Romero Britto 1963–

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It is difficult to travel anywhere without encountering the art of Romero Britto. Through his use of vibrant colors and eye-catching patterns, Britto spreads a message of optimism and love around the globe.

Britto’s unique fusion of Pop Art and Cubism have led to many opportunities and accomplishments for the artist, including being commissioned by the NFL to create a moving work of art for the opening Ceremony of Super Bowl XLI, being named an Ambassador to the Rio 2016 Olympics by the Coca-Cola Brazilian Olympic Committee, creating the 2014 World Cup Official poster for FIFA, and serving as the FIFA Ambassador for the 2014 World Cup Brazil.

 

Britto: Personal History

Born in 1963 in Recife, Brazil, Britto was one of nine children growing up in an impoverished home. Despite a lack of resources, Britto expressed a desire to become an artist at the age of 8. His mom chastised him for doodling in his notebooks because they didn’t have the money to continually buy new ones. As an alternative, Britto painted on scraps of cardboard and newspaper, often using his fingers when he didn’t have brushes.

At the age of 14, Britto revealed his art to the public for the first time in an exhibition held by the Organization of American States. Britto received honors for his works, but was unsure of developing a career in art. He instead pursued an academic path at the Catholic University of Pernambuco on a scholarship.

When starting his fourth semester, Britto realized that art was his true passion, but waited another two years before travelling to Europe to study art and painting. In 1983, he visited Paris, where he caught his first glimpse of artwork by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. The techniques of both Matisse and Picasso would forever shape Britto’s artistic career.

 

Britto: Coming to Miami

In 1988, Britto immigrated to the United States, settling in Miami. In 1989, Britto was selected by Absolut Vodka, following in the footsteps of notable artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, to create an ad campaign that appeared in more than 65 publications. As an indication of his talent, Britto was also invited to create a custom 25th anniversary bottle for the Absolut Art Ad Campaign. This incredible opportunity catapulted Britto into the limelight.

Throughout the years, Britto has loaned his talent, energy, and time to more than 250 philanthropic causes, such as the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, Best Buddies International, the World Economic and Development Fund, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Art can really be an agent of change,” Britto says. “It can be inspiring and bring people together. I am blessed, because I have this gift where I can create art and bring people together with my art.”

Britto continues to paint and reside in Miami, with his studio located in the city’s Wynwood Arts district. He is married to Cheryl Britto and has a son, Brendan, whose toys growing up are the inspiration for some of Britto’s bright colors.

 

Britto: Style and Influences

Britto’s self-taught style is a combination of Cubism, Pop Art, and graffiti. Britto’s vivid color palette, bold lines, and imaginative patterns are instantly recognizable.

Although he calls himself a Pop artist, the Cubist elements in Britto’s work should hardly surprise viewers—few artists in modern times have escaped the long shadows cast by Picasso and Georges Braque. Britto’s style emerged from these influences in the form of dazzling colors, pop imagery, playful themes, and an inventive signature within his paintings.

Optimism is the essence of Britto’s art. His unique visual language encourages hope, positivity, and happiness.

“I hope when people see my art they have a big smile on their face and a huge one in their heart,” Britto says.

Britto works in a variety of mediums, including watercolor, lithography, acrylic, sculpture, and three-dimensional serigraphy.

Britto: Accomplishments

  • Britto’s art has been shown in more than 140 galleries and museums nationwide, including Le Salon De La Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts at The Carrousel du Louvre Museum (Salle Le Notre Paris), France, Today Art Museum in Beijing, China; and the Florida Museum of Hispanic and Latin American Art in Miami.
  • Britto’s commissions include: Grand Marnier, Volvo, Apple Latin America, Pepsi-Cola, IBM, Disney, the United Nations, Mini Cooper for BMW, and Royal Caribbean International’s Mariner of the Sea.
  • Britto created a collection of paintings and several licensing memorabilia items celebrating the World Cup Brazil.
  • Britto created artwork for the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup as well as the 2007 Super Bowl.
  • Britto’s public sculptures are featured throughout the world, including Florida, Germany, Washington D.C., and New York.
  • NetDragon Websoft commissioned Britto to create the largest commissioned sculpture in Asia for their headquarters in Fuzhou, China.
  • Collectors of Britto’s work include Michael Jordan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Andre Agassi as well as the Guggenheim family, the Rothschilds, the Kennedys, the Mitterands, President Barack Obama, and former Whitney Museum President, William Woodside, Alice Walton (of Walmart fame) and Sir Elton John.
  • Britto’s art is in the collections of many royal families—Sweden, Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, to name a few.  Carlos Slim is also one of the biggest collectors and friends of the artist, and his Grupo Carso launched a historic multi-category licensing deal with Britto’s art.
  • In 2012, Britto’s work was honored at Brazil’s annual Rio de Janeiro Carnival, a five-day celebration held 40 days before Easter. The entire Rio de Janeiro Carnival opened with a samba school featuring thousands of dancers inspired in Britto’s art and telling his story with a samba uniquely written about him.
  • He has been profiled in numerous national publications including People Magazine, Art News, Variety, and Leaders Magazine.
  • Britto served as the Brazilian ambassador for the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio, Brazil. Coca-Cola commissioned him to create artwork for the event and nominated him to carry the Olympic torch in his hometown of Recife.
  • In March 2017, Miami presented Britto with his own star on Miami’s Walk of Fame. That same year, the city named him the “Art and Cultural Ambassador of the City of Miami.”
  • In 2017, the Star Art Foundation commissioned Britto to create a work of art presented to His Holiness Pope Francis in Rome. The work was titled “Pope Francis – The Protector of the Poor and Peace Maker” and was a symbolic gesture of thanks for the pope’s support of the In Defense of Christians Foundation.
  • In 2018, Britto collaborated with Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana – painting a Haute Couture dress for their Alta Moda Alta Sartoria show in Mexico City at the Museum of Carlos Slim – The Soumaya Museum.

Britto: Museum Exhibitions

  • Carrousel du Louvre, Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts
  • Sonderausstellung der Kinder-Akademie Fulda, Germany
  • Sichuan Arts Museum Chengdu, China
  • Museum of Lu Xun Art Academy Shenyang, China
  • Museum of Guanghou Art Academy Guangzhou, China
  • Museum of Contemporary Art/MOCA Shanghai, China
  • Maison de Imerique Latine de Monaco- Monaco
  • Boca Raton Museum of Art Boca Raton, Florida
  • Coral Springs Museum of Art Coral Springs, Florida
  • Fine Arts Museum of Long Island Hempstead, New York
  • Museo de Bellas Artes- San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Goodwill Games Museum, Lake Placid, New York
  • Museu Nacional de Belas Artes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Museo da Imagem e do Som Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Officina de Arte Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • Museo de Cinco Pontas Recife, Brazil
  • Benemerita Universidad Automoma de Puebla, Mexico

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