Backwoods Gallery
More than a gallery


Backwoods Gallery artist TWOONE. Hiroyasu Tsuri aka TWOONE, is a Japanese artist, know for his Painting, sculpture, installation, and extra large size public murals, currently live and work in Berlin. Inspired initially by his experiences within the skateboarding and graffiti culture in his youth, Hiroyasu’s style has since evolved into an amalgam of his experiences living abroad and interest in fine, urban, and sculptural art. After moving to Melbourne, Australia in his late teens, where language was an obstacle, Hiroyasu utilized is art as his primary means of expression. With his unique combination of elements derived from nature, animals, abstract shapes, and color to create his art, Hiroyasu has garnered international recognition for his exhibtions in galleies & museums world wide, as well as his striking large scale public murals, often inspired by the local fauna and flora.


twoone, Hiroyasu tsuri

Hiroyasu Tsuri (釣 博泰 Tsuri Hiroyasu, Born 26 February 1985 in Yokohama, Japan) is a Japanese contemporary artist who’s work stands out for its embodiment of hybridity. It blurs polarities such as East and West, studio practice and street art, representation and abstraction. He is also well known as TWOONE for his large scale mural works around the world. 

In 2003 after graduating high school in Yokohama, Tsuri moved to Melbourne, Australia. Due to his limited English at the time, when arriving in Melbourne he used skateboarding and graffiti as a means to become acquainted with the city. Art became a primary means of expression and with his unique style, Tsuri soon became a well-known fixture in the Melbourne's street art scene.

After completing a Diploma of Visual Art and Multimedia in 2012, Tsuri became familiar with multimedia arts and expanded his formal knowledge and practice. Later that year he held his major first solo exhibition ‘1000 Can Show’. Over the past 6 years, Tsuri has garnered strong international recognition and has exhibited his versatile and unique artwork in galleries and museums across the globe. His diverse practice spans many genres, including painting, drawing, sculpture, site specific installation, performance, sound and large scale outdoor murals.

Tsuri travels constantly, producing large scale public artwork. Some of his most notable works include; 'T Hoekje' (2018) at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, 'Pas d' hivernage' (2018) Lieusaint, France, 'Sumac Golden Gater Snake' (2018)Toronto, Canada, 'Street Dreamscape' (2017) in Victoria, Australia; 'Cestlaquenousappartenons' (2016) in Cran Montana, Switzerland, 'Kloster Straße Dreamscape’ (2014) in Berlin, Germany; and 'Grand Lane' (2012) in Perth, Australia. 

Since 2014 Tsuri has been based in Berlin, where he continues to experiment with materials and mediums and push his practice further. His prized artwork has been acquired by The National Gallery of Victoria and by the City of Yarra, as part of their permanent collections. 

Exhibitions by Twoone

2016, 100 faces

Through quick contours and eccentric sketches, TWOONE documents his experiences and interactions with people around the globe. Departing from the abstract symbolism as seen in his prior exhibitions, TWOONE now captures the diverse landscape of humanities psyche. The body of work, 100FACES, came to fruition through close studies of sculptures, fellow artists, contemporary cultural icons, and chance encounters. Going beyond directly representing his world, he taps into the psychological landscapes of his environment. Through his emotive style, he successfully depicts the essence of the individual, and further considers his own thoughts about the future of humanity.

Based on his instinctual perception, TWOONE considers these studies of 100FACES as metaphysical, psychological portraits. To provide a deeper description of each personality, his compositions utilize symbolism and expressive technique. Depending on the nature of each person, TWOONE references timeless symbolic representations of animals to expand upon the dichotomy of the physical and spiritual aspects within each individual in relation to nature.

To explore more deeply the structure and complexity of portraiture, TWOONE experiments with various techniques of composition and medium. He combines the systematic technique of western oil painting with the spontaneous approach of Japanese ink calligraphy. He remains faithful to his original practice of street art and graffiti as the medium of many portraits include aerosol— along with acrylic, watercolour, graphite and ink. Through this experimental, yet minimal approach, he is successful in rendering dynamic, yet realistic portraits.

Skulls are a reoccurring symbol TWOONE uses as he reflects on humanity. By stripping away the external layers of skin, ideology, nationality, and individuality, he excavates the commonality within all people—mortality. Looming over this collection of 100 portraits is a triptych titled Bright Future. While TWOONE is usually vague about the symbolism in his work, his intention with this piece is to provide a prophecy of the two paths humanity could venture down in the future. A central theme of a human skull flanked by two horses. One representing conquest with a laurel wreath, the other chained by weapons, ammunition and barbed wire, representing war. Layered upon the central skull lies an outline of a two headed eagle alluding to civilisation.

In a world of continuous progress, globalisation, discrimination, conflict, and political unrest, this piece, Bright Future, provides commentary on the two possible outcomes of the future of mankind as a whole— neither being very ideal. Although Bright Future offers a fatalistic and pessimistic prediction for the future, when viewed in context of the 100FACES, TWOONE is referencing the parallel roles of the collective and the individual. Ultimately, hope and beauty arise from the spectrum in which humanity is portrayed within the collection.

2014, Outsiders

With a vivid pink nimbus surrounding its head, Hiroyasu Tsuri’s (TWOONE) ‘X-ray of a preying mind’ prompt us to reflect upon the sun-god of the Egyptian pantheon, Ra. Ra, a man with the head of a hawk, was the King of the Gods and patron to the pharaohs, and considered by many as the universal creator. As with modern civilisations, prehistoric cultures linked animals with aspects of humanity. The hawk, a bird of prey, ruled the air and therefore became a symbol for the sun. Important too were the lion, whose mane held the colours of solar rays, and the ram, whose spiraling horns represented the waxing of the sun’s strength.

That there is religious iconography present in his work at all is somewhat of a misnomer as TWOONE has long considered his hybrid creatures to be ‘psychological portraits’, a reflection of the inner characteristics of a particular being, rather than a direct mythological or religious position. Yet the very nature of his portraits, with their spherical halos, their sun discs and their triumphant postures, recalls the emotionally charged art of The Renaissance and Baroque periods.

In his formative years in Japan, reference material came by the way of National Geographic magazines, which perhaps accounts for the ties to these deities, but what has shaped TWOONE’s immediately recognisable figures over the course of his career is his commitment to understanding the limits of the materials with which he works in order to progress his mark-making. His compulsion to push a medium - any medium - sets him apart from the majority of his contemporaries. He had to establish himself after moving from Japan to Australia in 2004, and reestablish himself again since relocating to Germany at the end of 2013. As an outsider in each of these countries, where language has always been an obstacle, TWOONE has turned to his art practice into his voice.

With the introduction of Perspex and fluorescent light in this series, TWOONE has again discovered a new process by which to define his subjects. His treatment of paint on the Perspex surface is in stark contrast to that on his canvases. Working in reverse, TWOONE builds up the paint before pushing, pulling and wiping it away to reveal the image. It has required him to be more physically instinctive and responsive than ever before. It has also left a lot to chance, particularly the tonal range left by a smudge or a scrape that could never be completely controlled and is only revealed in full under the fluorescent lighting. As they glow beyond the outer edges of the frame, these paintings appear to not only to mimic an x-ray in their skeletal framework, but to again fortify the ties to sun gods of light and warmth as radiating beings.

Be it through his large-scale wall works, his deftly crafted ceramic busts or his prolific painting practice, TWOONE’s distinctive take on humanity and the animal kingdom is profound. It is conceivable that TWOONE is intentionally recording these figures as creatures to be worshipped, much like the deities of ancient civilisations. It is also possible that these works are in fact a subconscious, spiritual belief played out through his art practice. Whatever the case may be, TWOONE is an artist resisting categorisation.

2013, Define nothing

Hiroyasu Tsuri describes his work as “psychological portraits and metaphorical landscapes”; subconscious observations and inverted dreams represented with earthy expressionism.

He states that his goal isn’t to express a definable message through his work, but rather to capture the contemplative musings that defy definition, moments which speak of something deeper and more universal and which disappear before they are realised.

Hiroyasu gained his fame on the streets under the name TWOONE, a prolific alter ego which has dominated the Australian landscape over the past decade. Recently, Hiroyasu’s increased focus on his studio work has allowed him to find a new audience for his vision, exhibiting his work in major galleries across the Australia.

This July, Hiroyasu will return to Backwoods Gallery with “Define Nothing” a collection
of philosophical contemplations by one of Australia’s hardest working and most ambitious young artists.


2012, Seven Samurai

A true masterpiece, be it painting, music or cinema, invites its audience into a hidden universe of symbolism, calling for the exploration of its nuanced subtlety and in return rewarding with insight into the artist’s heart and mind. As individual experience and interpretations add to this universe, the resulting cultural dialogue builds a mythology that deepens and extends its original intent.

Japanese born Hiroyasu Tsuri, also known as street artist TWOONE, explores these ideas in work that contributes a unique contemporary insight into one of the greatest and most influential films ever made, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.

The new collection of seven large scale works explores the psyche of each of the film’s seven protagonists: Katsushiro Okamoto, the young untested samurai, struggles with an undefined foe: his right hand tearing at a piece of the void, his muscles tense as he wrestles. A hint of a jawbone suggests the true nature of the invisible wraith.

“Within us all there is a battle,” says TWOONE. “The form of fighting and the ferocity is what defines us.”

TWOONE’s work is informed by the Nietzschean dichotomy and Western psychology synthesized with Zen philosophy and aesthetics. It presents a tense yet profoundly poetic interpretation of Kurosawa’s characters that echo the resounding and continuing impact of the original film.

TWOONE arrived in Melbourne during the early 2000’s and instantly became an integral part of the “street art explosion” dominating the cultural landscape of Melbourne at the time.

As the fervor mellowed and the street art scene matured, TWOONE emerged as one of Australia’s most promising young artists, transcending the boundaries of the street and establishing himself securely in the world of fine art.

Projects by Twoone