Avant-garde artist Ilia Zharkov is hungry for the madness that lies just beneath the surface. As an engineer, he fell in love with geometric precision. As a Moscow-based Millennial, he learned that perfection is also usually a lie. Whether we’re whitewashing our own stories with photo filters, or covering up scandals with propaganda, flawless images only tell part of the story.
These tensions manifest in his tattoo art, as geometric shapes ominously unravel, or picturesque scenes get thrown into chaos. The anxiety-ridden, yet deliberate, freehand linework fights with the original subject as if to say, “this is both meaningful and meaningless, forever.”
Zharkov now works under the pseudonym Heavenly Beauty Tattoo, a name he calls a “sarcastic symbol of desperate and unrequited love.” With both sincerity and snark, the name sums up his absurdist philosophy on tattooing and on life itself.
Images © Ilia Zharkov.