If you don't know the name Romero Britto, you have without a doubt seen his work throughout Miami, or somewhere around the globe. His work is displayed in the most prestigious galleries and museums in over 120 countries, to his retail stores with merchandise to share with his fans. The Brazilian’s early career in Miami began as an artistic pioneer in Wynwood, transcending the art world with his visual language of happiness, fun, and love. As one of the most internationally renowned artists, his is known for all his fine art, sculptures, concept stores, lifestyle brand, and licensing partnerships with infamous brands like Matteo, Hasbro, or Bentley, to name a few. You could say he’s everywhere, doing everything.
If you’re looking for an addition to your fine art collection, or want to get a glimpse of his happiness masterpieces, make sure to stop by the local Miami Beach Gallery on Lincoln Road. But if you're lucky enough to be one of Britto’s many celebrity friends, like Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, or VIP's clients, you may just receive a Willy Wonka inspired golden ticket invitation, to the Britto Palace. This 60,000 sq foot creative sanctuary in Miami, serves as his artistic headquarters where he curates his craft, and operates all that is the powerhouse of the Britto brand.
This July issue, Romero’s “Miami Beach” (Palm Trees) artwork graces our cover. You can visit the sculpture, “North Star,” on 5th and Alton.
What was your inspiration for the piece on the cover?
Miami Beach, paradise, and this whole piece with the palm tree symbolizes so many things like vacation, fun time, love, sun, and tropics, just Miami Everything that is positive is a palm tree; a get away, far away from everything, but still be close to everything and everyone. So for me, that’s the palm tree. I love it.
How does Miami inspire your art?
Miami inspires me so much because it's a city that reminds me a lot what I was born, Brazil, being close to the water. So the water inspires me a lot. The vibe of Miami, the people of Miami; this city has a very positive vibe. It’s the people, the water, the temperature, the weather, the light, the food, I mean, everything about Miami.
What is your favorite sculpture that you’ve created?
My favorite sculpture in the world is the sculpture at the JFK Airport. The big apple, I love New York! My first time coming to New York was such a great experience. I love being here in the US, so New York is very symbolic for me. And then I have another one in China, and another at the Dumfries House for Prince Charles in Scotland, that I both love.
So you're very internationally renowned?
Oh my work is all over, I mean, everywhere. But I do love living in Miami. Community is very special here. The list goes on from people like Craig Robbins to David Grutman, everybody makes this city so special. I have so many amazing friends here that I made throughout the years, and many celebrities that are super famous all over that make Miami home, like Marc Anthony.
What was your favorite custom piece you did for a celebrity friend?
It was fun to do a portrait of Michael Jackson. It was great, he absolutely loved it. I also had a great time with Maluma when he came and helped me paint. We had so much fun.
What is your favorite color and types of materials to work with?
My favorite color is yellow, I love it. I wear it all the time. I do work with all sorts of materials. Of course, in the sculpture, it's more complex because you have to have welding and the bigger it is, you have to have engineering drawings and permits. So the simpler, nicest and easiest way, is to work on canvas and with drawings. But the feeling of having a very big sculpture in a square, in a public area, or in the home of a person, is also very special to me.
How did you, Britto, become a lifestyle brand?
In 1989, when I was asked to do the ad campaign for Absolut Vodka, there was a moment where I said, "I want to share my work,” to share the image of my art. And later on, I started doing projects with companies that are actually famous, where people could have these items in their houses. Then I started slowly doing more projects and licensing deals with a companies that became absolutely everywhere.
Out of all the different pillars of your brand, from your fine art, licensing deals, to the concept stores, is one more dear to your heart?
I can't choose. I love all of them. I love the idea of doing everything, sharing my work with people, creating images. It's just a great moment to be doing something that's positive and fun; bringing a smile on peoples' face. I think I've been very blessed to have a great team here at the palace that understand that and want to do the same as well. Sharing images of happiness, connecting people, and creating history, creating moments where families can say, "I got this with my father, I got this with my daughter, my boyfriend at that time, now we're married, we have two children.” All these types of stories that happen.
What is your Happy Art Movement?
The Happy Art Movement, is another momentum, another phenomenon. It happened as I was creating my work. So many people throughout the years would tell me, "Oh, Romero, your art makes me so happy." Older people, children, everybody tells me, "Oh, your art is so happy.” I'm like, “Really? I'm just doing it. I'm just loving doing this." Many years ago, a professor from my university told me that my art was creating a movement, but necessarily the Happy Art Movement. It was a movement because so many artists, so many people, were getting excited about it and inspired by my work. Lucas Vidal, a friend of mine, said, "Wow, I think you're creating the Happy Art Movement, Romero. You better embrace it.” Because there was a time that artists were doing very depressive work, more of a commentary on the horrible things that happen out there. But now I've seen more artists doing things that are more happy, more fun, more positive, in the line of my work or Keith Haring's work. One day Lucas told me, “Romero, you started this and you don't have a clue. You better create it." I was like, "Okay, fine, I'll create it. It's done, it's happening, it's out there in the world. Please follow, keep it going. Happy art."
1102 Lincoln Road, Miami, 305.531.8821, britto.co