There’s a definitive beauty in the art of simplicity. In recent years it’s become a wildly popular movement, overcoming the fields of interior design, fashion, art, and in some instances, even becoming a sort of life mantra. But refined minimalism isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to accomplish, regardless of how it might seem. It’s a constant balancing act, too much and you’ve missed the point entirely, teetering on the aesthetic edge of a grandmother that just cleaned house and had a garage sale. Too little and you’re erring on completely dull, effectively saying, “while we’re at it, why don’t we just paint the walls stark white, rid the house of anything but the a bed, a single chair, and maaaybe a desk if we’re feeling particularly frivolous.” There’s an art to finding the balance in minimalism, especially when it comes to minimal tattoos, and no one knows or understands this better than artist Ira Shmarinova of Moscow’s Sasha Tattooing Studio.
Creating exceptionally fine-lined minimal pieces exclusively in black ink, Shmarinova’s work is a beautiful take on minimalism that incorporates delicate intricacies into each work. You might find yourself asking how something can simultaneously be intricate and minimal at the same time, and the answer lies in the balance in her work. Careful to add enough detail so that her work never errs on the side of boring, while also keenly aware of the need for simplicity, Shmarinova’s tattoos are characterized for their tiny but simple details. This is perhaps best seen in her floral work which carefully illustrates their unfurling petals with a single line, and adds depth with the most subtle shading. Her leaves are alive with single line veins that twist and turn with every curve.
Favoring organic matter like flora and fauna as the subjects of her work, there’s also a certain symmetry to her tattoos that’s almost geometric in nature, particularly in her animal portraits. Using her signature single line to create the muscles and anatomical features the way she depicts the curvature of her animals bodies is perfectly symmetrical. Lines that are used to illustrate the bone structure lying just below the surface are equal and opposite in a way that’s perfectly minimal, allowing Shmarinova to illustrate an idea in a simplistic manner without ever rendering her work boring.