SLEEPY TEA TIME
Acrylic and oil on canvas
101 x 101 cm
In Sleepy Tea Time, Johnny Romeo invites the audience into a psychedelic dreamscape where tea time enraptures us into to the fantastical realms of sleep. Using the lyrics of The Beatles’ ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, taken from their 1966 album ‘Revolver’, the painting is a surreal, Lewis Carol-esque portrait of Ringo Starr stuck in the ‘tea time of the mind’ somewhere between dreaming and being awake. Clever allusions to the song are littered throughout the piece, with Romeo using the symbol of the alarm clock to evoke both time being suspended in your dreams (‘keeping an eye on the world going by my window/Taking my time’) and being rudely awakened early in the morning (‘Please don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me’). Ringo Starr’s mischievous expression further echoes the song’s lyrics, capturing the rambunctious attitude of the narrator who proclaims that ‘everybody thinks I’m lazy / I don’t mind, I think they’re crazy / Running everywhere at such speed’. Romeo takes us further down the rabbit hole by conjuring the spirit of Alice in Wonderland through his combination of hallucinogenic colours and the breakfast imagery of the teapot and teacup. The clever concealment of the word ‘Creamy’ in the word assemblage ‘Dreamy’ further plays with early tea imagery with its nod to ‘cream in tea’ while perfectly complimenting the dreamy ambling of the title Sleepy Tea Time.
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