Bakunista; Wondrous Tattooing from a Dark Place:
Bakunista is one of the tattoo artists we have met, with the saddest and darkest background story. He was born in Russia, back when there was still clear remnants of Russia under the iron curtain. More precisely he lived in St. Petersburg for the better part of his adult life, and it was also there that he started tattooing. The Gulag and refugee life, broke his mind in his own words, for good and bad. It is what inspires his very peculiar and beautiful style of tattooing, but it also ruined him. But now he lives his dream life, as a tattoo artist who constantly travels.
1. Where are you from? What age are you? and how long have you been tattooing for?
I was born in Gulag. That’s how I call ex USSR. 2012-16 was mostly in St.Petersburg. Big part of my live I live like gipsy traveler without: adress, papers , numbers of phone, renting flat. I’m 25 and drawing on the skin around 4 years in total.
2. The name of your current studio and where is it located?
Last studios which I opened with colleagues was COLD CAVE tattoo & ATTACK collective in St Petersburg as well. Now I’m in non stop tour 1.7 year , every 2 weeks I change location. Living like guest tattoer is a part of my gipsy life.
3. How would you describe your style of tattooing? + 4. What is it you love about that style?
I’m doing freehand futurism in my own style let’s say like this, cause I’m not follow any wave or groups of tattoers/studios. Every time I’m trying to create new, something what I never saw before . It’s a mix of real stories & dreams which I have in my head every day. It’s an avant-garde way to express my self. Every time I’m doing on the skin only what I feel & what I’m ready to draw on the body, for what have mood. I meet with a client and then I tell – hey girl, I wanna make for you this and this here.
That’s what I fell… and cause I do it directly on the skin , the client is very surprised always like me what’s gonna be the result. I’m mixing orthodox , holy motives, anti utopia mood , russian despire, and somehow very enjoy to make peoples think but not like : this is black , this is white .nothing in this world is bw. that’s why it’s hard to understand do I follow religious cult or I’m in sect. On my own body for example I’m doing a project when I’m collaborating with tattoers and ask to make my mix of ideas. And when people’s seeing me they mostly confused I’m believer or cause I have stigmatas and Jesus 3 times , and orthodox cross on my chest etc. When they start to over thinking , then my idea is has result.
But as more it’s provocative to believers as more it’s same for an atheists. I just not follow any troops . All artworks actually has deep sense like for example Teeth of Christ which I’m doing in every second-second work. I done them millions of times and can’t stop still. It’s all about connection between peoples. In religious if someone hurts you – you put one check , another check and u forgive forgive , but then u loose something forever if it’s bed connection. Like teeth. Teeth & stigmatas it’s a sign of connection & forgivenes. If u will forgive everyone , you will lose all your teeth
5. What is your favourite thing about being a tattoo artist?
I can travel and do what I wish to do everywhere . That was my dream to do my art around the world. That’s what was happened). But skin is not only one way to express myself. It was many walls , cloths/merch , illustrations, music etc. Anyway I don’t think that I’m tattoer . For me the main is doing my own art , peoples pay for time. Would never make something what really dont like or what dictate to me client. I don’t make even process like is traditionally must to be like :wanna does , stencil, repeating stencil. No no. Just drawing my wishes , that’s not tattoo subculture – it’s future which will never came real cause tattoo is industry and basic rules which peoples follow. Possible to create something new when you follow own rules .
6. What got you into tattooing?
was doing posters/ merch /designs /artworks for black metal bands. was my dream to do illustrations / comix of life on the skin 13 years ago. Dreams comes true.
7. What inspires your tattoos(and art) the most?
Gulag despire , Lukashenko , refugee life was broke my mind forever
8. What is your favourite tattoo you have ever done or seen?
favourite for me waves of my art. For example I’m always doing Lightning’s of Christ or Teeth of Christ. In every work which you see : there is teeth, there is lightning . They always different – but I can’t stop to do them. I love to do it
9. Do you have any future plans, you would like your fans and the readers at Mediazink, to know about?
my plans is to finish new album with my industrial noise band Gulag Stacheldraht from Berlin ( before I was vocalist in atmospheric black metal band HVØSCH) , we are almost done record of new album. Still wish to live my gipsy life without borders & following waves, travel & do my art . Minimalist life without much things, cloths. Wanna live in future 2049.
Final Comment and Gallery:
Bakunista is a true anything you set your mind to can happen, story. He wanted to draw on people’s skin and show people his works through his art. Connecting people through drawing on their skin. Hopefully he succeeds with that with his beautiful tattoo style. Every tattoo looks like lightning struck the skin. It looks like a lightning strike organically formed the tattoo on the skin. It is one peculiar and truly breathtaking tattoo stye.
Hopefully both his music and his tattooing will continue to inspire, and have success. It all comes from a slightly dark place, but the reasoning behind it and the end result is beautiful. He might live in the future, but we are happy he works in the now.