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TSAPTSARAP: interview about art, influences and path with a team

Interview by @littlevanya, @valkarart, @ewa_nomad, @amoexuba 
Aug 15, 2020

How did the quarantine affect your studio?

Valera: In the beginning, we’ve closed our studio, but later we understood that there was no point to stay at home doing nothing. It was the right time for a lot of artists to realize new things. Then we became active again, got together, and started to plan new events. We’re preparing to prepare an exhibition of our posters, we’ve made ‘zines, started to make clothes. Quarantine was even helpful somehow.



How exactly has the team of Euthanasia Sport changed over 5 years of existence?

Valera: It has changed a lot. Many people back then and even now can’t stand the rush of all that’s happening.

LesyaEverything started five years ago with the traditional tattoo studio called Kingdom Tattoo. And the first step of reformation was when Slava said: “Well guys, let's remove all the flashes from the walls (flash is an artwork sketch for a tattoo).



Now our goal is to educate people a little more. For example, if earlier clients saw a tattoo on some movie characters and wanted to get the same one, now they’re choosing tattoo artists by their style. You can find works of out tattooers on our studio’s account and choose your artist.

What happened after Kingdom Tattoo?

Slava: Actually, between Kingdom Tattoo and Euthanasia I went to Berlin, did research about the Western culture, worked with one of the best studios there, lived there for a couple of months and that was pretty enough.

Lesya: In the beginning, Euthanasia was just a tattoo studio. Later we’ve moved out of that place and even then we already realized that Euthanasia is not just a place, it’s something bigger than unites artists.



SlavaWe dispersed all over the world and in every city we had brothers, there were people from different spheres not only from the world of tattoo art. And it became some kind of a brotherhood, a family. On those only who were a part of our tribe, we were tattooing thorns.

ValeraIn numbers, it looks interesting. We’ve closed for three years and after the first year, there were just seven of us left. In the next two years, we had twenty-one people more so there were twenty-eight people in total without even having our place.

Slava: We were traveling, making new friends, and collecting feedback. During those three years of Euthanasia, we were doing everything subconsciously, at least I was doing so. But after a couple of years of feedbacks from different countries, when people told us how we’ve influenced their style formation it has gradually filled our understanding of ourselves.

And then there was TsapTsarap that was created last year?



Slava: There was Plivka as well. It was another stage before TspaTsarap was created. Limb. Euthanasia Limb, that’s how we called it. We got stuck between heaven and hell. That was a moment when I felt my calling and took a step from my ego towards the development of something collective. it became more interesting than just a simple producing of my visuals. Back then I understood that I was surrounded by many talented people and I discovered curating as something that creates values by systematizing the selection.

Anya:  It creates an opening of the system where happens an exchange of experience between oldies and the new generation. It’s an exchange between old and new ideas.


SlavaI’ve turned a small room into an independent huge gallery, I exhibited works of my friends and that was my first experience in doing it. Then I did it at EXNEGATIVO on a completely another level.

How has the idea changed at the phase of TSAPTSARAP?

Valera: TSAPTSARAP and Euthanasia have completely different ideas. Euthanasia is a group of artists around the world while TSAPTSARAP is a particular place.

How to become a part of your community?

Slava: We have developed a series of masterclasses in two parts: theoretical and practical. This is an opportunity for young artists to show us their work and get into the team for the free train if they’ll have the strength of developing their creativity they will become team members.

And those who already have the experience can simply propose to us their candidacy by themselves.

Is this some kind of school for tattoo artists? How many courses have already been taken and how was it?

Valera: The first time we had eighteen students, the second time we had sixteen. From the first selection, we took four participants, and from the second one, we took just one person.

Did you teach only theory?

Lesya: Theory and practice. We made a lecture based on our experience, together with Slava and Vlad Dzividzinskiy.

What problems does the young tattoo artist face?

Lesya: It’s difficult for each person to immediately form the vision. Sometimes it’s necessary to let someone guide you, it’s easier with the team. You will be prompted to highlight your strong sides.



AnyaTo me, it seems that there is not enough knowledge regarding what’s happening in the world of tattooing right now. At the end of the masterclass, there was a selection of the most interesting works of different artists from all over the globe. It’s similar to how art was developing in the 20’s century. Many stages are passed already and this knowledge gives young artists an understanding of how to be unique.

How can you describe your style in one word?

Valera: Euthanasia.

Were there people that came to you from abroad?

Valera: Sure! Before the lockdown, we had at least fifteen people from different countries. The best part is that some people with a lot of experience of traveling and working in different studios loved our studio. For example, an artist from London named Heartless Jasper took twenty minutes just walking around and looking at everything with his mouth open like it was Sistine Chapel. When I asked him how did he like the place he said: “so much better”, “better than what?” i asked “better than everything!” he said. And few more guys had the same reaction. I’m sure that as soon as the world opens again our guest schedule will be packed for a couple of months in advance.

Why did you choose Nyzhnoiurkivska 31?

AnyaBecause it’s the place of power.



Lesya: It aroused for a long time in our wildest fantasies, and so it happened, thoughts have materialized.

Valera: TSAPTSARAP is not just a project of Euthanasia. It’s a collaboration project of Closer and Euthanasia Sport.

Does your place participate in the public life of Closer and Otel’?

Lesya: Generally, we are very closely connected. While planning events, we always check what is happening here on the territory to obtain maximum interaction with an audience.

Valera: This year many plans got ruined. Due to quarantine, everything collapsed.

What are your main goals?

Slava: One of our main goals is an opportunity for artists to express themselves.

Is the tattoo artist a real artist?

Slava: Yes, first of all, a tattoo artist is a creator and tattoo itself is like a tool, it’s a technique. We are making graffiti, developing a series of posters, painting on canvas, filming videos, making clothes.



Anya:  TSAPTSARAP is a multidisciplinary hub, everything is done here. Not like in a classic tattoo studio, usually, it’s just a room shared by tattoo artists for work. And we have a gallery of contemporary art and a place of communication for people from different fields: musicians, artists, tattooers, etc.

Why is it called TSAPTSARAP? Who came up with an idea and what does it mean?

Slava: Well, this is just a silly word, which is kind of sticky. It is an analogy to the scratch on the skin. Also in Germany, there is something like a gesture. “Kaput” is such a word there.

What events have you done here already?

Slava: The most grandiose was an opening.

Valera: There was a presentation of the collaboration together with the film of the Moscow brand Volchok, we had a performance guest from Israel named Auto Christ, and Kolya Nemoi’s musical debut as well.

What was next?

Valera: There were two exhibitions: one with Kolya Nemoi and another one with Sergei. Seryozha showed some unique things. He painted pictures with a candle. He also has his thing - buffing (in graffiti slang - “paint over”) his work. He writes a message and then he buffs it over.

Do you consider tattooing as an art? Why and how is this manifested?

Anya:  Ask those who make tattoos, and each person will answer differently. Tattooer in a traditional sense is a person who makes any picture anyone shows as a printer for the skin. And there is a tattoo artist. This is already a person who conveys some thoughts, ideas, visions, and who shapes his own style. And the more unique is the thing - the more interesting it becomes. Artists have individual styles, although they can still be traced to certain genres. Now, for example, an abstract tattoo is the most hyped. Basically, it’s the same thing that happened to graffiti when it became a street art.

Here is the story of Euthanasia - this is just a way of the path from canonical style and traditional tattoos to TSAPTSARAP, which is already solid kitsch cuz’ everybody does whatever they want. And it’s not clear at all whether this is an art or not, but something is happening. Although art in the 21st century has just moved from an object to an event.

Slava: Generally, there are two approaches to creativity - western and eastern. Western is constantly demanding completely new ideas, while eastern is opposite when everything new sticks to the traditions. We also separated Euthanasia and TSAPTSARAP. Euthanasia - is like an established school with its aesthetics and tradition of the black tattoo, while TSAPTSARAP is new and experimental tattoo art.

So what exactly you can call “art”?

Slava: Oh my God…

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