In Russian prisons, tattoos serve as a unique language of symbols and the rules for reading them are passed on by oral tradition. The illustrations they wear on their skin tells the story of their closed society, a society with its own hierarchy and social structure.


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Tel-Aviv based Russian artist Valeria Monis connects the subversive art of Russian criminal tattoos with traditional blue porcelain design, uniting two opposed but equally important and influential strands of Russian art history. Each ceramic piece is designed, crafted and illustrated 100% handmade, incorporating illustrations taken from photographs, personal stories, and the Soviet police prison files. Just like an original tattoo, each plate is single edition.

More info: valeriamonis.com

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Handmade Criminal Ceramics By Valeria Monis

Valeria Monis Report

CelSlade 2 months ago

I would have loved to have the meanings of the tattoos added with the photos. Beautiful work, though!