Ryo Tomo, who currently resides in Colorado, began drawing in late 2006 after uprooting his life and spending seven months in South America. He then left for Japan to gain inspiration before returning to the U.S. where it was hard readjusting. He fled for Mexico and spent many months wandering the streets of it's capital and other cities. He spent the past year living in Cairo and working in the Middle East as a photojournalist for an Egyptian magazine. His art expresses this drifter who is interested by so many different things.
Your greatest inspirations?
I'm greatly inspired by everyday moments, the tiny pieces of normal life that make us seem relevant or worthless. I believe in and look for the beauty in dirt. I believe in love, but sad moments inspire me too. My best work is inspired by loss and longing. The characters that exist in my work reflect the hope and wonder and fear and pensiveness inside all of us.
Favorite project you have done so far?
I haven't completed a 'favorite project' yet. I reuse a lot of the same ideas, moods and perspectives.. trying to get things right. Nothing stands out to me. I have a lot of projects sitting inside my head, but I've yet to flesh them out. That said, I love travel and am proud of all my works that express my wanderlust.
What would be a dream project for you?
Ideally, I'd like to be back in a majorly urban city. some place where the kinetic energy of my surroundings would rub off on me, but I also love nature and the outdoors. I'd love a fortress of solitude. Either way, I have big things to say on modern society and how we do (or don't connect) with each other. Also some punk-as-fuck street fashion shit.
Other artists you like?
Mike Giant has been doing insanity with tattoos and a sharpie for years. Audrey Kurosawa has grown enormously and I don't see a ceiling for her work. Jamie Hewlett is one of my all-time favorite underground/pop culture artists. I wanna hit the streets like Fafi. Or Blu. Marjane Satrapi is my favorite cartoonist, so simple. Lance Acord makes beautiful films with everyone. Jackson Publick has awesome character design. Dali's take on life [and himself] has always interested me. Jan and Stan Berenstain and The Berenstain Bears have been a life-long influence.
Challenges of what you do
My challenges are self-imposed. Art isn't my day job and until very recently I'd never been able to devote enough time to my craft. But I'm beginning to take it more seriously. Unfortunately, the art world hasn't yet. Neither have the cartoonists, comic peeps or illustration heads. I draw in cheap office supplies, scan and color on an obsolete version of photoshop on a really old mac. nobody seems to quite get met yet, but i suppose all artists feel that. art is what you want it to be, not what others say it should be.
Favorite cultural hot spots in the world?
Outside of the USA, I've spent most of my time living in big third-world cities like Lima or Cairo. Both cultural and definitely 'hot' spots, but not necessarily the coolest places to be for contemporary artness. If I had to pick a city, it'd be Mexico City. There's so much going on there right now. All the time, everywhere. It's what New York must've felt like in the 70s, back before it got rich, clean and gentrified. Mexico City is both wondrous and terrifying.
Anything else you'd like to share with our audience?
Do whatever it is that you want to do, do it 'til it hurts. It's hard even for me to take that advice. We all gotta work to pay the bills, but we must also be willing to risk a lot, be ready to suffer great hardships, be prepared to take leaps of faith, in order to do what we love (and what we're good at). In becoming an adult, I've learned that life is all about showing up. We've all gotta have the courage to do that if we are to make something of ourselves.