Lars Krutak received his Ph.D. at Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution & Social Change in 2009. Since 2003, he has been studying the socioeconomic impacts of tourism and tourism promotion on indigenous Rarámuri (Tarahumara) arts and crafts vendors living in the Copper Canyon region of Mexico for his dissertation.
Krutak began tattoo research in 1996 as a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Trained as an archaeologist and cultural anthropologist, he spent three years exploring the complex symbolism and practice of tattooing throughout the Arctic.
Krutak’s tattoo research culminated in an unpublished Master’s thesis, One Stitch at a Time: Ivalu and Sivuqaq Tattoo, focusing on the traditional tattooing of the St. Lawrence Island Yupiit, as well as several freelance photojournalism jobs for leading tattoo magazines in Germany, England, and the United States for which Krutak continues to write. Today, Krutak also contributes articles to other international tattoo publications, including Total Tattoo (UK), Tattoo Savage (USA), Z Tattoo (Denmark), Tattoo Magazin (Hungary), and Tattoo Planet (Netherlands).
Krutak worked for several years as a Repatriation Research Specialist at the National Museum of the American Indian, an Archaeologist in the Repatriation Office of the National Museum of Natural History, and today he is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Between 1998 and 2003, he worked in several countries of the former Yugoslavia monitoring democratic reforms and elections for the OSCE. Lars also serves as a volunteer manuscript reviewer for these leading academic journals: Journal of Material Culture, Current Anthropology, Journal of Cultural Heritage, and Études/Inuit/Studies. And he is very active in the field of museum curation.
In 2002, Krutak embarked on a world tour devoted to recording the lives, stories, and experiences of tattooed people around the globe. He has worked as an Anthropological Consultant for three National Geographic television documentaries, and is the Technical Advisor for one of the world’s largest and most popular tattoo websites, www.vanishingtattoo.com. In 2003, he was a co-recipient of the American Book Award in Literature.
Look for Lars in the Discovery Channel (USA), Discovery World (Europe), and Discovery Travel & Living (Australia & New Zealand) series “Tattoo Hunter” focusing on indigenous body modification practices worldwide.
Also look for Lars’ published works on Native North American tattoo in “Drawing With Great Needles: Ancient Tattoo Traditions of North America” (University of Texas Press, November 2013).
In June 2014, Krutak’s new book Tattoo Traditions of Native North America: Ancient and Contemporary Expressions of Identity (LM Publishers/University of Washington Press, 256pp.) was published and focuses on the Indigenous tattoo history of the entire North American continent. Books also available on AMAZON.com.
BOOK EXCERPT: “For thousands of years astonishingly rich and diverse forms of tattooing have been produced by the Indigenous peoples of North America. Long neglected by anthropologists and art historians, tattooing was a time-honoured traditional practice that expressed the patterns of tribal social organization and religion, while also channelling worlds inhabited by deities, spirits, and the ancestors.
TATTOO TRADITIONS OF NATIVE NORTH AMERICA explores the many facets of indelible Indigenous body marking across every cultural region of North America. As the first book on the subject, it breaks new ground on one of the least-known mediums of Amerindian expressive culture that nearly disappeared from view in the twentieth century, until it was reborn in recent decades.”