Monday, June 14, 2010

Artist vs. Brand

Since the beginning of this month, I've picked up two magazines with Romero Britto "gracing" the front, but then again, what hasn't he touched here in Miami? Just like the articles in both Poder magazine and the Miami New Times, Romero Britto can be found anywhere you look in Miami. And both articles posed the question of whether or not Britto is an artist or a brand.

Personally, I have never been a Britto fan. In fact, I had no idea who this Britto guy was before I moved to Miami. So, what's the big deal? Why has his happy go-lucky work spread like a virus and vommed it's way onto suitcases, collectibles and even custom paint for high-end luxury sports cars. I don't get it.

Britto has made it evident that he doesn't even do his own painting anymore. There's a "Diamond Dust" room in his unmarked warehouse in the Miami Wynwood Distrct, in which an elderly man applies carefully that familiar red glitter. And according to the other article, the only painting he does is picking out what color goes where, applies it with a brush in one small stroke, and his assistants to the rest. Is that how art is done these days?

I'll give him credit for his "rags to riches" story. In some way, it's admirable, but from that small beginning, a disgusting mess of colors has exploded over the Miami-Dade canvas. So, what does it take to turn an artist into a brand? And when will this Britto overload finally end?

Many people compare GusColors work to the "work" of Romero Britto, but in reality, there's no comparison. Sure, both Gus and Britto use bright colors and whimsical characters. And they both fall into the pop art genre. But I know one thing for sure, that GusColors enjoys what he does from an on-hand perspective. Not only that, but GusColors represents life in a more factual way. In the New Times article, it states, "Britto paints only happy subjects: smiling kittens, dancing clowns, and polka-dot palm trees. 'There's enough stress and ugliness in the world, why would I want to create more?'" GusColors on the other hand accepts the good with the evil, questions the peril of his characters, and actually spends hours on end at a single masterpiece.

Perhaps I am being biased, but I'm not the only one who thinks Britto is on overkill. His consumption of Miami doesn't allow other emerging artists a chance to get the exposure they deserve. Not that I ever wish bad things on people, I just hope that the next time Britto jumps behind the wheel of his Bentley after a few drinks at The Forge, that he runs into one of his familiar Miami landmarks.


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