Romeo Lee Is More Outrageous Than Ever

The Leeon King runs until June 14 at Project 20.


( When we asked Filipino artist Romeo Lee how he would describe his aesthetic, he immediately answered "Style ko na 'to e. Romeo Lee [style].” And you’d definitely agree after seeing the collection featured in his one-man show, The Leeon King, which opened on May 24 at Project 20 Gallery in Quezon City.




"'Yong title nito, wala namang relate sa art nito e," he says in an interview with during the exhibit opening. But if you look closely, you’d see how The Leeon King (a pun for American film The Lion King) reflects Lee’s fondness for nature. "Makulay ang buhay ko dahil sa nature-nature. Pag umaakyat ako sa bundok, daming kumakalat sa imagination. 'Yong mga puno pag umaakyat ako tsaka lupa, sila nagpapalakas sa akin e. Energy ko sa buhay ko," he explains about his life as a UP Mountaineer. His penchant for punk rock also adds to the uniqueness of his artwork. “Pampakulay din yun e,” says the artist touted as the King of Punk.




All his canvases, from the small square ones to that which takes up a whole wall, exhibit the same “Lee-esque” strokes. The swirly lines, layers of opposing colors, and ghoulish creatures—that either look like a creepy bird or a fattened-up worm—are all there. To say that they’re eccentric is an understatement for this artist who seems to pull his subjects out of thin air.





"Sa akin 'yong art, parang nung bata ka pa, drowing ka lang nang drowing galing sa imagination mo e. May sarili kang mundo. Hanggang ngayon, gano'n pa rin ako," he explains about his process. Lee also adds that he paints directly on the canvas even without an initial idea and just develops the subject while holding his paintbrush. He can’t help but be unimpressed by young artists who trace and copy images from the Internet. “Alam mo namang walang dugong artist 'yang mga 'yan. Wala namang pangil 'yang mga 'yan,” he continues.






It’s no surprise that Lee can say these things with conviction. After all, he has seen it all after three decades in the art scene.


The Leeon King runs until June 14 at Project 20 Gallery, 20 Maginhawa Street, UP Village, Quezon City.


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