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Meet Rome da Luce

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rome da Luce: LA’s New Bad Boy of Fine Art.

Rome, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
With a background in musical theatre, I ended up getting a job at a dueling piano bar while still living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I loved the amalgamation of music, comedy, and audience interaction in this form of live entertainment. After some years of traveling throughout the world performing other artists’ songs in these piano bars I could sense something deeper in me that needed to be expressed. I decided it was time to move to LA and start writing my own songs.

Shortly after arriving in LA in July 2009 and in need of another creative outlet I was curious to see what would happen if I started painting. I had a difficult time over the following few weeks, with no training or understanding of how certain mediums interacted with the canvas or one another. It became clear early on that painting anything like portraits or landscapes was out of the question for me, but these weeks of frustration culminated in a moment where all of these botched attempts to paint an image revealed an entirely different abstracted image on the canvas that I had never set out to create, and it hit me: “Oh… I can’t paint for shit, but I am an artist.”

In the years since then, I continue to record and perform my own music, as well as cultivate my voice in the visual aspects of my creativity with my abstract expressionism and photography. I have been fortunate enough to perform at such festivals as Burning Man and Lightning In A Bottle, and the artwork has really been garnering momentum recently among pop-up galleries and private collectors.

The goal is to continue to infuse all of these avenues for immersive experiences as I did with NudeArtLA where I was able to perform music as well as display my nude photography and do some live painting with a model as a canvas. Additionally, I have independently-released a coffee table book, AbstractRomeAntics, featuring my artwork, photography, and original song lyrics (Volume 2 currently in the works)!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been the antithesis of a smooth road, and the necessary evil of self-promotion can be murderous to the creative spirit.

Doing everything independently has its benefits, such as complete creative control, but it is not without its incontrovertible trade-offs. It took quite a while for my resources and knowledge to catch up with my tastes both in music and in visual arts but in the last year or so I feel I have really found my voice lyrically, sonically, and visually.

As I mature in my sensibilities as an artist and my character as a person, my hierarchy of values changes. It is liberating to get to a point where “making it” becomes far less important than just creating (no pun intended).

I believe I am called to do this kind of work, and I believe in its value as a contribution to the world. Moreover I believe in its value as a respite from myself. My insanity loses its grasp over me when I can share it with others in such a way. It has been arduous enough that had I seen myself fulfilled with as much purpose doing anything else with my life I would have walked down a different path long ago. I am happy that I haven’t, though.

Despite the challenging road I am able to step back and see how far I have come as well as how far I have yet to go in my work, in my career, and as a person. Gradually one adage has proven true for me in recent years: The dream comes true when you let go of the fantasy.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
On stage, I am known for my theatricality as a frontman. As rock, funk, and jazz music makes its comeback to the mainstream I like to think I am at the crest of that wave having honored my own sensibilities in the face of the formulaic and ubiquitous thematic elements of what is considered marketable.

Though the sonic spectrum of my music has evolved to implement more electronic and modern fusions, I have stayed true to my convictions in the value of human storytelling in songwriting and instrumentation. The same spontaneous passion, ranging from explosively wild to thoughtfully tender, that I bring to the stage is shows itself in my canvases and my photography.

When it comes to making a statement with my artistic works, I don’t have anything to say about politics or society or anything like that. While some artists may feel it is their duty to try to change the world with their art (more power to them), I believe these are tertiary issues, and the core of one’s self must be addressed first.

I am more interested in transmuting my individual instantiation of the universal human experience. If I can say it with words, I will write a song about it. If I can’t say it with words then I will paint it or compose an image with my camera and the help of a model. If I can understand myself better, then I can understand you better. Minds are changed from trying to understand, not from trying to be understood.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
As aforementioned my plan is to continue doing what I am doing and finding new ways to bring together all of my creative avenues. I have recently started working with a manager for my visual art, and already my reach has grown substantially.

The hope is that my increasing visibility in the art world will perpetuate my visibility in the music world, and vice versa until it becomes this self-sustaining machine not unlike the professional life of artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel.

With a new album in the works and another installment of the NudeArtLA semiannual pop-up gallery event coming up in March, I am grateful to be where I am at, eager to see where these respective roads lead, and where they might converge.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Tyler Miles

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