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Inspired by Mortal Kombat metalsmith in Colombia makes dragons, designs for the stars

When I rode with my son through the streets of Bogotá, everyone wanted to take pictures with the dragon motorcycle I made. I could see everyone's amusement as their eyes locked on my creation.

Oscar Capera
Interview Subject
Óscar Andrés Capera Castillo is a blacksmith born in 1975 in the city of Bogotá, Colombia. He is a metal craftsman, and his workshop (in the San Felipe neighborhood) is where imagination and creativity transcend through metals. He works with models such as dragons, armor, and swords, inspired by video games and anime dolls. He offers rustic designs as well and is passionate about what he does.
Background Information
Bogotá, with a population of 7.9 million in the year of the Pandemic, witnessed the gradual disappearance of the craftsmanship of metal. It was during this time that the innovation of some of these workers emerged.

COLOMBIA, Bogotá ꟷ Mortal Kombat proved one of the most popular video games of the 1990’s. I remember liking their dragons, armor, and the Goku chapters among others. Since childhood, dragons fascinated me and getting older did not dim my interest. Now, as a blacksmith, I recreate dragons and armor through metalwork.

For one of my first blacksmith jobs, I designed and created Gohan’s dragon from Dragon Ball. It became an iconic moment in my life. The dragon measured 25 meters (82 feet) tall and three meters (nearly 10 feet) in diameter. I put it together in Zona T, Bogotá [an upscale area in the city that is very popular with foreigners].

Metalsmith enjoys experimental, creative workshop

From a very young age, my brother and I felt passionate about industrial mechanics. We began working with precious metals like gold and silver. However, as time went by, the region experienced a crisis, and the material became more and more expensive. We decided to work in metallurgy and began creating basic designs. Gradually, based on the clients’ requirements, we progressed to cutting-edge designs.

For me, my gratification comes from witnessing the client’s satisfaction. When I design, I imagine every piece in my mind first, then my hands take over. With the right tools and materials, I bring my artwork to life, exactly the way I thought it would be.

The process makes me feel whole. It gives me the freedom to work as I wish, according to the project. Every day, I rediscover my potential and investigate new creative forms. I come up with new silhouettes and try to improve with each project I work on.

I addition to armor, maces, helmets, swords, and medieval daggers, I create rustic decorations. This includes fireplaces, flowerpots, and chandeliers. Our space becomes a creative experimental workshop.

Throughout my career, I worked on the homes of some popular Colombian artistes like singer-songwriter Carlos Vives, and the musician, Juanes, among others. I want my projects to be recognized not only the San Felipe neighborhood, but in cities like Cartagena since tourists value this kind of work. 

For metalsmith, the work remains sacred

One day, my wife gifted me a motorcycle. I disassembled everything and rebuilt it in the form of a dragon. When I rode with my son through the streets of Bogotá, everyone wanted to take pictures with the motorcycle. I could see everyone’s amusement as their eyes locked on my striking creation.

I sold the motorcycle and now, I’m working on an improved one. In 10 years, I plan to do something that exceeds my own expectations – I will build a dragon truck. I plan to approach the process very professionally.

My children really enjoy my work. Sometimes they come to the shop and help me. They make little metal fishes and other things. Although they have some knowledge of metalsmithing, they have dreams of their own. Of course, I support and respect them.

As a metalsmith, I claim this work, from the foundry to the curves to the chisel. Not everyone has the opportunity to master the art of metal. For me, the work is sacred.

All photographs by Adriana Niño.

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Adriana is an independent social communicator focused on documentary journalism. She works on issues related to cultural and social vindication, exploring performative journalism, and graphic reporting. She uses different audiovisual expressions to make visible communities excluded and silenced. She resides in Colombia.