INTROducing: TokyoBombay

9 Jul

When I decided to cease posting on my former blog, I did so with the intent that the next site I created would be more in line with my orginal intent for beginning a blog in the first place. My vision was to create a space that explored and celebrated the creative spirit, finding and posting that which I deemed to be artistic expression in it’s purest form. The only thing more important than art, is the people who create it and the audience for whom they create, and I wanted it to be as much about the people as it was about the art itself.  When I began my journey in blogging I became active on social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook and found myself coming into contact with creators from coast to coast. Entrepreneurs, poets, dancers, designers, writers, painters, singers, and emcees all became part of my network; hungry artiststs, like myself, who took notice of me and reached out, in the hopes that I would notice them too and reach back. I must admit that I became blinded by my own eagerness to gain a following, to compete with the many sites already in existence in the blogosphere garnering more attention than my own. In that state I began to loose focus, I began to overlook the many who had come into my field of vision for  people and things that were a little more ‘high profile’ and would generate more pageviews. I began to conform and needless to say, I couldn’t continue on in that mode of thought for too long.  I told myself that with La Bombe Baby, I would not allow myself to go back to that place and that this time I was going to do it right, do it my way. Enter TokyoBombay. I came across this young man on Twitter after becoming curious about a particular tweet of his urging people to check out his new blog and join and/or support “The Hunger Movement”. I checked it out and immediately felt the pang of recognition one feels when they come into the presence of a kindred spirit. This supremely talented young artist, game developer, fashion designer, AND graphic designer shared a vision very similar to my own. He was sending out a impassioned S.O.S. to all other artists; young, gifted and hungry artists.  He wanted to connect with them, he wanted to put them on, he wanted to claim his place in this world and he wanted his brothers and sisters in arms right by his side. TokyoBombay is a man equipped with a drive and creativity that is as admirable as it is inspiring and he is on a mission that I have no doubt he will fufill to the highest degree. He is the first person that I have had the opportunity to interview for this site and quite frankly I don’t think I could’ve found a more perfect representative of what La Bombe Baby is all about. It is with great pleasure, esteem, and excitement that I introduce to you, TokyoBombay……..

LBB: Alright, brother first off I want to say that I’m very excited to be talking to you right now. You’re “Hunger Movement” is something that I identify very strongly with and I definitely want to delve deeper into that but first things first, introductions. What’s your name, where are you from and what do you represent?

TB: No doubt, that’s what it is…well I go By the Name TokyoBombay and I’m from NYC, the Bronx and Harlem both places I was raised in and I represent that new wave of true talent in both a physical and intellectual aspect. I represent that hunger to get better and all the while wow you with my already present work. I represent a  vicissitude in the art scene to where its time for the old gods of this industry to fall and the new wave of talent to step up. I represent change.

LBB: I know that’s right, that’s a pretty powerful statement. I’m intrigued by the fact that, for you, the expression of your talent manifests both in the physical and intellectual. Can you explain that concept to me a little further, what is your concept of “intellectual talent”?

TB: Well to me its an understanding of the connection (due to the fact that I’m an artist), between the pencil strokes you use and the effect it will have on the eye or just the understanding that there is a lot of manifesting that goes into art.

LBB: Manifesting of ideas, thoughts, emotions and the like?

TB: Yes… exactly

LBB: Okay, I hear that. How did the moniker TokyoBombay come about? Given the fact that you’re from the NY wouldn’t BronxHarlem suit you a little better? What’s the connection?

TB: BronxHarlem…cute[LOL]. The name TokyoBombay came from my love of the Japanese culture and Tokyo itself and being of the fact that I’m afro-american I wanted to include  my nationality in the name but not as blatant. So Bombay does not represent the place but the “Black Cat” which in turn is me. Or “Kat” Rather

LBB: Yeah I did think BronxHarlem was kind of cute[LOL]. So Tokyo”Black Kat” I dig that, nice play on words. What is it about Japanese culture that you find to be the most fascinating. How has your love for the culture impacted and influenced your style, and what are some of the other people, places or things, that have shaped the artist known as TokyoBombay?  Your strongest influences

TB: Wow well growing  up I was a huge wrestling fan but not of the current wrestling scene, but of the early 70s,80s, and 90s NWA, AWA, WCCW type thing, and two of my favorite wrestlers were these Japaneses dudes. One was “The Great Muta and the other was Jushin Thunder Liger and I was amazed by their style and stuff. And my parents who where so cool being that my father owned his own comic book company and was into all the anime ,martial arts and the Japanese culture as well just fed my love and respect for the culture. I was encouraged by my parents to do my research and not only have an admiration for the Japanese culture but to truly understand it as well. Other than that my strongest infulences have to be my father and all the artists at his company who where like my uncles, who fed my hunger for the art culture. Not only that but my pops is one of the pioneers of the hip hop game so I grew up just in that wave of fresh artistic talent. And I’ve been surrounded by people like that ever since, so it’s almost like Art is me and I am Art.

LBB: That’s really dope…It’s funny to find out you’re father owned his own comic book company because when I was looking at some of the work you uploaded on your twitter today I noted that you’re style seemed heavily influenced by comic art and graphic illustration. I was actually going to ask you if you were into comics and graphic novels but I guess it’s safe to assume that you are.

TB: Yes Yes… I’m into all that,but also I grew up around a lot of strong intellectual people who starved my brain for knowledge…Thus I was heavy into the books and just acquiring knowledge about different things, times , people, electronics, video games and all. I wanted to be well rounded so that I could be a dope artist and intellectual figure as well.

LBB: That must have been a truly enriching experience, being surrounded by so much creative and intellectual stimulation. Is your father still active in the comic art community, and what role did he play as a hip hop pioneer, was he an emcee?

TB: Yeah my Father is about to release his first book soon with his company Merge Comics and an independent comic company. And my father is apart of the Zulu nation/ Strong City records wave and went by the name “Master Rob” in the group Ultimate Force alongside Diamond D of Diggin in the Crates and was an emcee. But yeah he is very active in the art scene trying to get his book published on his own.

LBB: Well like you’re father you definitely have that strong energy of  independent entrepreneurship about you which brings me to your “Hunger Movement”. At it’s most basic, it’s all about putting on emerging artists, exposing them and connecting them to one another and ultimately the world at large. In your own words explain to me about this movement and what it means, and why you feel that it is needed.

TB: The Hunger Movement” is what I would like my artistic voyage to be classified as. This movement came about from me just grinding and watching my other talented homeboys grinding to make it in this industry and actually having the talent behind us to make this dream come true. I got tired of waiting for someone else to make some noise about me and decided to scream out myself. Then I realized that a million hungry talented, dedicated, and destined voices  is much louder than one, thus came about me making the blog a showcase for that new wave of talent. I feel strongly that there is a change coming and that change is an artistic Renaissance in which we are apart of.

LBB: Yes,  what you’re  saying almost makes me want to stand up and shout, we are out here and we are hungry. I too feel that a Renaissance is about to come into full bloom because our generation is still figuring ourselves out, we have yet to really make an impression on the world and when we do, it will be something serious. I also think you hit a very important point, a million voices is louder than one. I feel that an artist cannot reach their full potential until they become part of the larger arts community, the spirit of community with the artistic realm is a vital part of our personal growth and expansion in our independent artistic pursuits. I know that the “Hunger Movement” is still in it’s infancy but how have your experiences been with connecting to other artists and bringing the into the movement?  I see you going hard on twitter, do you feel that social networking has been benificial in helping you connect with others because at times, to me, it seems most people on social networks don’t really “network” with others outside of their immediate circles. Do you feel that social networks are still as important as they once were when they first hit the scene?

LBB: I do agree with you on people having true social networking capabilities but still only staying within their immediate circles, but I use Twitter and Facebook in hopes that those who are taking advantage of the whole “social networking” thing gives my art a run by and checks out the blog. I feel that people are starting to crave that sense of “new” and “fresh” and are truly ready to accept a new scene in the art world. With those hopes I continue to use those methods to get the message out about the movement. Plus I believe there are a lot of people who feel the way I do and are ready to rally behind a real movement.

LBB: Now when you talk about wanting to see a change and people craving “fresh” and “new” in the art world, in your opinion what do you think this “newness” is representative of, what do you think that this new wave a talent brings to the table, what do you feel the game is lacking? Integrity, social commentary, experimentation?

TB: The game to me is missing true individuality. And the belief in the fact that your own style can make it without you converting your style into what the mainstream “Pop Art” world is used too. I believe there is enough artistic appreciation out there for people to be able to make it in the industry using their true unfiltered or altered creativity. This new wave of talent that I’m talking about are those of us out there who are daring to really express themselves artistically the way they want and believe that there will be a liking for it..

LBB: I hear that, I believe that individuality is the greatest gift we’ve been given and lately true individuality has given way to a more watered down socially acceptable “uniqueness” that undermines the whole concept of what it means to be unique. In terms of your art how do you express your individuality, in what ways does it color your creative process? In your opinion what makes you and your art unique?

TB: Aww man I describe myself and my style as being “Organized Confusion”. What sets my art apart from a lot of artist is my willingness to allow my mind to take over a melt with the canvas. See I create in a 360 degree motion allowing my ideas to be expressed differently throughout the picture. My mind jumps from one idea to the other and back again so often that when I apply that aspect to my art, there are usually multiple pictures within a single image. I just let my mind go and have fun it. I like to capture the individual and to help allow their imagination to soar when they look at my work and say “hey I see so much and at the same time I see so little. And the effect is done purposelly. I feel that my dedication to detail and just whacked out visions are enough to make someone stand up and take notice.

LBB: Word…. such is life, yin and yang, light and dark, organization and confusion coming together to create perfect balance. My last question for you is this; If you had 30 seconds to say something to every artist from one corner of the earth to the other hungry to make their mark, what would you say?

TB: Individuality is a gift…talent is a gift…drive, perseverance, dedication and heart comes from within. Stand true to your style, your beliefs, and your visions and know that your shit will be liked and better yet appreciated for what it is….a blessing…and all will meld.

Link up: Facebook, Twitter

All artwork and photography by TokyoBombay:

artwork by TokyoBombay


 artwork by TokyoBombay

 artwork by TokyoBombay


artwork by TokyoBombay

artwork by TokyoBombay

artwork by TokyoBombay

artwork by TokyoBombay


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