With his little pouch of art supplies, Tito creates a whole new experience and perspective of the world. It was fascinating to see his interpretation of his journeys and life experiences in such a colourful, artistic way. Tomasi oozes adventure and dances to the beat of his own drum. May you all be inspired by Tito to live a life of freedom, adrenaline, creativity, and happiness.
Where are you from and how did you get into cycling?
I grew up in Nice, France. This place is amazing for sport and more. My dad was into all kinds of sports, and I was mountain biking already. One day the old guys decided to go on a crazy adventure, where they had to use a WW2 Jeep to shuttle us up in the mountains! My dad took me with him; I was only 10! That moment in the mountains, riding with so many people, marked me forever. I was stoked and amazed to discover a whole new world of possibilities. I haven't left the mountains since. Today I live in Savoy, close to Mt Blanc, which is the perfect spot in between trips.
What type of cyclist would you call yourself? Adventure? Enduro?
Hum ... I don't really like tags. I mean, all my life people have tried to label me, but I actually like biking in a more encompassing way! I enjoy racing enduro, road biking the passes in Savoy, riding for a couple of weeks... but if I had to pick a favourite it would be going with a backpack and having fun for days without thinking of going back!
Sounds amazing! So lets jut settle with "Nomadic all-encompassing lover of two wheels" haha. So, the drawings. Have you always drawn and documented your adventures through art, or is that something that just started developing over time?
Painting and drawing is more a part of me than anything else actually. I was drawing all the time in school, thinking about what I could create and draw next, planning on graffiti... after I graduated I was lucky enough to go to a highly respected art school in France. It was a great experience, but the city life killed me, and I escaped to go travel and surf. I was already traveling and painting before the bike trips, so painting my bike adventures came kinda naturally.
I can't imagine you in a city going to class and sitting at a desk! What materials do you use to paint/draw when you're traveling? Does it differ from what you use at home?
Ya it wasn't for me. On a trip i would use watercolor on paper and technical pens, for the customs with kids I use POSCA markers, they are made of acrylic and are a great present to leave to the kids. Otherwise, my favorite is acrylic on wide canvas, mural with sprays and POSCA.
You seem like a very well balanced person, do you enjoy other activities besides bikes and drawing?
I think I like more surfing than biking, or it's almost impossible for me to choose! Actually I don't need to choose. I decided a long time ago to never let anyone decide for me. What i like the most is being in nature, so if it's covered in snow I would splitboard, I love touring. It is so similar than mountain biking, as I go wherever I want and make the most of the landscape. Being out there, with the views and the calm from of the white world is so good. Surfing is the same, it's being in the ocean, enjoying this different world with a different perspective. And having the adrenaline rushes!
So inspiring. So on a less serious note, lets talk about your awesomely wild hair. Has it always been this long or did you have it grown out so you could be part of the "hot guys with man buns" trend?
Ah ah! Actually when I was a kid my hair was straight but then they changed to become Afro-style! After that I struggled with this curly stuff, I never had the courage to grow it, until one day I stopped giving a fu*k at people's opinion and just let it grow. Now I realize some like it, and some don't, but my only problem is to stuff it in my helmet! ahah
What has been the most influential/inspiring thing on your artwork? (can be an experience or a person/place, anything!)
First inspiration, like many artist or human being, is my own life. So I guess my trips inspire me a lot. It's mostly nature and human-nature that come to life in my paintings. Nature is definitely something I like to express; this perfection is fascinating and with it I like to mix in my own vision. This is the essence of art for me, it's reappropriation.
When you were younger, did you feel pressure to be anything but yourself? If so, what made you finally find your true passions and use them how you are using them now? (in other words, how did you get to this point in your life)?
My parents were really strict but on the other hand they supported me so much in my decisions. My mom listened to me lot. They made me like this: looking at what I wanted and making everything possible to get it. But I think whatever we call my life, the most important decision was not to become an artist or a professional mountain biker. No. This is just words. The biggest decision I have made is to be on the way to freedom. Freedom is my greatest motivation.
You've been to so many amazing places, and have so many great illustrations, have you ever thought of publishing or selling copies your journals?
Actually one year ago I published my first book. « Trail Of Freedom » it's 128 pages on 10 destinations over the last three years, mostly made with paintings and drawings. It is really personal and important; it talks a lot about my own pursuit of happiness and my evolution in the world. As a kid discovering that what we learn is wrong. But this book has only been published in french.
What I didn't know that! Now I feel silly. I'll have to brush up on my French and get a copy. Do you do other artwork besides your journals, if so what and where can we see them?
Canvas, mural, custom on helmets or surfboards, watercolor, ... Sometimes I post it on my website.
Any big plans for 2016?
2016 will be busy, I am doing a web-series with a crew for my major sponsor, Mavic. It's a four episode story around the world. I also develop products with them, and help them on some cool stuff like media launches and adventures. I will also keep racing some crazy adventure races like BC bike race this year. This project called « Epic Races » will be my second book, making a portrait of mountain biking through my races on 5 continents but the book will also be a practical guide. The goal is to inspire and help people to travel and share the stoke! This will be in English.
I'm looking forward to it. If you could tell humanity one thing, what would it be?
Show compassion, give love!