Bus Stop




Sometimes the Surreal is experienced in the truly mundane and everyday. As one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th Century, David Hockney painted scenes from daily life, such as swimming pools, home interiors, friends, and transformed them into colourful insights into the human condition. In Bus Stop, Johnny Romeo has crafted a portrait of David Hockney that playfully captures the intersection between the banal and the absurd. The painting depicts the iconic English artist dressed as one of Magritte’s mysterious suited men, as an umbrella with a cup of water on top of it hovers precariously outside of his grasp, an allusion to Magritte’s famous 1958 work ‘Hegel’s Holiday’. Romeo’s seemingly incongruous juxtaposition of everyday objects and figures imbues the work with a dream-like quality that transforms the familiar into the fantastical. The humdrum banality of the title Bus Stop, taken from The Hollies 1966 single of the same name, blurs the line between the real and imaginary with a brilliantly droll sense of humour. Inspired by the song’s lyric ‘Bus stop/Wet day/She’s there/I say/Please share my umbrella’, the symbol of the umbrella in the painting acts as a visual tether between the world of Surrealism and the everyday ephemera of Pop. Romeo continues to explore the imagery of water through his cheeky word assemblage ‘Pop Dream’. Astute viewers will notice that the phrase ‘Up Stream’ has been scratched out, a cheeky reference to the line ‘Stay in bed/Float up stream’ from the Beatles 1966 single ‘I’m Only Sleeping’. The song’s shimmery melodies and hallucinatory, back-tracked rhythms act as the perfect soundtrack for Romeo’s meditations on the coexistence between Pop and Surrealism, where a glass of water opens a window into the subconscious and floating up stream leads you towards the ultimate Pop Dream.

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Acrylic & oil on canvas