FEM­I­NIST ICONS IN­SPIRE ART

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - LIFESTYLE - Sara Fitzpatrick

A FESTIVITY of fem­i­nism, colour and ex­trav­a­gance collide in Johnny Romeo’s lat­est art­works.

The Pure Hero­ine ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tures 20 iconic women of his­tory – from Lara Croft to Princess Di­ana – to­gether with Romeo’s trade­mark fer­vour for con­tro­versy, graf­fiti, comics and rock ’n’ roll.

“In 2014 there was a Rus­sian punk band, Pussy Riot, who were jailed for their views and an­tics and I thought at the time: ‘What a re­ally cool name and theme for a show’, so I did a show on that in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and it sold out im­me­di­ately,” the Syd­neysider said.

“Then in 2015, I showed in New York and de­cided to do an­other show based on women called An­gry Birds, and again that was very suc­cess­ful.

“So push­ing for­ward, last year – I di­vide my­self be­tween LA and Syd­ney and ex­hib­ited right across Amer­ica – I’m in Penn­syl­va­nia, which is pre­dom­i­nantly Trump ter­ri­tory, and we were just about in the elec­tions and I wit­nessed this re­ac­tion to him, which was re­ally amaz­ing and I was caught up in the hys­te­ria.

“I no­ticed there was this new sweep­ing fem­i­nist men­tal­ity that seemed to take over Amer­ica and I thought it was in­cred­i­ble and I’d like to do a show about the empowerment of women and look at iconic, pow­er­ful women in the world and make it a pos­i­tive thing.”

The third part of his fem­i­nist art in­stal­ment, Pure Hero­ine (the ti­tle taken from Lorde’s de­but al­bum), is on show now in the city.

“It was a mat­ter of pick­ing just 20 iconic women in my life and then work­ing from there,” Romeo said.

“There’s Bey­once, Won­der Woman, Cat­woman – I could have gone on for­ever.”

Romeo said his in­ten­tion from an early age was to spread colour and love and make peo­ple happy through art.

“The fact that vi­sion has trans­lated it­self glob­ally and on a larger scale is ex­cit­ing and it also fits in with the whole burst of so­cial me­dia,” he said.

“My work ap­pears ev­ery sin­gle day in some mag­a­zine in some coun­try around the world and that isn’t nec­es­sar­ily be­cause they know my work, it’s so­cial me­dia.

“It ap­pears in a blog, a mag­a­zine and some­one con­tacts me to run it in a pub­li­ca­tion and a band will con­tact me like Blink 182 and ask if they can use it and Lexus will call me and ask whether they can use my art for a car, and the list goes on.

“That’s the power of so­cial me­dia and the power of our times.”

Johnny Romeo’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion draws on iconic women.

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