San Diego Automotive Museum

The Automotive Art of Todoroki Tomohiro

The Automotive Art of Todoroki Tomohiro
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Todoroki Tomohiro

Tokyo, Japan
b. 1974

Todoroki Tomohiro’s unique brand of pop art, according to him, “features pictures that could have been painted by children.” The deliberate distortion of form and color has roots in ancient Japanese art, placing Todoroki’s paintings in the Japanese artistic and aesthetic tradition. Todoroki refers to the lineage of Japanese artists who did not intend to realistically depict subjects, but instead sought to create impressions of scenes and caricatures of people and animals. These ideas are reflected in the ukiyo-e print, one of the most famous and well-known types of Japanese art. Ukiyo-e prints are known for their mass production, wide appeal, and depiction of ephemeral moments in time in a detailed, line-based style conductive to printing.

Todoroki is inspired by this tradition, including renowned ukiyo-e painter Utagawa Kuniyoshi, who typically employed a distorted and exaggerated style, filling his characteristic prints with humor, charm, and expression bursting out of the ukiyo-e frame. Todoroki emulates Utagawa’s wealth of expression, originality, and design skill, embodying this spirit through paintings of cars and other vehicles of the present era. This may give Todoroki’s creations the feeling of pop art, but each painting perpetuates the tradition and flow of Japanese fine art.

Todoroki Tomohiro graduated from Kobe Design University and was the first Asian artist to hold a solo exhibition at the Museo Mille Miglia in Brescia, Italy in 2013. Todoroki has also exhibited at the Toyota Automobile Museum (Aichi, Japan), the Italian National Automobile Museum (Turin, Italy), at Seibu Department Stores in Japan, and at many art fairs and festivals. In 2017, Todoroki painted FIAT 500s for Majani, Italy’s oldest chocolate maker, for special edition packaging.