Whilst we were in Austin, we had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Nao Tomii, a Japanese bike builder who works from his home in his well organised workshop garage! Nao Tomii's fascination with bikes, motorcycles, and cars began in his childhood in Japan. His innate talent for drawing these vehicles led him to pursue studies in sculpture in the United States. Graduating in 2000, Nao embarked on a career as a sculptor in Massachusetts, honing his skills in sculpting, mold crafting, restoration work, and casting. His unique sculptures earned him recognition, with his pieces being featured in several galleries around Boston.
In 2006, Nao's life took a new turn as he delved into the world of cycling. Through his newfound passion, he connected with local riders, some of whom were talented frame builders. Inspired by the artistic beauty and craftsmanship of their handmade custom frames, Nao embarked on his own journey into the realm of bicycle frame building. It was during this time that he also established his brand, and creating chain rings that reflected his artistic sensibilities.
For Nao Tomii, frame building transcended mere technical expertise—it became a form of sculptural expression. Drawing upon his sculpting background, he approached each frame as a work of art, infusing it with his unique vision and aesthetic sensibilities. With every weld, tube, and joint, Nao's passion for his craft shone through, creating functional pieces that were also visually captivating.
Nao Tomii's evolution from sculptor to bicycle frame builder is a testament to his artistic growth and unwavering dedication to his craft. With each frame he builds, he leaves a lasting mark on the cycling community, blending his artistic vision with the joy of riding. Nao's journey reminds us of the transformative power of pursuing one's passions and embracing the possibilities of creative exploration.
We enjoyed our few hours with Nao learning about his journey which you can now watch and listen too! See below. His story serves as a reminder to pursue our passions and embrace the transformative power of creativity.