SONIC YOUTH / New Paintings
SONIC YOUTH is the exciting new collaboration between internationally acclaimed Australian Pop painter Johnny Romeo and celebrated men’s boutique, Prize of Venice. The electrifying series of new original works, painted in Romeo’s inimitably bombastic Neo-Expressionist style, will be exhibited inside Prize of Venice’s trend-setting store, located in Abbot Kinney, Venice Beach. Johnny Romeo will be in attendance for what promises to be a truly spectacular opening night.
The series represents an exhilarating meeting of kindred spirits. As the leading force in Australian Pop art, Johnny Romeo has worked together with big names such as the popular punk band Blink 182 and car company Lexus. Romeo’s explosive brew of Neo-expressionist urgency, urban cultural grit and captivating colour arrangements perfectly compliments Prize of Venice’s über chic fusion of high-end men’s fashion and cutting edge street-wear. The collaboration between Johnny Romeo and Prize of Venice buzzes with life and aims to capture the visual soundtrack of our youth.
Taking its name from acclaimed alternative rock icons Sonic Youth, the series is a gloriously sun-drenched celebration of the restless energy and ‘live-fast, die young’ attitude of youth. Vivacious fields of colour careen with gleeful abandon across frenetic compositions, with Romeo’s vibrant Technicolour palette evoking the neon wonderment of boozy nights on the Sunset Strip. Much like the iconic Bonnie and Clyde figures featured on Sonic Youth’s cover for their 1991 album ‘Goo’, SONIC YOUTH expertly distils the thrill of being young and restless, of sticking a middle finger to the man and driving off into the sunset in a haze of dust and blaring tunes.
Brash and ballsy, SONIC YOUTH masterfully teeters between the joyous nostalgia and alluring danger of adolescence. The slick, graphic lines and syrupy sweet colours of super heroes such as Super Man and Batman here evoke our fond childhood fascination with comic books. The defiantly confident poses of these cartoon heroes, with their rippling muscles and larger than life gestures, also reflects the invincibility of youth – the brashness of taking life head-on, regardless of the consequences.
In ‘So Platinum’, Johnny Romeo tackles this sense of indestructibility with his clever brand of pitch-black humour. Taking the rock’n’roll mantra of ‘living fast and dying young’ to comedic extremes, Romeo portrays two skulls laughing at the audience. The confectionary colours, and levity with which Romeo approaches such macabre subject matter suggests the impassioned audacity of laughing in the face of death, even when death has the last laugh.
With its bold typographical statements and insatiable rhythmic energy, SONIC YOUTH is strongly influenced by the hedonistic world of hip-hop. This is most apparent in Romeo’s spirited renditions of hip-hop legends Tupac and the Notorious BIG. Phrases like ‘Young Money’ and ‘Hustler’ are lifted straight from the book of rap and imbue the paintings with an undeniable swagger. Juxtaposing the lingua franca of the streets with imagery of American presidents and comic book heroes, the series cleverly subverts our understanding of popular cultural icons while mock revelling in the greed and excess of modern life.
SONIC YOUTH is a glorious Technicolour celebration of youth, perfectly capturing the days of living dangerously under the neon bliss of the Californian sun. An adrenaline-fuelled sugar rush brimming with garish hues and an irresistibly rambunctious attitude, Sonic Youth is a series not to be missed.
With Johnny Romeo in attendance, SONIC YOUTH opens at 7-10pm on Saturday 10th January 2015 at Prize of Venice, 1638 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, California, 90291, USA.
The exhibition will run until February 10th 2015.
Any enquires concerning Johnny Romeo’s SONIC YOUTH can be made directly through Prize of Venice (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling Paulina on +1 310-452-8700 or Cell: 562-716-0149.