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toucheconomy Tamara Obukhova artist instagram

Tamara Obukhova’s unpredictable looks turn the ordinary into the unusual

TextDominic Cadogan

The creative behind Instagram account @toucheconomy shows the world from her perspective, taking discarded matches, pieces of gum, and more and turning them into works of art

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“It’s very interesting for me to combine incongruous things with each other and look for paradoxical combinations of forms,” explains Tamara Obukhova, the incredible creative behind Instagram account @toucheconomy

Her unique perspective has garnered her a 55k-strong following who are obsessed with her images that everyday household items into whimsical works of art. Think fluffy dandelion seeds as delicate eyelashes, pieces of chewed up gum stuck to fingers like nails, or dripping strawberries hanging out the mouth like a forked tongue. “The unusual can emerge from the most ordinary things,” she explains on her approach to creating the images. 

After growing up in Kazakhstan, Obukhova moved to the Czech Republic aged 16, and has been studying there since, recently completing a bachelor’s degree in art which she says “helped me understand myself better”. 

Here, we speak to Tamara about her favourite smells, her unstable relationship with beauty, and why she wants humans to have wings and gills. 

What is it you do and how did you get into it?

Tamara Obukhova: I have felt myself in art since I was a child. All this time I’ve been exploring different sides of it. Now I find myself interested in photography, where I can capture a hybrid of meanings of objects in one concept. 

What are you trying to communicate through your work and why?

Tamara Obukhova: I just show the world from my own perspective. I transform objects from the real world to endow them with an element of unexpected and fill the reality around me with it.

Who or what inspires you? 

Tamara Obukhova: The most habitual things and everyday objects often can be inspirational. Also details or real objects in an altered state. For example, a broken cup or mouldy food can be the start of something new. 

What’s been your career highlight so far and what do you hope to accomplish ultimately?

Tamara Obukhova: The awareness that my art resonates in the world around me. I can interact with it and be inspired by this. It’s hard to say what I hope to accomplish ultimately. I want to be in ongoing progress. 

What does beauty mean to you?

Tamara Obukhova: Beauty is something personal, omnipresent, and all-powerful that goes beyond standards and norms. 

Describe your beauty aesthetic in three words.

Tamara Obukhova: Inexplicable, unpredictable, minimalistic.

What’s your favourite smell and why?

Tamara Obukhova: The smell of fresh bedding. I feel maximum relaxation from it. 

When do you feel most beautiful?

Tamara Obukhova: Feeling beautiful is an unstable feeling in my life. It depends on a number of circumstances and mostly my internal state. Today I felt beautiful when I woke up, tomorrow I might not feel this way, but at the same time beauty will appear somewhere else. Beauty is everywhere. 

How do you want to change the world?

Tamara Obukhova: The change I want to bring in the world is about working on myself. 

You’re the editor of a time-travelling beauty journal 100 years from now, what beauty trends are you reporting on? 

Tamara Obukhova: I want the only eternal trend to be being yourself.

If you had to choose one surgical enhancement, what would it be and why?

Tamara Obukhova: I would like to have several more hands, because my two hands are often not enough for me. 

It is the sixth day and you are creating humans. They can look however you want them to. What do they look like and why?

Tamara Obukhova: To the regular human form, I would add gills in the form of wings to make the sky and water a natural habitat for people. 

What is the future of beauty?

Tamara Obukhova: I would like the beauty industry to be even more individual and experimental without any overflowing standards. 

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