A Ukrainian contemporary painter, tattoo artist, and owner of the 6:19 Studio

Interview: Anastasia Gorbunova
Cover Photo: Vlada Vstepv

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6:19 Tattoo Studio

What’s it like to be you?
It means to be effective and to always seek and strive for more things. It means to pursue ambitions and finding the right path. It might seem like an uproar, but that’s false. To be me is to be in a fascinating flow of periodically changing cycles that lead to the wonderful unknown.

What makes you feel that you are living life to its fullest potential?
The process of creating something. You can’t compare this feeling to anything else. It fills every cell of your body. It’s what defines your personality which can’t exist without it.

What’s the difference between dreams and goals?

When a dream has a really strong purpose, it becomes a goal. The goal generates tasks and the dream becomes a reality. In this sense, a dream is like a seed.

A dream is important and one should never underestimate it.

Is reality better than fiction?
There is nothing more beautiful, and at the same time terrifying, than the real world.

All that is beautiful in the world is deserving to be afraid of.

Only in the real world can one experience the whole spectrum of feelings, because feelings cannot be fully controlled. The world of dreams is predictable, which makes it boring.

Photo: Yevhenii Avramenko

What film, cartoon, or book reality would you like to temporarily be a part of?
My life is like a film that you want to watch till the end. I don’t watch two films at the same time and it’s hard for me to imagine myself in some other reality. In general, I am interested in all realities and I don’t mind diving into them for a moment.

What is your definition of beauty?
Beauty is purity and harmony.

What was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen or experienced?
The birth of my son. It was so long ago, but the memory of this moment will remain in my heart forever. Seeing a universe in a baby’s eyes and feeling unconditional love is truly beautiful.

How do you define happiness?
It’s a combination of inner freedom, courage, and love.

Are you a happy person?
Yes, but it wasn’t always that way. As with everything that is deemed important, happiness requires a lot of effort and work. You have to work on yourself, on who you are, and you have to seek a state in which you can be happy.

What modern trend upsets or frightens you?
I don’t really get into that. But, in general, I am upset by things that go against the generally accepted principles of morality and values that I hold close to my heart.

What’s fucked up about the world of today?
Something is constantly wrong with the world and it never ceases to amaze. Sometimes it’s really upsetting. I wish there was more empathy and for people to be more gentle towards each other. 

What piece of advice would you give to humanity?
It’s cliche at first glance yet it’s too important to ignore – humanity should be kinder. It’s such a minor thing, but it can fix so many problems.

What piece of art would you be and how does your choice reflect your personality?
Nothing reflects my personality as much as my own paintings. Especially the image from the series “Drama” – Pigeon Lady [ed. note – see below]. It depicts my inherent minimalism and detail and illustrates modesty and courage.

“Pigeon Lady”

What excites you the most in what you do?
I am inspired by the very thought of creating. Inspiration is already part of the process. It is enough to delve into yourself to find those emotions that will drive you to action.

Have you experienced burnout? If so, how do you tend to deal with burnouts?
Burnout is complicated. It happened at times, but I learned to avoid it. Each person has a pace and it’s important to know your limits in order to stop at the right moment and restore your energy. If you don’t then a full recovery will take much longer and it will be way more difficult. Switching to other activities or simply relaxing helps a lot.

Could you share any funny or bizarre stories from work?
I can’t think of any. I take my work seriously so everything is usually in order.

What interests you outside of the realm of tattooing?
Recently I became interested in DJing. I did a course and now I play sets in my studio and record mixes. Music has always been an important part of my life and I am glad that I can share it now. This is my first hobby that is not related to art, and once again I was convinced that it is never too late to try something new.

Who is or was your biggest teacher in life?
There is no teacher. I really only listen to myself.

What values do you try to follow in life and why?
I always try to be honest and open, because the quality and consequences of communication are very valuable to me. Another important rule for me is to make decisions quickly and base them on intuition and feelings. Taking a long time to make a decision takes a lot of energy. It robs you of your self-confidence.

What was the wisest thing you’ve ever heard or realized yourself?
There was a moment in my life when I distinctly knew what intuition felt like and I also realized that I never approached it with due importance. It can be interpreted in different ways, even if it is an instinct or clarity of mind. It’s unlikely that this can be deemed wisdom, but this insight helped me learn how to make decisions and take responsibility for these decisions.  

Photo: Dmitry Dir

Translation: Elena Savlokhova