Tasiania’s illustrations feature care-free scenes packed with all the colors of a cotton candy sunset.

Her work revolves around all things ocean and bursts with an unnameable authenticity that will have you Googling “cheapest flight to an island, any island” before you even finish reading this feature. Art certainly imitates life for Tasiania (aka Tasya) who left her native Russia to live the island life in Bali—and she hasn’t looked back.

It’s a pleasure to meet you Tasya. I’ve been a long-time fan and admirer of how effectively you capture the spirit of the coastal way of life in your pieces. It shocked me to learn, however, that the coast you came from is probably not what people may expect. Let’s start by talking a bit about where you grew up.

I was born and grew up in Saint Petersburg, Russia, located on the Baltic coast. It is a very beautiful city with European-inspired architecture and culture as well as the home of the State Hermitage and hundreds of other museums. But the weather is just awful, most of the year you do not see the sun. That was the reason why, after I graduated from university, I went on my first trip to India and haven’t stopped traveling since. 

You currently live in <cue my jealous sigh> Bali. How did you find your way there?

Bali was one of the destinations from my yearly travel cycle through Southeast Asia and Latin America. But since I discovered surfing, I couldn’t be far from the perfect Balinese waves for a long time. My love for surfing brought me back to the island again and again, so one day I just stopped traveling and stayed here.

What a stunning place to call home. As an artist, what about Bali is most inspiring to you?

A lot of things; the nature, the Balinese culture and the ocean. But the biggest source of inspiration for me are the people. I like how simply and joyfully they live.

Beyond some of the obvious connections like the subject matter, how else does Bali express itself in your work?

Bali fills my work with meaning, power, energy and love. Inspiration comes effortlessly as my work reflects the essence of this place and my life here.

I think people—ahem, me—certainly have a romanticized or heightened image of what Bali is, so I’d be curious about some unexpected things that most people don’t know about Bali. It can’t possibly be the perfect garden of Eden I’m picturing right?

I have to admit all these romantic images people dream before they come to Bali are true. 

Though the one thing they do not know is how bad the ecological situation is in Bali. Tourists imagine beautiful tropical places, which still exist, but in fact there is a lot of construction around the island which leads to the destruction of places like the rice fields in Canggu. Another big issue centers around waste in general like the huge beach clubs and hotels washing their sewage directly into the ocean. And yet, ecology still is not a priority for the local government.

But there are ways to help this situation. I think people should come to Bali to rebuild themselves and be mindful of making responsible, environmental choices. For instance, plan your trip as an eco-journey and avoid visiting the beach clubs and other places which ruin the authentic Bali vibe and contribute to the pollution of this beautiful island. 

What are the biggest challenges to living/working in Bali?

The biggest challenges for me are the traffic jams between home and one of my favorite surf spots. When you surf with a 9-foot, classic noserider longboard (which is as heavy as an elephant) and your driving skills are not so good… transportation becomes a real challenge.

It’s very clear that surfing is a huge part of your life and influences your art in a major way. Could you speak more about what surfing means to you?

Surfing means many things to me. 

First of all, it gives me the opportunity to be surrounded by a community of people who share my passion.

Surfing is my playground where I can play and dance like a child. 

Surfing is about connecting with the ocean. Being synchronized with an energy that comes deep from inside the ocean and for a few seconds you can become one with the wave and dance with it to the end. Truly an amazing thing to experience!  

And of course, surfing is my meditation. It’s about always working to center yourself.

What are the connections between surfing and creating?

As a surfer, I am blessed to see so much beauty in this world—the waves, sunrises, sunsets, the light and water dancing on happy people’s faces and watching how we {surfers} all connect with nature and each other. Love, sense of moment, gratitude, sharing, friendship, sisterhood—all these little things stick out in my mind. In my art, I express these feelings that every surfer experiences. I try to share the joy I get from the ocean.

Speaking of joy… could you finish the following statement? The best day is one spent doing… 

Actually, I just realized that every normal, routine kind of day here is my best day. 

I wake up early in the morning so I can go surfing before sunrise and see the first light in the ocean. 

After surfing, I have a good breakfast and go home for a little nap. Usually I work in the afternoon and into the evening. Then, when the daytime heat is gone, I go to the beach for the sunset with my friends.

We have a dinner in a small warong right on the beach or go to our favorite Indian place. And after 10 pm I am usually in my bed. That’s pretty much it.

As I retell my day, I’m realizing how nice it is to remind yourself to be thankful for your routine life.

What piece of your own are you most proud of?

I always try to work honestly and to create things that reflect my state and context of the moment. I love my work about women surfing in Sri Lanka, using those designs as an instrument for the change of social and gender roles for women in that country. 

I also love my sisterhood patterns. I made them when I had just discovered the beauty of surfing but had to be apart from the ocean for some time. So in this work, I expressed all my boundless love and passion for that. 

Another great work I did a few years ago was for the company, Seea. It was a bunch of illustrations about their recycled fabric line, how these materials are turned into surf-ready swimsuits and about solutions for reducing environmental impact.

At the moment, “Beloved One” is a project I made with my ocean sister Polina Boyarova, one of the talented Russian surfers I know and founder of Cream Girlswear surf brand. We came up with a women’s surf swimwear line using my surf prints and I absolutely fell in love with it! I am kind-of obsessed with swimwear. I have so many, for each day of the month, but these two-piece babes are my favorite everyday choice now. It is such magic to wear something you created! 

In 10 years, where do you see yourself?

I like how the present moment looks and tomorrow I want to be in the same place. I am open to life and the opportunities it brings to me. I expect only good things from my life, but nobody knows how it will work out. So, I do not know where I will be in 10 years. I only hope that I’ll be living in this beautiful place.

Thank you, Tasya, for letting us share in your Balinese inspiration. Between your descriptions and the pictures, it certainly seems like quite the slice of paradise. I think maybe a little Society6 team off-site at your local beach is in order…

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Scott Fluhler

Brand & Content Strategist