ArtemTarasov (Founder at TOGETHER WITH YOU)

Antidisciplinary designer, creative leader.
Co-Founder at TOGETHER WITH YOU, ex Head of Design at Arrival

Tbilisi, Georgia • April 15, 2024

What led you into design?

Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s in Bratsk, a small industrial city deep in Siberia, I often felt that cool stuff was happening very far from me. Access to music and clothes was limited, and the internet was just beginning to expand. Merely knowing about something cool was a significant effort, let alone possessing it. This scarcity made me value the rare and pushed me towards counter-culture activities such as skateboarding, punk music, and other forms of radical self-expression. I even made MTV Jackass-inspired videos with friends, which left me with a few scars from our stunts.

I believe this desire to be a part of contemporary culture: consume it and impact back – that is what led me to design. I was into visual arts and, like many others, started my career by designing posters for parties and gigs, editing videos, and eventually creating commercial brand identities.

Bratsk Hydropowerplant
A giant soviet hospital in the middle of nowhere, exactly behind my home in Bratsk
A giant soviet hospital in the middle of nowhere, exactly behind my home in Bratsk
My room till I went to study journalism at my 16th
My room till I went to study journalism at my 16th
Me pretending I am good at skating in my twenties
Me pretending I am good at skating in my twenties
At 12 I made a snowboard, HAHA!
At 12 I made a snowboard and even ride it once... luckily didn't break anything...

What does a typical day look like?

I'm trying to redefine what can be called "a typical day." To be honest, I don't believe in work-life balance, as I can't distinguish between the two. The design work I do brings me immense joy, and I simply feel I can't do it. So I don’t feel I can call it “work”. However, like everything else, it should be balanced with other activities. A good day for me is when everything is in the right proportions: sports, design, family, friends, some good food, some good rest. But what matters even more is the state of mind I'm in during that day. I'm on my journey to consciousness, honesty, and inner balance. When you're balanced, every day is a good day, even the most "typical." When you’re balanced you feel content with less - sunrise, sunset, some rise, some rest.

Sunrise, Sunset... by Sterling Ruby

What's your workstation setup?

I just need a laptop and a pair of headphones. The workstation can be found anywhere if you have enough charge and 4g hotspot.

Where do you go to get inspired?

I have a couple of artists who have inspired me for a very long time and that hasn't changed since then. I'll name them without specification: Ray Johnson, Our Legacy, Black Flag, Olafur Eliasson, M/M Paris, Raf Simons, Raymond Pettibon, Helmut Lang himself, Bureau Borsche, Sterling Ruby, Richard Turley, The Royal Studio, Gabrio Bini wines, Antonio Gaudi, Mies Van Der Rohe, Martin Margiela, Boris Grebenschikov, Frank Zappa, Pharoah Sanders, Joan Miro, OK-RM, Rick Rubin, Vasiliy Kandinskiy, David Byrne, David Bowie.

I feel I can rely on them, and their work constantly offers new insights. They serve as creative mentors to me, guiding me on my next steps and instilling confidence in my decisions.

In addition to them, my fiancée greatly inspires me. She's crazy talented and always brings a fresh perspective. Getting to know her better each day brings me joy.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

What I enjoy most is the blend of intent and randomness. It feels the most powerful to me, like a precise depiction of the creative symbiosis between humans and nature. This is why I’m obsessed with this photo I’ve shot lately. It is not a product tbf, but here it is.

Apart of that these what I’ve recently liked (and some of these own):

Apart of that these what I’ve recently liked (and some of these own):

This ring by Acne Studios.
This ring by Acne Studios.
Helmut Lang x Jenny Holzer / HL Perfume campaign 2000
Helmut Lang x Jenny Holzer / HL Perfume Campaign Newspaper / 2000
00s scooters, specifically this Honda Forza 2004
00s scooters, specifically this Honda Forza 2004
Our Legacy Hellraiser jacket
Our Legacy Hellraiser jacket

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I may sound selfish, but I feel grateful for all the work I took part in. Even if I'm not entirely happy with the outcome, I still learned something. Therefore, it's difficult to choose a favorite. However, I’ll try:

I admire what we did during my time at Arrival, so many experiments and amazingly implemented web and mobile products. I love the TakeProfit brand - it happened to be even crazier than I expected. What we did with Sasha, my fiancee for her brand After Hours. From the latest work, I would say I am proud of the FAIR project: very fresh comprehensive visual design language and product design concepts. We conducted numerous experiments, and many excellent ideas and concepts were not included in the final result. We didn't want to simply discard them, so we created a zine with the leftovers.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

Mostly, I face management and business challenges, to be honest. I am super grateful I decided to evolve my studio, but that eventually turned out not as fancy as I expected, haha. So yes, the most challenging stuff is making it financially stable with clear and manageable growth perspectives. This is also a design challenge, in a way.

What music do you listen to while designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

I suppose "never stop being curious," because curiosity is the only thing that pushes you to explore in any direction - inner or outer.

But I would also love to hear advice for me, feel free to reach out. I like things balanced.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

Absolutely. The studio I share with my business partner, friend, and "best man" Artem Taradash – TOGETHER WITH YOU. We consider ourselves hands-on design consultants who dive deep into client’s processes and together with them navigate to the only right solution.

We are also soon launching a special automotive-focused brand called "YOU Mobility". This design endeavour specifically focuses on mobility projects. We handle any design work and enjoy working with businesses of all sizes. Feel free to reach out.