Aloha talks: Sasha Kiseleva

In this interview our friend and the talented nature tattoo artist Sasha Kiseleva told us about her lifestyle, dreams, and hobbies.

How did you eventually become an tattoo artist?
In my student years, people asked me to draw sketches for their future tattoos from time to time, and when they sent me the results, I was kind of disappointed with what I saw. Almost every time I felt this way, therefore I thought that if someone entrusted me to make a tattoo sketch, it would be perfect l to give people this so-called 'eternity' myself, starting with the idea and ending with its implementation. But my plan was to stay an artist, paint the walls, canvases, doing illustrations, like it was in the past, and only sometimes, on request, to be able to make the most of their own tattoo pattern. And you can see the result: my main occupation now is the art of tattooing, which is fantastically interesting to know and learn from the inside. Now it is an integral part of my life.

Where did you study?
I had a teacher – it was damn informative, but quite expensive. And I knew from the beginning that the starting point of becoming a tattoo artist will not be easy. From his lessons I learned the basics and fundamentals of all the technical side, but lines technique I studied in practice by trial and error making tattoos to my friends. They, of course, were fully aware that it will be not perfect tattoos as I was only learning but still they gave me the chance to try tattooing on their arms and legs, which was a kind of 'blank canvas training' for me. That time I did not have a studio and tattoo was just a hobby, and I took charge only for the materials. It was 2.5 years ago. Now, according to my calculations, about 600-700 people inked by me are walking around the globe. My head starts spinning when I am thinking about it.

How do people usually learn about you: via Instagram or just see friends inked by you?
It's true. Most of my clients come to me because they found me on Instagram: as soon as I upload a photo, several people are requesting the tattoo by me. And, of course, word of mouth still has its powers by bringing new friends quite often. I try to respond to everyone, but I am not accepting each request. I'm concerned with a story that is put into the new job, and I trust my imagination and hands.

Which patterns or objects do you do more often in your tattoo designs?
Mostly people come to me for mountains and forests, for nature, to be precise. I, myself, never chose this topic – it chose me itself. For example, recently I have realized that I rarely do sketches for tattoos with flowers. There's nothing personal in that, I'm just not interested in doing it. Much more, I love to portray animals. I was once asked by my friend to draw mountains and, apparently, I was able to somehow miraculously get to the point precisely right. Thus, almost immediately when discussing tattoo ideas, there appeared the phrase 'your mountains'. Just the other day some guys traveled be train around 1000 km, the whole night – 17 hours, traveling by train, so that I could do mountain tattoo for them. I have no words to express my feelings! It's just fantastic.

Which techniques do you use in your work and which ones do you like more?
Lines, dots, but it is not 'dotwork'. I use the 'noise' style, too. I do not have clear rules for this style. I like the color tattoos, but only in combination with clear contours. I'm still in search of how to combine color with my style. In the meantime, my life is all about black and white tattoos.

On the photo are Stardust and Mawu rings.

You have a non-standard way from fine artist to tattoo artist. What would you like to spend more time on?

Actually, I would not call my way unusual, it is now more like a trend: many run on the way from paper to skin. I want to once again be a fine artist. I feel so bad about those unfinished canvases which give me sad look when I walk past to open the door to the next guest. And I also want to learn Japanese, do not know why but I insanely want to at least to try it. But the problem is that it require a lot of attention and time for learning, and learning it just a little bit does not make sense. So, I still weigh all 'for' and 'against'. But I do like Japanese culture, mentality, thinking, nature, writing and calligraphy. As I am a visual, I feel that their aesthetic touches me deeply. I find beautiful everything that is connected with Japan so I want to learn more about it. I want to go to Japan so much!

What are other places on the planet you wanted to go to?

My list for today: Japan, Iceland, New Zealand, and States again. Of course, I like Asia, too. This spring, I wandered around rice fields of Vietnam, had my soul rest in the Bayon temple complex in Cambodia, made a couple of tattoos in a bungalow on the shore of the Gulf of Thailand, and had a lot of coolest adventures with my best friend! How one can possibly not love Asia? There lives the magic, for sure.

Do you like living in Moscow? Many creative people are leaving this city. Have you ever had such thoughts?

I constantly have the desire to leave but only to experience living in another country, as long as there is no obligation. But in Moscow I have My Forest Ink, which is only one year old and is still being renovated. Even one month ago, everything was different, and month by month something is changing very fast and I do not want to leave my studio during this active time. Now some guest artists come, so there is always something interesting going on here.


What kind of music do you listen to and what movies do you watch?

Only today I realized that this year I went to movie only twice. I liked Captain Fantastic from what I have recently watched. And a very cute movie What We Do in the Shadows. Actually, I rarely watch something and mainly listen to my old music. But currently I discover a lot of new bands and songs thanks to online sources. Sometimes I like to listen to my old hip-hop playlists, and while drawing, I turn on electronic music with broken bits and natural sounds. Among my favorites are Alt-J, Glass Animals, The Album Leaf, and my most loved ones are Bonobo and Nujabes.

What are you reading now?

I have just begun ‘Cloud Atlas’. From the last book I read I liked 'The Book Thief' – one of few books that I want to keep in print edition. 'Martin Eden', 'The house, in which...", and for inspiration – 'Lust for Life'. My own rating of books is based on unstoppable desire to illustrate what I have read, but it appears not every time.

On the photo are Mawu and Stellar rings.

Tell us how you got to know Aloha Gaia.

I love silver and different symbols in jewelry, it just makes my soul feel warm. Honestly, I do not remember how I found you, probably via Instagram. I realized how close your jewelry was to me when saw your Tipi ring. Actually, tipi is a tiny element that is on one of my very first tattooes. Most often I wear Mawu ring, and I also have a ring Stardust, which is amazing. I love the phrase inside the ring which says 'Make a wish'. Actually, I found it not on purpose: it was in the plane on my way to Asia. So I wished that trip to be great, and it really was incredible!

Which of our jewelry pieces would you like to purchase?

I really like the suspension Supermoon with a large moon! One of the earliest jewelry pieces made by Aloha Gaia. In general, all I like all jewelry as they are easy to combine with each other.

What would you like to see in the upcoming collection by Aloha Gaia?

I stopped wearing earrings long time ago and never put them on again. Previously, I liked massive earrings, especially with feathers, but the last time I wore stud earrings. It would be great to buy some small earrings.

photo-10-11-16-20-37-38-1On the photo are Stardust and Mawu rings.

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