Zmiya Mochoruk’s Tattoos Reveal Unspoken Tales Through the Skin, Interview

An artist with a surreal impressionism style, always chasing shadows and creating occultist-themed paintings and tattoos.

Zmiya Mochoruk is a multi-talented artist from Chicago. He balances his time between his studio, painting, tattooing, and family. Zmiya creates beautiful artwork on canvas and skin. Before he had a voice, he started to draw anywhere he could on whatever was available. His creations became increasingly influenced by nature and the energy of life and dreams as his interest in theology and occultism expanded over time. While Zmiya appreciates a classical aesthetic and figurative style while painting with oil, his primary focus is to investigate magical or occult equations from within the human figure’s frame and overlay the underlying message in a way that is understandable to anyone, albeit in different ways. He is constantly pursuing the dreams and shadows in his head, trying to capture them with the fewest brushstrokes while staying as faithful to the vision as possible. When he started tattooing to try to overcome a creative block, he developed a valuable collaborative perspective on art and it provided him the motivation to share his dreamy, imaginative stained canvases with others. Since then, he has been invited into several galleries and contacted for publication as well as cover and album art. Zmiya Mochoruk created magic in his own tattoo shop in Illinois.

Zmiya Mochoruk’s Instagram and Facebook

Can you tell us how you began your artistic path? 

It’s really been my method of communication with the world as far back as I can remember. When I think about it, drawing and painting have always provided a bridge, a way of balancing concepts using a more universally understood language that has always felt natural to me. 

“For as long as others are interested in looking at what I paint I am grateful.” – Zmiya Mochoruk

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© Zmiya Mochoruk

From painting on canvas to tattooing, what motivated you to become a tattoo artist?

Haha, tattooing came later, I worked in computer networking, painting alongside that reality for quite a while. Both sides started to feel joyless, I really needed to spend my time in an atmosphere that was alive. So I apprenticed as a tattooer, and the group of us left corporate life, opened a cafe, “Cafe AEON” and I started painting and tattooing full-time alongside a new reality and culture .

What initially drew you to include theological, occultist, and horror elements in your art? What is it about these themes that captivates you?

I would probably say that I bend more towards the occult and metaphysical elements rather than horror, but I guess that is a matter of perspective. I think that art on the whole is self portraiture at some level, that is to say, I think we create expressions of ourselves. I wouldn’t say I’m drawn to these things, I would say that I’m at home in them.

Your artworks create a strong emotional response in viewers. You have developed a unique style that blends and explores a dreamlike and magical vision. Do your own dreams influence your artwork? If so, can you share an example?

Thank you so much! It is an extraordinary feeling to be seen that way. Yes, I would say that between dreams and meditation I find the impetus to all of my work, the themes, the impression it leaves on me.. the rest is trying to capture that in a way that some truth remains with it.

Shadows play a prominent role in your art, often combined with a sense of underlying beauty. How do you balance these contrasting elements? How do you use them to evoke a sense of apprehension?

Great questions:)

Let me just say that the dance between light and dark, light and shadow, is without question the most alluring part of the painting process. To look at the same subject, time after time and decipher new movement new meaning in the interplay of light and dark colliding with a beautiful form.. that is the great journey, eloquence in the language of light and dark

I think that, if I’m successful in painting, you will feel exactly what I would feel, if I were you to see me. You will feel, through you, in your way, what I feel, think what I think, see what I see, maybe that feels like apprehension:)

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© Zmiya Mochoruk

Do you have any rituals or practices that help you get into the right mindset for creating your art?

Nothing too outlandish, 

 I meditate, I move slowly, I try to see through what I’m doing, I mix paint.

I love to mix paint, I try to see something true in the colors, I try to let go to it.

Tattooing can be a collaborative process. How do you work with clients to translate their vision into a permanent piece of art?

Fortunately, I have the greatest clients! I try to listen, I guess. I try my best to discern the most important bits, and the overall message they’re trying convey.. and I can usually just go from there, there’s a lot of trust that I’m given and I try to live up to it.

“My muses and guides, while fickle, can be very generous when giving me glimpses into what they would like created, I only hope that I can keep them amused.“- Zmiya Mochoruk

Tattoos often tell stories. Do you see your tattoo work as a form of storytelling? If so, how does that differ from your other artwork?

That’s a cool thing to think about, because whose story is being told? When you look at a body of work, especially tattoo work, looked at in order it absolutely tells the story of the artist’s journey, but each page is someone else’s story. I think there is a telling of other stories, in your own way, that tattooers learn uniquely well

Looking back on your career, what has been your most challenging piece to create and why?

I don’t think it’s been created yet.

Photos courtesy of Zmiya Mochoruk

Last Updated on June 27, 2024 by retrofuturista

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