Immediately sparking nostalgia, the artworks of Aleksandr Tagunov, aka tahunou, impart a charismatic and playful narrative. Blending outsider art steeped in folkloric mythos with the expressive blue-grey illustrative stylings of prison tattoos, Aleksandr builds a chimerical world saturated in satire and innocent alchemy. Analog film, ceramic, bronze, and skin; regardless of the medium each work is a unique slice of an anecdotal realm.
Can you talk about what drew you to the tattoo industry? What was your experience like becoming a tattooer?
My father had a friend, an ex-prisoner. He was about 50 and covered with criminal tattoos from tip to toe. When I saw him, I set my heart upon having ink on my body. I was about 7 then. Later, when I entered an art school, my classmate made my first tattoos. Thus I got involved into the process.
How has your style evolved over the years and who are your artistic heroes?
In the beginning I inked my punk friends and their acquaintances for free to boost my skills. And now I have my personal style and can make any tattoos. I started with old school, lettering, tribal, and now I work in graphic style of illustration. I like it when a tattoo has an idea or a story which is sometimes transparent to me only. I like different artistic styles, it's hard to go with even several of them. It's the same about tattooers, there are a lot of interesting and good artists. a149_ , Victor Zabuga, Andrei Vintikov, mdvdhandpoke and others....When I draw, I usually pastiche my works after French or Russian criminal tattoo style, excluding prison meanings.
Do you have an artistic philosophy behind your creative output? What is the Moscow artist community like?
There is no philosophy as such. I draw under the impression of something that I've seen or heard. I'm not aware of any communities of tattooers in Moscow, but there are some good artists for sure.
What advice can you give to young creatives trying to find their style or voice?
Just be yourself and not focus on tattooing only, push boundaries...
Beyond creating art, what do you really love? What do you wish you had more time for? Any 2020 Plans?
I like taking photos on analog cameras, walking in the forest and explore wild life. It's important to spend more time for craft. I like making wood furniture, working with clay and creating bronze sculptures. Maybe this year I'll go to Europe. And for sure I'll go on tattooing.