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The king of colour, Johnny Romeo

He’s the king of colour with a penchant for all things pop, and internationally acclaimed Australian artist Johnny Romeo is turning heads around the globe with his electrifying collision of rock’n’roll swagger, comic book aesthetics and street art style.

Described by GQ Magazine as ‘part punk, part pop’ Johnny is celebrated for exploring the influence of celebrity icons and brand-name heroes on our contemporary identity with his proclivity for explosive colour paired with urban grittiness.

We sat down with Johnny on a recent visit to Perth ahead of the opening of his latest exhibition, ROCK IS DEAD at Linton & Kay Galleries to find out just what makes his technicolor mind tick.

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WHAT IS THE KEY TO THROWING A GREAT PARTY?

Best to never throw one! Give the impression that your parties are the bomb!!! The legend will grow and before you know it…. they’re talking about you like you’re Jay Gatsby!

WHAT DRINKS SHOULD I SERVE?

Espresso martinis. I’ve just recently got into them and think they’re pretty cool.

WHAT TRACKS SHOULD BE ON MY PARTY-STARTING PLAYLIST?

Start the night with some Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five… or an old school 80’s Electro Boogie / Hip Hop mix tape.

WHAT IS THE BEST HANGOVER CURE?

Crossfit and the ‘Work Out of The Day’ at 6:30am.

HOW CAN I KEEP MY COOL WHEN MEETING A CELEBRITY?

Don’t get too excited. Don’t come across as being too enthusiastic or thrilled. Just be yourself and connect as people…as equals.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO COMPLETE A PAINTING?

Approximately 70 hours.
5 hours a day for 7 days a week for 2 weeks.

WHAT IS THE BEST COLOUR? WHY?

I adore yellow, mainly because it’s so bright and energizing. It’s definitely one of my favourite colours. It really does generate mental activity in people.

WHAT ARTISTS SHOULD I HAVE IN MY COLLECTION AND WHO IS IN YOURS?

All the artists represented by Linton & Kay Galleries here in Perth are brilliant. You can’t go wrong with anyone from that list of artists. Usually artists trade works so I’ve got a few works from some prominent painters… but in terms of me collecting. … I’m a weird collector in that I’ve got an acquired taste. My most precious piece is a small preliminary study / sketch done by William Strutt (the first recognised academically trained artist to arrive in Australia in 1850). The small study I have is of a tiger’s head from his sketchbooks for his most notable painting ‘Black Friday, February 6th 1851’. He painted that in 1864 and it’s in the State Library of Victoria.

IF I NEED TO BUY SOME NEW TRAINERS – WHAT BRAND SHOULD I BUY?

Nike is for training. ADIDAS is for lounging.

WHAT SCENT SHOULD I BE WEARING?

Hugo Boss The Scent or Roberto Cavalli Uomo for evenings. David Davidoff Horizon for the days.

WHERE SHOULD I GO ON MY HOLIDAY THIS YEAR?

LA baby! Can’t ever get enough of Los Angeles. I spend so much time there that I’ve come to realise that the city offers so much diversity and more.

Word: Hayley Sarre

Imagery: Courtesy of Johnny Romeo