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Artist Feature: Oleg Turyanskiy


Oleg Turyanskiy has been tattooing and traveling since 2001. He’s based in Moscow, but he spends a great deal of time on the road, visiting conventions and shops all over the world.


Turyanskiy feels that a steady change of scene keeps him creatively charged, explaining: “I adore attending tattoo conventions. I really love the atmosphere and spirit of such kind of events. I don't like working at the same place with the same people around for months in a row. I need to change my surroundings from time to time.” This means that American fans of his work (and there are many) do have opportunities to get a Turyanskiy tattoo, but the window is generally small and the demand exceptionally high.

Turyanskiy is also an art school graduate and accomplished illustrator, and his fine art pieces skew towards the off-beat and fantastical, trippy pieces that draw heavily on fairy tales and fantasy traditions. He’s released an original fairy tale sketchbook, in fact, called Fairytale Creatures Sketchbook, which fans of these designs would do well to check out.

This style of artwork does bleed over into his tattoo designs, though he prefers realism in tattoos and is also well known for his hyper-realistic black and white portrait work.  Whatever the style, Turyanskiy’s work comes with its own unique style that is impossible to imitate.

First, the portraiture, which is a bit more straightforward than Oleg’s more fantastical work. Portraits are in some ways an objective measure of the technical prowess of an artist (since, for example, thousands of artists have done Bruce Lee renditions), but even at a quick glance one can see that Turyanskiy’s portraits are a cut above the competition.

Turyanskiy goes beyond the lines, the light and shadow, and illusion of depth— he’s able to capture a bit of the soul of the subject, and they seem somehow more substantial than mere picture. 

The colorful bizarreness of his fantasy designs is something particular to him. Other artists do work that’s inspired by dark fantasy, obviously, but Oleg’s style is something unique to itself. Even this sleeve’s premise is unique: a chess King (visible in the third photo, bottom of the arm) leading his pawns into battle against a Joker, who’s already removed the head of one such fallen soldier.

The mix between quirky and dark strikes a chord with many of Turyanskiy’s customers, and in his world cats  become a pack of strays amidst gothic spires, bandaged and creepy. Note the tiny mouse in the right frame— it’s the small touches that set apart these designs.

This design is entitled “Trolls Destroy Time”. Often Tuyanskiy’s designs have some larger motif or idea behind them, working on more than one level aside from just the pleasing look of the tattoo.

His portraits are sometimes extended into more elaborate full-color pieces, mixing both his two main styles (the photorealistic figures and the colorful, more impressionistic work.)

Turyanskiy is still in his early 30s, so he’s got a long and promising career ahead of him. While it’s unlikely that he’ll settle down and open his own shop any time soon, his nomadic nature means that anyone willing to put in the effort can get one of his impressive designs, as long as you catch him while he’s working on the road.

For news, convention tour dates and contact information, visit www.turyanskiy.com.


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