Ryan-Tômas Is A Master of Symbolism

18 year-old Ryan-Tômas is an artist; an artist with multiple stories to tell.

At first it was somewhat of a hobby, but as I grew older and became more aware of social/worldly issues, it became more of a platform to share my views.”

Ryan shares his vision through minimalistic, black and white digital sketches with simple, yet effective titles that contain stories that reach into your mind and challenge your perception.

“Saturation provides insight into my mind and how I originally perceived my art,” says the young artist when asked why he keeps his pieces colorless, “However, I prefer my art be subjective and connect my audience as much as possible.”

“In my mind, I might see a girl as Asian or Black, but another might see themselves in it — it’s all relative.”

Luckily, to challenge our perception, the young artist has shared a few of his favorite pieces with us. To accompany his thought-provoking works of art, Ryan provided explanations for each piece. Peruse the gallery below.

miss understood
Miss Understood
This is a more recent piece. It’s straightfoward-ness combined with its title (a play on words for misunderstood) suggests that things may not always be as they seem. Contemporarily, many men and women are learning that who they are on the inside may not always be as they seem on the outside. — in short this is a reiteration of the old “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” saying. 

IMG_3537 (0;00;00;00) (21;00;00;00)

The theme of this piece is a subjective one. There is a poem that goes along with it; however, I choose not to give an outright explanation for this piece. Rather, I let the audience make have their own understanding. the poem follows:

I drink because I drink
I drink to drown out the memories
I drink to forget 

to forget that I drink
I drink… because I’m drunk. 

Drug Money
Another of my very first creations, this image insinuates that money, even in its smallest form, can have a large impact and that if collected in excess — as per the one per cent— can be intoxicating, much like a drug. 

Comp 7 (0;00;00;00)
A Slaving Ape

 One of my first pieces, and building on many of my inspirations. in short, this picture suggests that we are all animals, caged and slaving for material gain – thus the “A Bathing Ape” reference. 

IMG_3658 (0;00;10;18)
Strange Fruit
This is addressed to the issue of civil rights, and the recent, violent, and many deaths of black men and women. It remembers those who passed in the early 1900’s to civil rights and nods to the saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” while being influenced by a song from an influential african-american of the civil rights era.

If you like Ryan’s work and want to see more, give him a follow on Twitter where he shares most of his work.


Cut x Sewn Magazine Founder & Creative Director.


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