Keekee Kookoo began tattooing four years ago and her motifs, which are as dreamy as body positive and emotional, are celebrated as insider tips
Keekee Kookoo worked as a set designer, drew for books and magazines. But she found her true calling when she got her first tattoo – and finally started doing it herself. When she offered to tattoo seven people at the Pictoplasma festival last May, where she pre sented her work for the first time, the line of passion ate fans stretched through the entire hall. We met the Chilean artist in her studio in Berlin Lichtenberg, where it says “fantasy” on her bell plate and where we talked about silly colors and the stubborn right hand, about naked people in the park and tattoos as a form of liberation.
You are originally from Chile, which you call a traumatized country.
Keekee Kookoo: My parents’ generation suffered under Pinochet’s dictatorship. He brought violence, fear, and neoliberalism. Parents had to work constantly to maintain status somehow, and we as children had to grow up quiet alone. That was a painful experience.
Which also had you struggle with body image issues.
There were a lot of women with eating disorders in the nineties. Diet pills were very popular but selfcare not at all. I was very lucky that I discovered drawing as my form of selfsoothing. I drew fantastic and col orful worlds, and it was like a peaceful dialogue with my imagination.
Did you study illustration or art back then?
I would have loved to, but I thought you could only become a teacher afterwards. So, I studied film and did a lot of set design. But with no time left to draw, I felt more and more disconnected from my inner self. I had to get out of this vicious circle and that brought me to Berlin.