Dr. Lakra isn’t necessarily the first person who’d come to mind when considering interactive children’s toys. The Oaxaca-based artist, born Jerónimo López Ramírez, has made a pseudonym for himself by expertly applying permanent ink to people’s bodies over the past two decades--with a particular knack for mid-century-inspired pinups--while his gallery work often explores the intricacies of sex and violence alongside a litany of his wide-ranging, somewhat obscure interests. And though his portfolio isn’t particularly kid-friendly, Dr. Lakra’s Mutant Laboratory is a new box of puzzlelike tiles that allow the tattoo master to share his work with a younger generation.
The set comes with 84 triangles, each of which features one-fourth of a face line-drawn in Lakra’s signature style. The 21 black-and-white characters are sweaty and slobbering, beset with skin conditions, missing teeth, band-aids and nose-rings, snouts and beaks--Mad Magazine meets the Garbage Pail Kids for the growing youth of today. Each of the recycled-cardboard pieces were designed to be mixed and matched, allowing for a near-infinite array of new visages to be created (well, to be exact, it’s only 190,000, but that’s still a lot of potential rearranging).
So give your kin the knowledge that beauty ain’t everything, and there are a lot of fascinating features to be found in those who aren’t model-perfect--or even freaking close. Dr. Lakra’s Mutant Laboratory can be yours for $27.