, the utensils used and their designing skills to match the tattoo with their body canvas.

This time, in a city with high contrasts, where religious and conservative traditions coexist with diverse counterculture spaces and movements such as punks, goths, BDSM, LGTBIQ associations, etc., the Diatriba Koven 2019 will take place. Miguel Angel Bautista, founder of ACID INK in 2005, thought on creating an alternative scenario where unconformists with stablished rules could find tattoos, fashion, collectables, utensils for the trade; but most importantly a place free of judgement or discrimination. A place where this new culture is nurtured in this part of Latin America.

Miguel Angel Bautista, one of the cofounders of this alternative space, understood the need for a place that consolidated the underground culture. Bautista’s resume has countless visits to different tattoo studies where he learnt multiple techniques that enriched his own, achieving excellent results and organic works of art, which can be seen on his official website. His style is based on realism tendencies with biomechanical shapes, creating a distinctive brand on ACID Ink as it requires attention to detail, and it contains heavily processed images.

Bautista was the only Colombian tattoo artist in The World Atlas of Tattoo. His artistic influences are Robert Hernández, Paul Both, Tommy Lee Wendtner, Giger, Dalí y Zdzislae Beksinki. His work experience contains multiple national and international convention’s participation as both expositor and jury.

In Diatriba Koven 2019 the attendants will have the opportunity to see Helmut Sanabria’s work. The founder of HAMSA ESTUDIO began his tattoo artist life in 2009, so, for over a decade he has developed his technic in Bogotá, by exploring art Nouveau style, traditional eastern tattoo styles and illustration techniques. His background as a graphic designer and illustrator serves as an advantage when it comes to tattooing. It allows Sanabria to create personalized tattoos and to introduce risk colour compositions due to his academic studies in colour theory.

In his portfolio, there are several participations in national and international conventions where he showcased his work as part of different collectives.

Thus, this Festival augurs to give a first approach to the art of tattooing and to recognize its close relationship with graphic art. There, attendants will have the change to purchase illustrations, paintings, sculptures with prices varying from COP 10.000 to COP 4.000.000. Every purchase comes with authenticity certificates. Also, attendants will see live tattooing during the three days of the event performed by artists from around the world.

The most significant intervention in the Festival focuses on thirteen tattoo artists such as David Jorquera (Chile) and Federico Ortiz (Mexico). This second edition of Diatriba aims to connect tattoo experts with newbies in the enjoyment of tattooing as an art form and as a manifestation of the body.

In this second edition of Diatriba Koven 2019, the organizers will “give tribute to the plastic arts to dignify tattooing as an artistic expression.” It starts on December 11th with a release party and will continue from December 12th to 14th with a series of talks, performance and expositions open to the public. Everyone is welcome to enjoy an excellent combination of arts and the beginning of the end for stereotypes.

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