Artist: Johnny Romeo
Acrylic and oil on canvas
101cm x 101cm
They say that the greatest comedians are often the saddest people.
Lime Light is a Technicolor homage to two of Hollywood’s most beloved comedians, Charlie Chaplin and Robin Williams, kindred spirits bound not only by their ability to make people laugh, but by the darker streaks of depression that characterized their personal lives.
In the painting, Robin Williams dons Chaplin’s iconic tramp suit as his animated face and gravity defying bowler hat recall the over-the-top slapstick humour of Vaudeville. Despite Williams’ hilariously exuberant expression, the work’s muted colour palette implies an underlying melancholy behind Chaplin and Williams’ spirited comedy performances.
Romeo establishes a further connection between the two classic comedians through the word assemblage ‘Sunset Strip’.
Highlighting Williams and Chaplin’s status as Hollywood veterans, ‘Sunset Strip’ nods to both the Comedy Store in West Hollywood, the legendary club at which Robin Williams made his name, and the location of Charlie Chaplin’s house near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Le Brea.
Closer inspection of the painting reveals that the word assemblage was previously ‘Sunset Tramp’, a cheeky allusion to Chaplin’s most memorable character, The Tramp, who endeavoured to behave with the manner and dignity of a gentleman despite his social status.
The character of the Tramp is analogous to Robin Williams’ own experience of bringing joy to people around the world despite his struggles with mental health. Romeo rounds off the work with the title Lime Light, a reference to Charlie Chaplin’s 1952 film of the same name, which encapsulates the duality of being a comedy star on stage while suffering alone when the houselights dim.
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- Store Name: Linton and Kay Galleries
- Vendor: Linton and Kay Galleries
- Address: Western Australia
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