Synonymous with Miami, Romero Britto combines elements of cubism, pop art and graffiti in his vibrant paintings and sculptures. Britto’s whimsical figures and playful patterns adorn everything from luggage to installations on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. Britto’s style is recognized throughout the world which makes Britto happy because from an early age he developed a strong interest to see the world.
You have been a part of many charitable organizations such as Best Buddies International and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Why is giving back so important to you?
Having traveled the world. I’m very perceptive to the need for charity and compassion. When I give back through these charitable organizations, I’m inspired by the optimism, support and camaraderie — it’s all part of my personal artistic process.
In 1998, you were selected for an Absolut vodka art advertising campaign alongside Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. What was it like to be part of this project?
Surreal! I don’t think I ever imagined what would come of the Absolut art advertising campaign, but being selected amongst the pop art icons of a generation is still a great source of pride for me.
In which city do you feel most at home?
Miami is home to me — it’s where my studio, first gallery, house and family are located. The food, culture and people are amazing and unlike anywhere in the world. Miami will always have my heart.
What city inspires you? Why?
Currently, Rio de Janeiro has been a big inspiration for me. I recently received the great honor of being appointed global ambassador for the 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio; I’m inspired to create works about the city’s mountains, beaches and spirit.
You were raised in a large family. How did your upbringing inspire you to become an artist?
We had a very humble life growing up, but it gave me this vivid imagination that helped me imagine a bigger and brighter world and definitely influenced and inspired my art.
You have produced public art installations in Berlin, New York, Miami and London. What is your most memorable public art project?
All public art projects are special to me in their own way, but the installation in London’s Hyde Park is memorable because it was something I created to honor the King Tut exhibit at the British Museum. It took me out of my normal realm of huge scale and inspired something completely different.
What can we expect next from you?
Look for me at the Rio Olympics in 2016! My new role as global ambassador has already thrilled and inspired me to create a new collection. I am looking forward to sharing it.
Who are some artists that you admire?
Some of my first experiences with art were with the work of the masters including Matisse and Picasso. They were and continue to be great influencers on my work. Of course, I like Warhol and Haring. I also admire Pollock, Leger, Dali and Da Vinci. I’m an artist, a creative being. I find inspiration in everything around me.
What is your ideal vacation?
I love Europe and Mexico, but Asia is always particularly interesting. I recently went to China for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions in Japan. It’s amazing to wake up in a place that is so different — both visually and culturally — from what you are used to. I also love to travel to my native country, Brazil; I go about once a month. Brazil is so interesting, because of all of the growth the country has seen in such a short time period.
Where do you go to meet your friends for lunch? Zuma
What is a great place for date night? Joe’s Stone Crab
Where can men find great shoes? Dolce & Gabbana — my entire closet is D & G!
What does the perfect Sunday look like? Painting or spending time with friends and family
What is Miami’s “hidden gem”? The Wynwood Art District, where I have my studio
What music is playing in your car? My good friend Shakira’s latest album
What is your favorite sport? Soccer, of course!
Your best meal? Hakkasan — some of the best Chinese food you will ever have