Ama Voetsek, Art, Graf, Zakifo


by Samora Chapman / 08.06.2015

Get your custom-painted Dokter Jah Irie Tomy Takkies at Zakifo Muzik Festival on Saturday 13 June at Rivertown Beer Hall, Durban

Remember that activation at Interpret Durban where we got the dopest Durban artists to paint canvases, which were then chopped, sewed and glued into art series Tomy Takkies? Well it’s back and we’ve got a brand new line-up of artists from different disciplines and they’re gonna be painting monster canvases live at the Zakifo Muzik Fest on Saturday night, 13 June.

We’re gonna reveal the artists one at a time, just to keep you guessing…

First up, we’ve got Dokter Jah Irie, tattoo artist from Lola Malone, who’s been setting the art scene ablaze for a decade plus… although he’s only 25 years young. Mahala visited the art devotee at his studio last week.

“Graffiti was my first love, I’ve been going for 12 years strong,” says Dok as he inks a drawing on the light-box at Lola Malone.


We dip outside for a cigarette and a catch-up. Dok quit school at a young age to focus on art and graffiti – conformity never was his game.

“My first job was painting surfboards at Baron. I did that for three years, but there’s only so many rails and pin lines you can do!” he explains, reflecting on his early career.

While working in the surf industry and producing dozens of canvases in his off time, Dok made a name for himself in the graffiti scene as Durban’s new king of style (post Esk and Fiya). He won Battle of the Year in 2012, and took part in various exhibitions and events.

Image © Cale Waddacor

Image © Cale Waddacor

“I eventually got a tattoo kit and started playing around… it was a natural progression. I hacked up a few of my friends in the early days!” he says laughing and shaking his head shamefully.

“I didn’t want anyone to know I was tattooing yet,” he continues. “But Pastel told Nic Lewis from Lola Malone, and he called me up immediately and asked me if I’d like to come hang out at the shop. I knew him from the Bling Free [hip hop jam] days and generally from painting around town. Thank god for graffiti!”

Dok started off as a junior artist and quickly established himself at Lola Malone, under the watchful eyes of Good Nic. Three years later and Dok is now one of the most sought after tattoo artists in town. Years of training at the drawing board and city walls are paying dividends.


“How does tattoo art differ from the other art forms you do?” I ask.

“With tattooing, it’s permanent so you can’t doubt yourself,” he explains. “The most important thing is to make sure your drawing is perfect… and also to have knowledge about what you do. Right now I’m into Japanese art – 16th century woodblock prints are very inspiring. They create rich storytelling through their art.”

“What can peeps expect from your Tomy canvas at Zakifo?”

“I’m gonna paint it all live on the night. It’s gonna be very visual and clean… possibly just black line-work and will definitely involve Yokai – Japanese Mythology. Maybe a bit of erotica… will that be okay?”

“Hopefully,” I shrug as we chuckle in the afternoon sun.


Dok and three other artists will be painting this Saturday 13 June at Rivertown Beer Hall, Durban.

Tickets R80 presale / R100 at the door
Doors Open: 18h00

Line Up:
Felix Laband (South Africa)
Christian Tiger School (South Africa)
Make Overs (South Africa)
Raheem (South Africa)
Sketchy Bongo & Friends: Kyle Deutschmann, Witness the FUNK, Gemini, Sheen Skaiz, Aewon Wolf (South Africa)
Tumi (South Africa)
Nucleya (India)

Get your tickets HERE and follow @dokter_irie on Instagram.


*Image © Cale Waddacor

*Image © Cale Waddacor


*Image © Cale Waddacor

*Image © Cale Waddacor

*Image © Cale Waddacor
Twitter: @ZakifoMuzikFest
Instagram: @Zakifo_Muzik_Fest
Like the Facebook page Zakifo Muzik Festival and join the EVENT.

*Graf images © Cale Waddacor / Graffiti South Africa
*Portraits © Samora Chapman
*Other images courtesy of Dok

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