Never Mind. - Johnny Romeo

Johnny Romeo

Never Mind.

122 x 122 cmOil and Acrylic on canvas.SoldThe ‘crying girl’ has long been a popular motif in the art world. One of the most enduring images of this theme comes from Roy Lichtenstein’s iconic 1963 lithograph ‘Crying Girl’. Inspired by Picasso’s weeping women, the classic work was part of a series of ‘fantasy drama paintings’ of miserable women in love affairs with domineering men. In Never Mind, Johnny Romeo uses his signature Poptimistic flare to appropriate Lichtenstein’s ‘Crying Girl’, transforming her from a whimsically melancholic figure into a symbol of empowerment. Bursting with bubblegum hues, the painting re-envisions Lichtenstein’s tear-streaked heroine as a modern-day Amelia Earhart decked out in vintage aviator glasses. The reference to classic aviation imagery symbolizes a new beginning for Romeo’s weeping woman as a boss-girl pilot soaring above the sorrow of her current life. By embracing the open skies, the figure becomes someone who is truly in control of their freedom, a point cleverly captured through the shifting wordplay of ‘Riot Mode’ into ‘Pilot Mode’. The title of the work, Never Mind, builds upon this sentiment, acting as a life-affirming call to arms to ‘never mind your problems’ and pull yourself out of your sad situation. At the same time, the title pays homage to the legendary grunge band Nirvana and their 1991 grunge opus ‘Nevermind’. Allusions to Seattle’s finest can be further seen through the pilot’s aviator glasses and hat, which recall the white Jackie O sunglasses and slacker air force cap worn by Kurt Cobain as part of Jesse Froheman’s ‘Last Session’ portrait series of the Nirvana frontman (1993).