Internationally acclaimed Australian Pop painter Johnny Romeo makes his triumphant return to Sydney with his thrilling new exhibition, ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. Following a standout year that saw Romeo sell out shows across Australia, New Zealand and the US, and release his 10 year retrospective book Plastic Fantastic, the series showcases Australia’s King of Pop at his most playful and electrifying. Brimming with an undeniable sense of fun and rhythmic vibrancy, ELECTRIC BOOGALOO is a larger-than-life celebration of the pioneering spirit of early hip hop culture that pushes Romeo’s inimitable Neo-Expressionist Pop style to glorious new heights.
Named after the 1982 sequel to ‘Breakdance’, the series pays homage to the intrepid spirit of early hip-hop pioneers, who reconfigured elements of their own Pop reality to create art that was wholly new and original. ELECTRIC BOOGALOO sees Romeo add exciting new flavours to his distinct Neo-Expressionist Pop repertoire, gleefully mashing together eclectic icons ripped from the annals of the Pop canon to playfully subvert our understandings of Pop imagery. Like early DJs grafting disco samples onto hard-hitting drum machine beats, Romeo’s mastery of juxtaposition sees him combine seemingly disparate Pop iconography into some of his most thrillingly absurd and unique takes on Pop culture yet.
Romeo achieves this with hilariously surreal results in the work Dark Cent, in which he depicts a stoic Vincent van Gogh donning a Batman mask. The initially jarring nature of the mash-up gives way to a more nuanced exploration of the tortured anti-hero, a recurring archetype in both art history and comic books. That such deep cultural conversations could be gleaned from such a cheeky rendition of Van Gogh is testament to Romeo’s adeptness at navigating and harnessing the fluidity of Pop icons.
ELECTRIC BOOGALOO features some of Johnny Romeo’s most unapologetically Pop works to date, and bursts at the seams with an irrepressible sense of rambunctious fun. Inspired by the works of Pop Art provocateur Mel Ramos, the series is a hyper-saturated neon celebration of the glorious kitschiness of Pop. Romeo’s chic usage of advertising tropes references Ramos’ tongue in cheek blend of iconic brand names and pin-up imagery, transforming figures such as the Mona Lisa and Popeye the Sailor Man into street-hardened symbols of luxury rap.
In keeping with the frenetic movement and dazzling braggadocio of early breakdancing and hip-hop culture, Romeo imbues his colour arrangements with an insatiable exuberance and energy. High-intensity Technicolour hues and saccharine-sweet tones virtually explode from the canvas, recalling the graffiti streaked subways and vibrant edginess of the Bronx in the early 1980’s. In many ways, Romeo’s vivacious colour arrangements embody the limitless potential and restlessness of young hip-hop artists cutting their teeth on the mean streets of Harlem, hungry to forge new sounds and bust new moves.
Amidst the spirited bubblegum hues and sleek, Pop imagery, ELECTRIC BOOGALOO also reveals Johnny Romeo at his politically brazen and confrontational. The artist delivers rapid fire observations on controversial issues ranging from the Marriage Equality vote to America’s obsession with guns and sexual harassment in Hollywood, all served with Romeo’s signature blend of razor sharp wit and Absurdist gallows humour. The heavily loaded paintings work like Pop culture seismographs, charting shifts and changes in contemporary society with a heavy satirical bent.
Living up to its namesake, there is a serious groove that courses through ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. The slick, bold line-work of Romeo’s icons and the eye-catching punchiness of his textual arrangements perfectly captures the pulsating delivery of break-dancers getting down to the kick-snare thud of bone-rattling hip hop beats. Romeo’s approach to witty stencilled wordplay in particular lends the series a rhythmic heft that imbues each work with catchy visual hooks laden with boisterous double entendres.
Bold, audacious, and delectably irreverent, ELECTRIC BOOGALOO pays tribute to the energy and excitement of the hip-hop underground in the early 1980s. The series is a kaleidoscopic, colour-drenched feast for the senses that gleefully mashes the invigorating, bone-rattling rhythms of rap with the candy-coated sheen of Pop to create Johnny Romeo’s most intoxicating and stridently in-your face works yet.
Opening reception with Artist: Friday 8th December 2017 @ 6:30-8:00pm
Harvey Galleries, 842 Military Road, Mosman, NSW 2088, Australia.
Ph: +61 2 9968 2153
RSVP to attend the opening of ELECTRIC BOOGALOO is essential.
RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any enquires regarding Johnny Romeo’s ELECTRIC BOOGALOO can be made directly through Harvey Galleries (email@example.com) or by calling the gallery on +61 2 9968 2153
Exhibition Dates: 7th December – 17th December 2017.
Internationally acclaimed Australian Pop artist Johnny Romeo is proud to announce that he will be a featured artist for Austin’s premier international art event, POP AUSTIN. Now in its fourth year, POP AUSTIN draws from the worlds of fine art, sculpture, photography, digital art and light-based installation to offer a truly unique showcase of the world’s most exciting artistic talent. As Australia’s leading Pop artist, Romeo brings his inimitable Neo-Expressionist Pop style to a stellar lineup of contemporary art luminaries that includes the likes of YBA bad boy Damien Hirst, iconic street artist Mr Brainwash and Pop Art visionary Jeff Koons.
POP Austin International Art Show | November 9-12, 2017 | Fair Market – Austin, Texas, USA.
THE ARTHOUSE SERIES
Internationally acclaimed Australian Pop painter Johnny Romeo makes his triumphant return to New Zealand with his thrilling new show, THE ARTHOUSE SERIES. The exhibition showcases Romeo’s distinct Neo-Expressionist Pop explosions in all their electrifying Technicolour glory, but with a few tantalising twists. Partnering with Auckland’s 12 Gallery, THE ARTHOUSE SERIES is an entirely commissioned show that will bring clients and collectors up close and personal with Australia’s King of Pop.
On August 31st, 12 Gallery will open its gallery and home space to clients and audiences for the opening night of Romeo’s THE ARTHOUSE SERIES. 12 Gallery is an innovative new art space in Auckland situated on the converted ground floor of a magnificent multi-million dollar home. Renowned for their intimate and exclusive shows, 12 Gallery has exhibited works from notable New Zealand artists such as Tanja Jade McMillan (Misery), Ewan McDougall and Andy Leleisi’uao.
An exhibition with a difference, Romeo and 12 Gallery have invited clients and collectors to commission the artworks they want to be featured in THE ARTHOUSE SERIES. In the show, the artist tackles completely new subject matter alongside iconic Johnny Romeo imagery, all wrought in his undeniably rollicking Neo-Expressionist Pop style. A scintillating brew of comic book nostalgia, celebrity worship and contemporary politics, THE ARTHOUSE SERIES sees Johnny Romeo take on the role of the postmodern visual DJ, working with clients to create bold, unapologetically Pop visions of the contemporary world.
Full of concentrated bursts of pure, unbridled colour and muscular, graphic line-work, THE ARTHOUSE SERIES is classic Johnny Romeo dialled up to eleven. Romeo’s mastery of intense colour and punchy, rhythmic imagery with a street-art edge is in full effect, as Pop icons spring forth from the canvas with irrepressible energy, bolstered by the artist’s penchant for pithy Pop witticisms. Each commission sees Johnny Romeo at the height of his powers, delivering blow after knockout blow of boisterous bubblegum mayhem with gleeful gusto and finesse.
THE ARTHOUSE SERIES bridges the gap between artist and audience in a very special way. On Friday September 1st, clients and collectors will be invited to an exclusive VIP dinner with Johnny Romeo. 12 Gallery will be transformed into an intimate dining experience, followed by an address to the collectors from Romeo himself. The cosy, private set-up acts as the perfect backdrop for the accomplished artist to speak candidly about his work, art-making process, inspirations, and the stories that inform his Pop-obsessed worldview.
THE ARTHOUSE SERIES promises to be a truly unforgettable exhibition, providing clients and collectors the incredible opportunity to not only commission works from Johnny Romeo, but gain a rare and personalised insight into one of Australia’s leading creative minds.
Johnny Romeo | THE ARTHOUSE SERIES | New Paintings @ 12 Gallery Auckland, New Zealand | August 31st – September 26th 2017.
Opening reception with Artist: THURSDAY August 31st 2017 @ 6-9pm @ 12 Gallery
109A Beach Road, Castor Bay, Auckland 0620, New Zealand.
Any enquiries regarding Johnny Romeo’s THE ARTHOUSE SERIES can be made directly through 12 Gallery (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling the gallery on +64 21 501 911.
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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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: email@example.com
Any enquires regarding Johnny Romeo’s GHETTO SUPERSTAR$ can be made directly through Harvey Galleries (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) or by calling the gallery on +1 570-435-7080.
Exhibition Dates: 4th November – 26th November 2016.