Rooo Lou

The power of the empty stare

Rooo Lou was born in Osaka, Japan in 1988. He lives and works in Tokyo.

Career

Rooo Lou began his career by taking commissions on Instagram. He realised there was a demand for caricatures, and started drawing people on request.

Collaborations

In 2021, Rooo Lou designed the 25th anniversary merchandise for Japanese rock band, Asian Kung-Fu Generation.

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

Rooo Lou paints evocative portraits with minimal detail. His figures have no facial features, only dots for eyes to create surprisingly poignant stares. Lou always begins by drawing digitally – a natural impulse given his graphic design roots. After creating thick black outlines, he fills in shapes with colour. The background comes first, and the palette is then decided around that. For texture, he moves from screen to canvas, using acrylics and keeping his brushstrokes visible. The cartoon-like nature of his work is reminiscent of Pop Art.

Rooo Lou's work revolves around the world of fashion. He explains, "I started studying domestic and foreign brands and became aware of how to dress. I was influenced by the illustrations". This shows in both the characters’ poses and their clothes – despite their featureless faces, they maintain their sense of identity through their outfits. Lou also plays on fashion advertising and its ability to conjure up want and longing. He adopts the same visual language so that his paintings walk the line between emptiness and desire.

“My inspiration comes from memories and photographs. I paint people who are significant in both places, in a sense, to depict my reality”Rooo Lou