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ilia zharkov

    Survival during Quarantine

The first couple of months were tough when everyone shit themselves. There weren't many customers coming for a couple of months but, I gotta say that from September on, it was already normalising. It was fun times...since they also raised our rent, during the quarantine period. We had to come up with something about the rent, and lucky enough, people were quite generous about donating to the studio. Moreover, donations came from Europe (followers, friends) of course, it flattered us.


Back in 2016-2017, when I started doing my flowing flashes (it was during the ''tattoo camp'' period) I got invited to Europe pretty often. I tried about 5 times to apply for a visa but I couldn't leave because of my Russian passport that was issued in Crimea....Throughout the time I calmed down about it. I only went to Hong Kong, and I haven't tried to apply back to Europe since the lockdown.



It's the 3d year we are located in this studio, and I run this establishment with my wife. I also taught her how to tattoo. Before that, we had 2 locations. Before this one, we had a very cool one on "Barrikadnaya". We opened this studio with a couple of guys. They also kind of invested there as co-owners, but we had to shut it down due to renovation, so everyone got kicked out and went separate ways trying stuff on their own.


Here at "Heavenly Beauty Tattoo" we got lucky. We barely had to do anything, just basically brought our decorations. We do collaborate with some painters. We attract some of our acquaintances, and also we make marches. It is usually very spontaneous.

My ideas are born from some sort of text or visual reference through the process and different mediums the idea is expanding and changing.

    Route to Tatts

I have done tattoos for 10 years. I studied to be a road and airfield engineer, so no graphic background. I finished it but nothing connects me with that profession.

Well, back when I was living in a dorm. I was doing tattoos instead of roads. Some dudes from the dorm bought a Chinese tattoo set, machine gun, some ink and all totted a star. I was like "damn that's possible, and got myself a tatt".


There was a website called "Tattoo master", and there were just photos of finished works and some masters but no tutorials. The only lessons I got was meeting this guy called Sergei. However, right after a month from our first meeting, he left for Austria to work. I stood 2 times behind his back, he explained the process a bit, and that was about it. I just went for it.

In dorms, there is so much skin.

    Psychedelic compositions

I started doing more commercial work... just do whatever my client wants. Because I knew I needed more practice. I have been doing "my stuff' for about 5 years. This 5 year is intensive practice. I perfected the style but, I see the point to keep upgrading. At first, I had some illustrative work. Graphical psychedelic compositions. There was no direct realism, but there was also no primitivism. And after I started craving for some simple stuff. For tattoos, I think it is a good style... lives well in the process... realism kinda fades away within time, and the thick lines live long.


Initially, I did some "portraits" for people....for them to see that I am not some Vasya that cannot do shit. I guess to prove that I also can create this. Currently, I like to work with flashes I already made. I like working on small scales rather big because I am a bit tired... getting old, you know. I agree that big scales are far more spectacular.

Tattoo gave me a bit of technique for canvases, and from canvases, I gave something to tattoos, quite an exchange.


    Moving in colour

Recently in the project, they took all sorts of my coloured things and made them 3D in an online exhibition. It was a form of interactive art. I am not very digital.

I use colours as an experiment, it is more like an idea that I would like to push forward: it's not a new idea, not that many people want to get them done. These miniatures aren't custom. I make them out of a photo. 


I am not sure about my speed, I would say I am quite slow and like to take my time with the process.

I still have a big love for this craft. I am not scared to burn out from it either.


''Film we have to see'' - ''Beyond the black rainbow''

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