Notes from the Underground presented by Arthaus Projects
Internationally acclaimed Australian Pop painter Johnny Romeo is proud to announce the launch of his latest artistic project, NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND. A strong supporter of the local Pennsylvanian creative community, Romeo has curated an exciting and forward thinking art initiative at Arthaus Projects, Williamsport, that examines the power of grassroots movements and the value of connecting with your artistic peers. Following off the back of 2017’s successful group initiative, ‘LA Residency (Local Access)’, the project is a thrilling celebration of the ‘underground’ as a vibrant place for collaboration and creation.
The brainchild of Johnny Romeo, NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND explores the idea of community, of how the influence of our artistic peers allows us to build creative spaces with distinct identities. The project features Romeo alongside hand-picked Pennsylvanian artists Kurt Herrmann, Mike Egan and Mark Loughney, who in turn have each invited one artistic peer to take part who they believe is influential or captures the spirit of their community. As part of the initiative, Johnny Romeo will be inviting his longtime assistant Abigail Atienza. Mike Egan has elected local Pennsylvanian artist Rick Bach, while Mark Loughney has chosen fellow inmate Richard “Ramma” Sutton. On the academic end of the spectrum, Kurt Hermann has invited Vance McCoy, his ex-lecturer and mentor from Lock Haven University. Collectively, the participants brought on board reflect the diverse tapestry of artistic peers that enrich creative communities and allow them to grow and flourish.
Taking its title from the 2013 album by LA hard-rock band Hollywood Undead, the project gives a cheeky nod to the music and records that influenced Johnny Romeo in his formative years. Each of the 8 participants have contributed 6 small works on paper to be exhibited that respond to the theme of ‘notes from the underground’ in intuitive and insightful ways. Romeo’s clever curation can be seen through the 48 works featured in the show, with the number 48 acting as a playful riff on the project premise of ‘four artists becoming eight’. All the paper stock has been custom cut to mirror the size of 12” record covers, including sleeves. The idea of the record cover, more notably, has informed the way in which each artist has approached their works, creating pieces that, like iconic album art, instantly draw in the viewer.
Much like the short, sharp bursts of punk rock that soundtracked Romeo’s youth, the participants have been encouraged to embrace rawness and speed in their art making process and complete each work in 30-45 minutes. These visual snapshots of ‘creative communities’ are characterized by their eye-grabbing immediacy, allowing the participants to approach their art making with an intuitive looseness that echoes the spontaneous and organic manner in which the creative underground develops.
The frenetic urgency and collaborative energy of the underground is powerfully captured by Johnny Romeo’s artwork contributions to the project. Romeo has crafted a stream-of-consciousness portrait of Salvador Dali that depicts the head of the Surrealist visionary elongated across the span of 6 paper works. Drawing on the gritty expressionism of Dostoevsky’s 1864 novella ‘Notes From the Underground’, Romeo’s gleefully absurd take on Dali is a grungy homage to Surrealism that exemplifies how artistic communities are often greater than the sum of their parts.
Making art more accessible to the community lies at the heart of NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND. Reflecting this ethos, the project shifts away from the conventional pricing of the commercial art market, with each work at priced at $150 to make it more affordable for local audiences to collect and engage with the art world. More importantly, the project gives audiences a unique insight from the artists involved into their world, and what it truly means to be a part of an artistic community.
NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND is an ambitious and dynamic tribute to the spirit of connection, and a powerful testament to the notion that it takes a community to make a movement. Masterminded and curated by Australia’s King of Pop, the project is a celebration of coming together, of learning from your artistic peers and sharing in the joys of creating meaningful connections and communities.
About Arthaus Projects:
2018 marks the inaugural year of Arthaus Projects, a new, non-profit artspace developed by the founder of Converge Gallery. Inspired by the Staatliches Bauhaus (commonly known as Bauhaus), a German art school that famously combined crafts and fine arts teaching with an emphasis on design, Arthaus Projects makes contemporary fine art accessible to the local community, and provides community education through exhibitions, colloquia and collaborative projects. Arthaus Projects takes a project-based approach to our exhibitions, combining interactive exhibits such as artist talks and live demonstrations with traditional gallery installations.
So why Arthaus Projects? Because a gallery doesn't define what we do for the Williamsport arts scene. As a community resource, Arthaus Projects provides greater career opportunities in the arts for students, emerging artists and established artists that promote innovative, contemporary ideas.
Arthaus Projects is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization continuing the legacy of Converge Gallery as the next stage in the evolution of the Lycoming County arts scene.
The gallery is located at 140 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, PA and gallery hours are Monday-Thursday 9:00am-5:00pm, Friday 9:00am-6:00pm, and Saturday from 11:00am-5:00pm.
- Cost: Free
- Event Contact: 570-435-7080
- Event Website: http://www.arthausprojects.com