International pop artist Romero Britto brings his colorful message to Flagler

By Ryan Buffa |
Photos by Holly Hill Thompson

International artist Romero Britto spoke at Flagler College on Sept. 27 about his artwork and the hope to be a catalyst for positive change in the world.

“Creating images of hope … my art is about love and passion,” Britto said. “To be able to inspire someone is the most incredible thing.”

His iconic style of sharp lines, vibrant color, hearts and his signature that many believe looks like an Egyptian pattern, is influenced by a combination of pop art and cubism. He looks to artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Andy Warhol and Keith Herring as inspiration for his contemporary style.

Born in Recife, Brazil, in 1968, Britto grew up with 12 siblings and was reared by a single mother. But the hardships of his childhood did not discourage him from creating art that the New York Times says “exudes warmth, optimism and love.”

Britto currently lives in Miami, Fla., where he moved to in 1988. There he became the global, contemporary artist he is known as today.

Britto’s presentation was filled with photos of him with the people that he painted — vibrant and lively portraits of the Queen of Sweden, Queen Elizabeth of England and the first woman president of Brazil.

For a person who had every right to brag about his truly amazing experiences and the people he has had the fortune to encounter, Britto was nothing but humble. He exuded only a joy as ecstatic as his big curly hair and love as bright as his paintings.

“Today, I want my life to be like my paintings … colorful and happy,” Britto said.

For Britto, “The idea of bringing art to everyone is ideal to me,” he said. And he has followed through with his mission through collaborating with advertising campaigns such as Disney, Absolute Vodka, Bentley and Audi. He also collaborated with FIFA to create the poster for the 2010 World Cup.

“There would be no other way to share my art with the world. A museum was not going to it,” Britto said.

He is widely known for his public art installations in Hyde Park in London, the John F. Kennedy in New York and the O2 dome in Berlin. He has also worked on projects that have benefited over 250 charitable organizations.

The international artist has traveled the world to share his art and promote positive messages. He encouraged Flagler student to do the same and to follow the positive experiences, or as he referred to it, “the river of life.”

“Go to a place of action. Go to where things are happening … go to the river,” Britto said. “Because I am moving around, opportunity comes to me.”

His contemporary artwork is global in the truest sense, because the symbolism he conveys, the icons he depicts and positive energy he displays can be translated around the world.

Britto’s generosity was appreciated when he stopped to sign free copies of his book, “Romero Britto: Colors Around the World.” He even did a quick portrait of a Flagler College student who brought her drawing pad for him to sign.

Overall, the international pop artist was every bit as vibrant and colorful as his paintings.

“I want to enrich as many people as possible,” Britto said.

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