TWOONE, otherwise known as Hiroyasu Tsuri, leads a charmed and freewheeling life painting in and out of his studio. Born in Yokohama, Japan, Hiro started getting into graffiti in high school, influenced by the street art he saw while skateboarding through Yokohama. He soon after began experimenting with various artistic styles. Having little formal art education, he wasn’t sure what to do after high school – so at the age of 18, he decided to move to Melbourne, Australia, on a whim.
In Melbourne, Hiro couldn’t speak too much English. Street art and skateboarding turned into a form of language through which he communicated. Over the years, he slowly became a rather well-known fixture in the Melbourne street art scene. Since then, he’s painted murals indoors and outdoors all over the world. But as an regular sketcher and versatile illustrator, Hiro is equally well versed in the studio and has exhibited his art in galleries worldwide.
Hiro’s work is bold and dynamic – loose yet grounded. His lines are fluid and he embraces spontaneity. Citing the need to use materials that are relevant and more representative of our times, he often prefers to work with fluorescent paint colors, which have only really existed in the modern era.
Hiro is now working on a series of portraits of a hundred different faces for a gallery show later in the year. Often, he takes photos on film to use as reference material – or he simply sits and observes people on public transportation, in an attempt to grasp the stranger’s personality and impression to turn into a quick sketch. He later expands on these sketches with watercolor, markers, white-out, paint, and layers of paper. Hiro says his work isn’t particularly rooted in any one culture – it’s neither Eastern or Western, but his spatial sense may be influenced by his Japanese roots.
Looking through his diverse portfolio of artwork, skulls seem to make recurring appearances. “The skull is more like a self-portrait,” he explains. “Because you are always judged everywhere you go, the skull is really what you are.”
Drawing is a constant, says Hiro, and he draws whenever he can; whether it’s done on a small or large scale is irrelevant to him. Moving from building-sized murals to book-sized sketches, the emotive quality of his lines seamlessly carries his ideas and thoughts through the different mediums he employs.
Besides the types of creations in his current portfolio of work, public sculptures and films are also mediums he intends to explore in the near future. Hiro says, “Street art is only one part of what I do. I don’t even think of myself as a street artist. You might as well just call me an artist.”