Johnny Romeo Australian Artist Pop Art Film Movie Mashup Oil and Acrylic on Canvas Pop Artist Boyd-Dunlop Gallery Contemporary Art Hawkes Bay Napier Hastings Street
Pinky Ring, 2024
Johnny Romeo

Pinky Ring, 2024


Pinky Ring, 2024

acrylic and oil on canvas

1220 x 1220 mm


Step into a candy-coated wonderland where old adversaries become front-row entertainment in Pinky Ring. In the painting, Romeo cheekily subverts our expectations of cats and fish, with the goldfish staring up at his feline companion with a sense of admiration and awe. Likewise, the curious feline looks down at his aquatic companion with genuine fascination, a rare instance of mutual appreciation where his traditional underwater ‘Front Foe’ becomes ‘Front Row’ entertainment. The artwork slyly riffs off gangster tropes through the inclusion of a vibrant pink lunar ring hanging behind the cat. In the mafia, pinky rings were a sign of power, authority, and achievement. Romeo builds on the lavish and opulent undertones of the titular pinky ring by masterfully connecting it to Bruno Mars’ 2016 ode to excess ’24K Magic’ and its extravagant refrain of putting ‘your pinky rings up to the moon’. Cypress Hill’s 2001 gangster anthem ‘Lowrider’ is also cleverly referenced, with its street-hardened insistence on lifting your ‘hands in the air with the pinky rings’. By gazing upward towards the cat, the fish aspires to be his feline foe, a formidable figure who has taken their destiny by the reins and is living their fullest life. The cat, in contrast, watches and waits with patient attentiveness, masterfully aware of the influence of his gestures and the power he wields. Pinky Ring beckons viewers to revel in the moment, to reach for the pinnacle of wealth and luxury, and to celebrate life's most extravagant pleasures.

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