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.
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.
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’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.