BOOGIE STREET is an exciting retrospective featuring select original paintings and new sculptures by internationally acclaimed Australian Pop painter Johnny Romeo. Coinciding with Tasmania’s premier music, arts and culture festival DARK MOFO, BOOGIE STREET offers audiences an electrifying insight into Romeo’s visual Pop journey, and a scintillating glimpse into the future direction of his work. The exhibition also sees Romeo championing fellow artists, as he introduces the works of Pennsylvania-based painter and close friend Kurt Herrmann.
The retrospective brilliantly showcases the evolution of Australia’s leading Pop artist over his illustrious, decade-long career. Lovingly hand-selected by Penny Contemporary, Johnny Romeo’s BOOGIE STREET draws on paintings from the artist’s personal studio and overseas collections from 2008 – 2017. BOOGIE STREET is a testament to Romeo’s uncanny ability to push the Pop envelope into thrilling new terrain, veering from the rawness of Romeo’s earlier gritty, graffiti-punk stylings to the chic Neo-Expressionist Technicolour Pop bombast of his later works.
Since busting on to the Australian art scene in 2007, Johnny Romeo has become an international force to be reckoned with, creating vital, highly kinetic Pop paintings with a rambunctious punk edge. Romeo gleefully appropriates Pop icons, brand name imagery and popular music, mish-mashing Mohammed Alis and Ned Kellys with the braggadocio of hip-hop lyrics to reconfigure beloved icons into bold, satirical visions of a Pop-obsessed world. Much like the title of the exhibition, there is an irrepressible boogie and swagger to Romeo’s inimitable Neo-Expressionist Pop style. The retrospective illustrates Johnny Romeo’s fascinating progression in balancing imagery and text in his paintings, as he moves from the Basquiat-esque acid-jazz squall of his late 2000’s paintings into the funky, rhythmic punchiness that has come to define many of his recent bodies of work.
BOOGIE STREET is as much an insight into the past as it is a window into the future. Johnny Romeo continues his bold venture into fresh new territory with his addition of neon-nightmare wall sculptures, a shift he began experimenting with in his 2016 Brisbane show WASTELAND. The disembodied perspex portraits resemble the withering surfaces of billboards from a post-Pop dystopia, a surreal simulacra of advertisements as filtered through Romeo’s sugar-rush Pop lens. Inspired by Jeff Koons’ recreation of kitsch everyday objects, Romeo’s sculptures interrogate notions of authorship and mass-production both in his own practice and the world of Pop culture.
A keen supporter of fellow artists, Johnny Romeo is also excited to introduce audiences to the expressive paintings of Pennsylvania-based artist and dear friend Kurt Herrmann as part of BOOGIE STREET. Living at the foot of the Appalachian mountains, Herrmann’s paintings are gestural, colour-rich observations of regional life in all its beauty, banality and occasional backwardness. Colour is treated as a living force in Hermann’s work, evoking the seasonal changes of rural Pennsylvania with warmth and liveliness. While his provincial musings may seem removed from the hyper speed, urbane Pop of Romeo’s works, Hermann’s pithy observations of Appalachia compliment Romeo’s own propensity for capturing life’s absurdities on canvas.
BOOGIE STREET draws deep from Johnny Romeo’s highly celebrated decade long career, unearthing visual gems old and new to demonstrate his mastery of the Pop format. Full of Romeo’s signature colour explosions, brazen imagery and razor sharp wit, the series is a captivating glimpse into the mind of Australia’s King of Pop, while shining a glorious new light on new directions and unseen talent.
Johnny Romeo | BOOGIE STREET | Paintings & Sculptures @pennycontemporary Hobart, Australia | June 9th – July 3rd 2017.
Opening reception with Artist: FRIDAY June 9th 2017 @ 5:30-7pm @ Penny Contemporary, Hobart.
187 Liverpool Street, Hobart, TAS, 7000.
Any enquiries regarding Johnny Romeo’s BOOGIE STREET can be made directly through Penny Contemporary (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling the gallery on +61 3 6231 5655.
Johnny Romeo featured in today’s Perth SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE (Sunday 4th June 2017), pages 14 & 15.
PURE HEROINE is the triumphant latest series from internationally acclaimed Pop artist Johnny Romeo. Following up from his celebrated and sell-out 2016 show WHEN WE RULED THE WORLD at Linton & Kay Galleries, Romeo returns to Perth in a blaze of glory, delivering an electrifying, neon-drenched celebration of women that sees the leading force in Australian Pop art deliver his strongest works to date.
Inspired by the new wave of Feminism that has swept the world, especially post-Trump, the series captures the gutsiness and defiance of iconic, independent women who smash through glass ceilings and refuse to remain silent in a hostile, male-dominated world. PURE HEROINE is the third instalment in Romeo’s ‘Women Series’, and acts as the spiritual sister to his critically renowned, female-centred exhibitions PUSSY RIOT (Alice Springs, 2014) and ANGRY BIRDS (New York, 2015).
Drawing its title from the 2013 debut album from Kiwi pop star Lorde, PURE HEROINE is a bold and unapologetic celebration of women at their most fearless and rebellious. The series bursts at the seams with vibrant explosions of confectionary-sweet Technicolour hues that speak to the spirit and dynamism of strong women kicking against the constraints of society.
A lifelong fan of film, Johnny Romeo imbues his latest paintings with a truly larger-than-life, cinematic quality. Romeo’s monumental pastel portraits of tragic artistic spirits and leading ladies are slick and unswervingly confident, evoking the classic posters of Old Hollywood as re-envisioned through his garish Neo-Expressionist Pop lens. Meeting the stare of the audience head-on, Romeo’s rollicking renditions of iconic women such as Audrey Hepburn and Princess Leia subvert the male gaze, the stillness of their poses signifying a resolute demand to be respected. By honing in on the faces of his subjects, Romeo has captured fiery femmes at their most intimate and confrontational, refusing to be ignored as they occupy the centre stage of the canvas.
Johnny Romeo’s cinematic approach to composition is also taken to glorious new heights through his depictions of commanding comic book vixens and Pop culture sirens. Evoking the headstrong, femme fatales of Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’, Romeo’s rambunctious take on characters such as Harley Quinn and Catwoman teeter between beauty and brutality, recalling the intensity of Grindhouse mavens in the tense moments before all hell breaks loose. Romeo’s cartoon Amazons are in complete control of their bodies, their sexuality, their identities, and are painted with a deliberate stillness and in exaggerated, majestic poses that highlight their sense of power and self-assuredness.
Punchy, rhythmic text assemblages and clever wordplay are employed to great effect in PURE HEROINE. Romeo cleverly subverts rhetoric often used to objectify women into epithets of female empowerment, infusing each of his works with a hooky, anthemic feel that conjures the spirit of the riot grrrl movement. This can be seen in the work ‘Vest Noir’, which skilfully turns our hyper-sexualised perceptions of Marilyn Monroe on their head. The slight shift in text from ‘frisky’ to ‘risky’ transforms the entire tenor of the work, re-contextualising Marilyn Monroe into a risk-taking pioneer of Girl Power who embraced sexual liberation on her own terms.
PURE HEROINE is an incendiary and unapologetic shot of Neo-Expressionist Pop adrenaline that rails against the system with unrelenting passion and undeniable attitude. Brimming with Romeo’s most anthemic imagery and explosive colour arrangements yet, the series is a bold and vibrant statement that envisions a world of Pop culture in which the future is female.
Johnny Romeo | PURE HEROINE | New Paintings @ Linton & Kay Galleries, Perth, Australia.
May 27th, 2017 – June 25th, 2017.
Opening reception with Artist: Thursday 1st June, 2017 | 6-8pm @ Linton & Kay Galleries, Perth.
The Old Perth Technical School – Level 1 / 137 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000.
Any enquires regarding Johnny Romeo’s PURE HEROINE can be made directly through Linton & Kay Galleries (email@example.com) or by calling the gallery on +61 8 6465 4314.
Johnny Romeo’s work will feature in the upcoming SIGNS OF THE TIME exhibition at the Gold Coast City Gallery / The Arts Centre Gold Coast, Australia.
Official Opening Night – Friday 17th February, 2017 @ 6-8pm.
The exhibition runs from 18th February – 9th April, 2017.
Johnny Romeo featured in the latest issue of NO CURE Magazine (Issue 13 – Almost Famous). Pages 58 – 63.
GHETTO SUPERSTAR$ is the glorious new exhibition from critically acclaimed Australian Pop painter Johnny Romeo. Australia’s King of Pop returns to Sydney with his most dazzling and accomplished collection of works to date, following a stellar year selling out major shows across Australia and the US, and a celebrated collaboration with leading American snowboard company Gilson Boards. Dripping with immense swagger, the series sees Romeo gleefully capture the energy and bravado of old school hip-hop and ‘the hustle’ in his undeniably unique Neo Expressionist Pop style. A kaleidoscopic sugar rush of explosive colours and powerful Pop imagery, GHETTO SUPERSTAR$ is a potent statement of intent from Australia’s leading Pop artist.
The series cleverly explores the notion of ‘the hustle’, of ordinary individuals elevating themselves into the realm of the extraordinary by striving to make their mark in a hostile world. Romeo’s robust renditions of iconic legends such as Muhammed Ali, Prince and Frida Kahlo smoulder with an uncompromising resilience and unwavering intensity that evokes the spirit of hardened rappers staring death in the face. Cowboys and comic book antiheroes such as Deadpool dominate the visual plain, tearing through the canvas with the unbridled ferocity of embattled mavericks fighting to forge their destinies in an unforgiving concrete jungle. There is an irrepressible vitality and confidence that courses through Johnny Romeo’s latest series, as his highly stylised, graphic line-work strikes the perfect balance between Pop sheen and urban grittiness.
The frenetic commotion and liveliness of the hustle plays a major role in Johnny Romeo’s approach to colour in GHETTO SUPERSTAR$. Romeo’s latest paintings masterfully display his life-long fascination with colour as a living, breathing force, as he conjures hyper-saturated neon hues that simmer with a vibrant, intoxicating POP exuberance. Inspired by Baz Luhrmann and Nas’ smash hit Netflix series, ‘The Get Down’, Romeo’s brazen Technicolour explosions encapsulate both the frenzied struggle and vivid nightlife of the late 1970’s Bronx in which the show is set. Expressive swathes of pastel hues splash across the canvas, reflecting the restless potential of New York, while concentrated bursts of bubblegum pinks and candy-coated blues recall the dangerous allure of seedy discotheques and freshly graffitied alleyway walls.
Influenced by the self-assured street swag of classic hip-hop, the series sees Romeo at his most punchy and visually immediate. Johnny Romeo’s masterful fusion of graffiti art and text hits hard, as pithy word assemblages skitter across iconic Pop imagery with the rhythmic assault of seasoned verbal assassins. Taking its title from the 1998 Pras Mitchell/Mya/ODB rap hit of the same name, GHETTO SUPERSTAR$ re-appropriates the lingua franca of rap to create psychedelic Pop visions where even the brightest stars first find their feet on the mean streets.
Renowned for his pitch black humour, the series sees Johnny Romeo’s signature wit honed to a razor-sharp edge. Romeo gleefully reconfigures our perceptions of beloved childhood icons, juxtaposing imagery with cheeky wordplay to transform characters such as Peter Rabbit into wise-cracking street swindlers. This is taken to uproarious heights in the work ‘Silver Starry’. Through pairing the innocence of Disney’s Alice with the words ‘Steady Flow’, Romeo invites the audience to reconsider Alice as an urban MC inhabiting a tough world where the fantastical imaginings of Lewis Carol are eschewed for the rough rhyme-slinging of the Bronx in the late 1970’s.
GHETTO SUPERSTAR$ is a truly knockout exhibition that sees Australia’s King of Pop take his hip-hop inflected, Neo-Expressionist Pop stylings to epic new heights. An electrifying collision of acid drenched Technicolour hues, unapologetic Pop sleekness and B-boy cool, the series is a bombastic homage to the dreamers, the fighters, the pioneers of this world – those who stayed true to themselves and went on to become true ghetto superstars.
Opening reception with Artist: Friday 2nd December 2016 @ 7:00-8:30pm
Harvey Galleries, 842 Military Road, Mosman, NSW 2088, Australia.
Ph: +61 2 9968 2153
RSVP to attend the opening of GHETTO SUPERSTAR$ is essential.
RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any enquires regarding Johnny Romeo’s GHETTO SUPERSTAR$ can be made directly through Harvey Galleries (email@example.com) or by calling the gallery on +61 2 9968 2153
Exhibition Dates: 2nd December – 16th December 2016.
LINCOLN : THE FREEDOM SERIES is the thrilling new collaborative exhibition between internationally acclaimed Australian pop artist Johnny Romeo and leading US-based snowboard company Gilson Boards. Drawing on the iconic imagery of America’s most beloved president, Abraham Lincoln, the exhibition brings together original Romeo paintings and four custom-made boards that seek to connect the worlds of fine art and snowboarding culture. Bursting at the seams with Romeo’s exhilarating Neo-Expressionist Pop stylings, the series is a gloriously colourful reimagining of both Lincoln and the traditional snowboard from Australia’s King of Pop.
Inspired by the legacy and symbolism of Abraham Lincoln, LINCOLN : THE FREEDOM SERIES is an electrifying celebration of freedom in all its forms. The freedom to innovate and create lies at the heart of the Gilson x Romeo collaborative exhibition, showcasing boards that fuse Gilson’s cutting edge design with rambunctious, Technicolour renditions of Old Abe. Exhibited as artworks, the Gilson x Romeo Freedom boards capture Romeo and Gilson’s ambition to break down the barriers between the gallery space and the snow slopes. The drive to push snowboarding culture into new and exciting terrain pays homage to the very pioneering spirit that has made Abraham Lincoln the immortalised icon of freedom that he is today.
In true Johnny Romeo fashion, vivacious bursts of bubblegum hues meld seamlessly with slick, graphic line-work and an energetic street-art aesthetic to create refreshingly fun renditions of Old Abe. Uncompromisingly Pop and boldly playful, Romeo’s Abraham Lincoln reflects the influence of the classic skateboard designs of his youth, while channeling the adrenaline-rush of carving down snow-slopes at warp speed. This same commitment to thrill seeking and the joys of facing the unknown informs Gilson’s intrepid approach to snowboard design, and their perpetual pursuit of the perfect ride.
Johnny Romeo tempers the playfulness of his Pop-inflected Abraham Lincoln with a subtle stoicism. There is a piercing quality to Lincoln’s gaze as it meets the onlooker head-on. The paintings and board designs are imbued with an emotional gravitas that balances austerity with triumph, and bridges the gap between Lincoln the legendary icon and Lincoln the all-too-human individual.
Romeo’s expressive and lively take on Abraham Lincoln also touches on the universal resonance that the revered president has taken within the world of Pop culture. As a leading Australian Pop artist painting iconic American imagery on American boards, Johnny Romeo’s status as an ‘outsider looking in’ speaks to our broader understanding of the president as a symbol of freedom within the fabric of the global Pop lexicon. Both the paintings and snowboards on show cleverly reflect Abraham Lincoln’s metamorphosis from American historical figure to universal Pop icon.
LINCOLN : THE FREEDOM SERIES is a fresh, vibrant and bombastic reinterpretation of classic Abraham Lincoln iconography from two of the most exciting forces in global Pop art and snowboards. A perfect alchemy between Gilson’s innovative approach to design and Romeo’s inimitable Neo-Expressionist Pop imagery, the series sees Australia’s leading Pop artist take his work in an exhilarating new direction.
Opening reception with Artist: Friday 4th November 2016 | 6-9pm @ Converge Gallery, Williamsport.
140 West 4th St, Williamsport, Pennsylvania 17701, USA.
Any enquires regarding Johnny Romeo’s LINCOLN : THE FREEDOM SERIES can be made directly through Converge Gallery (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling the gallery on +1 570-435-7080.
Exhibition Dates: 4th November – 26th November 2016.
Johnny Romeo | AMERICAN WOMAN | Paintings
Aanala Art Advisory, Melbourne, Australia.
AMERICAN WOMAN is the exciting new exhibition from internationally acclaimed Pop painter Johnny Romeo. The exciting ten piece series brings together thrilling Johnny Romeo works from American galleries and museums that have never before been seen by Australian audiences.
This exciting body of work will be exhibited for one night only, at the exclusive premises of the AUSIN GROUP in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, Friday the 14th of October, 6-8pm.
RSVP to Michael Powe (Director, Anala Art Advisory) for this exclusive one night only event.
M: 0452 586 448
E : email@example.com
JOHNNY ROMEO X GILSON BOARDS COLLABORATION
Internationally acclaimed Australian Pop painter Johnny Romeo is proud to announce his exciting collaboration with leading US-based snowboard company Gilson Boards. The GILSON X ROMEO boards promise to shake-up the snowboarding world, fusing Romeo’s electrifying Neo-Expressionist Pop imagery with Gilson’s cutting edge approach to innovative snowboard design. With thrilling Abraham Lincoln and skull-board designs set for the US and New Zealand markets, the GILSON X ROMEO collaboration is a forward-thinking endeavour that seeks to bring the world of fine art into snowboarding culture.
Gilson Boards is a snowboarding company with a simple mission – to build boards that are ‘more fun to ride.’ The pursuit of the perfect ride lies at the heart of what Gilson does, driving the company to use the latest advancements in modern technology to create boards that are truly state of the art. Based in the Appalachian foothills of rural Pennsylvania, Gilson works closely with the local community, using locally-grown and sustainably harvested materials to honour the woodworking heritage of their region. The combination of artistry and innovation, groundbreaking design and communal craftsmanship is what sets Gilson apart as a force to be reckoned with in contemporary snowboarding.
The GILSON X ROMEO limited edition skull boards represent a perfect alchemy between Johnny Romeo’s bombastic Neo-Expressionist Pop visions and Gilson’s inspired approach to smart snowboarding design. With its sleek engineering and intoxicating blend of Grindhouse imagery, Technicolour explosions and tongue-in-cheek black humour, the skull boards capture the exhilarating thrill of hurtling down a snow-capped mountain at breakneck speeds. Laughing in the face of fear and the unknown, Romeo’s acid-drenched neon skull designs reflect Gilson’s intrepid and pioneering commitment to ‘the ride.’
Drawing on the iconic imagery of America’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, the GILSON X ROMEO Freedom snowboard series embodies the very essence of its namesake. Bold bubblegum colours and rollicking Pop renditions of Old Abe meld seamlessly with pioneering board design to create a multi-sensory celebration of freedom in all its forms – the freedom to conquer terrain, the freedom to live life to its fullest, the freedom to innovate, the freedom to create. The Freedom boards will be exhibited as a series of artworks, capturing Romeo and Gilson’s bold vision of connecting the snow slopes to the gallery space.
Motivated by a mutual desire to push the envelope of their respective crafts, the GILSON X ROMEO collaboration ventures into exciting new terrain through bridging the worlds of fine art and snowboarding. Romeo and Gilson hope to change the way we perceive snowboarding culture by developing boards for the purpose of being both ridden and displayed in a gallery setting, thereby opening up our understanding of snowboarding as not just a sport, but also as art. This approach cleverly compliments Johnny Romeo’s own desire to transform art into the everyday and insert his works into the very world of Pop culture that he confronts in his paintings.
The GILSON X ROMEO collaboration is an exhilarating and refreshing take on snowboards that is a truly inspired meeting of kindred spirits. A unique blend of Romeo’s vibrant Neo-Expressionist punchiness and Gilson’s dynamic approach to design, the collaborative boards take snowboarding culture into fascinating new directions, while showcasing the work of Australia’s leading Pop artist in a gloriously new light.
To order this board:
Use the code JR2016 for the limited edition purchase.
US Phone: +1 (570) 798-9102
Following celebrated and sold-out shows in Australia and the US, internationally acclaimed Australian Pop painter Johnny Romeo returns with his most ambitious and electrifying series yet, WASTELAND. An intoxicating brew of country Western mayhem and gaudy Grindhouse intensity, the series offers audiences an exhilarating romp through Romeo’s twisted Neo-Expressionist Pop visions of the Wild West. WASTELAND sees Australia’s King of Pop take his explosive unique style into exciting new frontiers, incorporating elements of sculpture and strip-mall signage to create a dazzlingly psychedelic assault on the senses.
Death, lust and urban decay abound in Romeo’s anarchic Western sugar-rush, as vintage muscle cars, vicious vixens and long-horned skulls wreak havoc across the canvas in Johnny Romeo’s inimitable graphic style. Old worlds collapse as former friends like Batman and Superman turn against each other in fierce battle, symbols of a bleak Pop dystopia where all sense and meaning has been lost to greed and excess.
The series bursts at the seams with Johnny Romeo’s most expressive colour arrangements to date, confronting the onlooker with a devilishly manic energy. Transforming the brutal, sun-scorched desert of the Western frontier into a neon wasteland of ferocious, acid-drenched hues, Romeo depicts a lawless world where punk rock rogues and sharpshooters run the town. Cowboys and lone rangers share the spotlight with vagrants and barroom bards, each revelling in the ensuing chaos as they build a new world upon the ashes of the old.
Amidst the gleeful mayhem of Johnny Romeo’s Pop wasteland, there is a sense of youthful nostalgia that courses through the series. Comic book icons such as Iron Man and Captain America spring to life on the canvas, bringing to mind the superhero toy figurines of Romeo’s childhood. By re-appropriating nostalgic elements into a contemporary Pop context, Romeo examines our collective loss of innocence, as the heroes of our youth and the captors of our imagination become subsumed into the realm of crass commercialism.
In WASTELAND, nostalgia also ingeniously works its way into Johnny Romeo’s renowned approach to textual arrangements. Drawing inspiration from his own adolescent memories of visiting newsagent comic book stands, the artist’s paintings evoke the larger-than-life covers of classic Golden Age comics. Romeo’s bold word assemblages and bombastic hip hop slogans act like high-impact comic book titles, demanding the audiences’ attention with pithy Pop observations that are as much Run DMC as Stan Lee.
An avid fan of rap music, Johnny Romeo cleverly subverts our associations with comic books and country Western imagery by juxtaposing them with the grittiness of graffiti art and hip-hop. The influence of classic rap can be seen through Romeo’s Pop savvy use of phrases such ‘Dolla Holla’ and ‘Big Poppa’, lending his works a rhythmic punchiness and urban edginess. Johnny Romeo’s series masterfully eschews the earnestness of cartoon heroes for the street-smart swagger of seasoned rappers, creating a spaghetti Western Pop dystopia where the hardened kick-snare of hip hop beats soundtracks the unforgiving wilderness of the new frontier.
Romeo’s thrilling foray into the Wild West also sees the highly celebrated artist venturing into fresh new territory. Wall sculptures of melting celebrity portraits provide a tangible and nightmarishly surreal dimension to the series. Resembling the withering edifices of billboards left to rot in a barren landscape, the sculptures ruminate on the dark recesses of celebrity worship. The addition of Romeo’s strip mall signs reinforce Romeo’s art practice as an active Pop participant as he seeks to further obscure the lines between art and advertising. Inspired by the concrete jungles of LA, the Postmodern mall signs combine celebrity portraiture, household brand names and cheeky word play to offer a bleakly comedic reflection on rampant commercialism and its eroding effects on identity.
WASTELAND is a raucous and rollicking journey through the wild frontiers of Pop culture. Brimming with fiery fields of colour, bare-knuckled urgency and an undeniable punk attitude, Johnny Romeo has a crafted a Neo-Expressionist Pop dystopia where there are no heroes – just pistol-toting desperadoes and has-beens keen to forge a new life as they hurtle towards oblivion. The series sees Australia’s leading Pop artist kick down the bar door of the Pop establishment with the garish swagger of a maverick hell-bent on setting the world ablaze.
Opening reception with Artist: Friday 23rd September 2016 | 6-8pm @ Mitchell Fine Art, Brisbane.
86 Arthur Street, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006.
Any enquires regarding Johnny Romeo’s WASTELAND can be made directly through Mitchell Fine Art (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling the gallery on +61 7 3254-2297
Exhibition Dates: 21st September – 15th October 2016.