The artist Stanislav Osipov AKA Beebosloth and Micki Jordan

Between the pandemic and the looming threat of climate change, the world seems pretty grim right now.  Opening social media platforms can feel like throwing oneself into an active land mine with bad news and personal stories of hardship blowing up in your face.

Amidst the heartache I found one artist on Instagram whose work never fails to bring a huge smile to my face.  His name is Stanislav Osipov and he releases his offbeat illustrations under the moniker Beebosloth.

In Beebosloth’s pen and ink underworld, skeletons ponder the absurdity of life.  They face relatable problems such as body image, addiction, depression and the ignorance of others. 

By stripping away the skin and identifying class indicators, Beebosloth’s skeletons become all of us and give voice to our frustrations without shame.

Because of the themes he’s already playing with and the fact that his work can be produced quickly, Beebosloth has already produced several illustrations touching on the pandemic.  I contacted him to find out more about how he puts a humorous spin on a dark situation.

You live in San Diego, California.  How has your daily life changed since the spread of Covid-19?

Not much at all actually. I normally work from home or my studio which is very close to home. So for me this situation is excellent.

You are a gamer and I get the sense that you are also something of a recluse.  Is social distancing your preferred state of being?

I guess it kind of is. It’s just natural to me. I don’t dislike socializing but I like very few people that I meet. I much prefer the company of video games, books and silence.

You’ve been driven in the past to create a new illustration each day. Are you still achieving that and has your creative process been affected during this time?

I do try to draw everyday. Whether or not I post what I draw is a different story.

My instagram account has been the target of many people who are offended by what I create and since it is so easy to report art these days I have to watch what I post.

During the 1918 pandemic the New York Health Board urged people to wear masks, with the slogan, “Better be ridiculous than dead.” Your work depicts characters who are both ridiculous and dead. How does poking fun at life by using the character of death help you exercise your demons?

I’m not sure. Maybe I don’t fully understand the exercising of demons. I draw skeletons as a way to empathize and connect with people on an emotional level.

We are all human, we are all going to die. I have been obsessed with death since age seven and it is a terrifying concept to some people. I look at it as a part of life, no more scary than passing through a door.

I add comedy into my work to help people cope with all the crazy and horrible shit going on around them and inside of them.

What role (if any) does art and the artist have at a time of crisis?

I think that people need art at any time whether they know it or not. It provides the ultimate distraction, some other world our minds can escape to. If we mix our real life with fantasy it becomes easier to deal with the insanity.

The looming threat of death is more omnipresent at this time of crisis.  What is the role of gallows humor when things are especially dire?  Does it take on even greater importance?  Or do you think your brand of humor reads better against a more mundane backdrop?

To be honest I don’t think of my art much and how it may be interpreted at different times. That is not up to me. I just enjoy making it.

I think this pandemic is probably the best thing to ever happen to humanity. It is very Darwinian in the sense that the most intelligent will hopefully survive.

I also love that the earth is healing during this time. But back to your question, I think humor, in any form is very important at any given time.

Do you ever self-censor?  Are we seeing your darkest ideas or have you been holding back?

I most definitely self censor. If I didn’t my account would probably be terminated by now.

I don’t even bother drawing 1/3 of the ideas I come up with because people are so easily offended these days. Killing animals and cutting down trees are all perfectly fine, but draw a skeleton hanging from a tree by its neck and everyone loses their minds.

In Medieval art, depicitons of skeletons symbolized the oppressive fact that all people die and were wielded by religious institutions to scare people into behaving.  In Mexican art skeletons have portrayed both a joy for life and a political call for revolution and the dissolution of the class system.  Have you been inspired by any historic depictions of skeletons?  Do you see yourself subverting the religious and political messages skeletons have stood in for in the past?  

Oh man, I wish I was smarter so I could answer this better.

I love medieval art but I never studied art history and I didn’t pay attention much in school at all. I was too busy drawing.

I hate politics and politicians and I hate our two party system and I hate cowardly rich folks who have no morals and no sense of ethics or empathy for their fellow humans.

I want my art to show how ludicrous all of those things are and that humanity is only getting worse the longer we keep doing things the way we are.

What kind of art, including video games, music, tv etc. have you been consuming in quarantine and why?  Is this different than what you typically consume?

I have been been putting together lots and lots of model kits. I love miniatures and models. There is something so satisfying about them.

Also I watch a lot of DIY instructional youtube videos on resin casting and other hobby specific things.

As far as shows go I have been on a King of the Hill marathon and recently started re watching all the older Batman films.

I have been playing mostly RPGs and Puzzle games on my computer.

The quarantine has not affected the type of art I consume, mostly just the volume of the art. Like I said, I’m really enjoying the quarantine.

Let’s Go on An Expiration Date tshirt available here

How is your mental health?  Do you feel that you have been doing things to take care of yourself and if you do what are those things?

My mental health? That depends on who you talk to.

I’m sure if you ask some people they would say my lifestyle is unhealthy because my art is fixated on death and my tastes in media lie in the fantasy realm.

Other people would look at my life and say, well he seems happy, he gets plenty of exercise and he has a girlfriend and helps his family. I think I’m fine.

The thing that gets me the most upset is the state of the world and the USA. How much hate people have for each other and how disgusting our political system is.

When I think about how the human world actually works it makes me sick and I want to drink two bottle of vodka and fall asleep for weeks.

Has your financial situation been affected by the spread of Covid-19?

Yes. I do not make much money at all. I just about break even every month after expenses.

I live with my parents so I make it work but my income has definitely taken a hit in the last few months.

What can we do to support your work at this time?

The best way to support me is to buy stuff from my website and my online store and to help me find commissions where I can make a good rate.

I’m just happy to do what I do, I’m not trying to get rich. I don’t respect people with a lot of money who do nothing good with it.

Thank you Beebosloth for doing this interview and for giving some comic relief in dark times.

I had a devil of a time only picking a handful of images to compliment the text in this post because I just get such a kick out of so many of his drawings.  To see more of Beebosloth’s work, I recommend following him on Instagram or visiting his website. Purchase Beebosloth apparel, prints and stickers here or here.