Over the course of the past year, I have watched my fascination, interest, and love of art grow. I have to immediately thank Kyle Petznick for encouraging me to pursue it as a collector and for teaching me of the importance of owning original and custom art. Since October of 2013, I had seriously begun contemplating getting a commission done, yet was unsure how to go about it and of who I’d get to do a custom piece unique to my interests. One thing was certain, it would be of Superman. And it would blend my two favorite incarnations of The Last Son of Krypton. First, it would need to reflect the style of the Bruce Timm animated Superman series and second, it would have to be of the Superman seen in “Man of Steel” and played by Henry Cavill.
As I spent countless hours scouring the internet, I was slowly building my Instagram account. I never had any interest in this picture sharing site until learning of it’s value AND of how fun a social media tool it could be through my friends. Insert credit to Diane and Michelle Giordano during the week of New York Comic-Con. I don’t quite remember specifically how I came across Orange County, California based artist Joe Romero of @averagejoeart on Instagram, but remember seeing his art, ranging from Batman to Superman, sports icon to sports icon, and thinking that there’s something really unique going on with his work. Once I saw his two art pieces for “Man of Steel”, I was sold. This was the artist I would use. Initially, my idea was to have him do a commission of Henry Cavill and Christopher Reeve standing next to each other. An idea based on seeing the art he had previously done of both actors as Superman. Then it struck me that it would be even better to blend my favorite versions of Superman together. Something special that addresses my likes and reflects what I collect. I reached out to him at his e-mail, listed openly on his account and on many of his art commission advertisements, and was greeted promptly with an infectious enthusiasm for the idea and a more than reasonable price.
Before I knew it, an Joe “Average Joe Art” Romero piece was hanging on my wall and I couldn’t be more happy. It is now the crown jewel of all my prints and happens to be my first commission. After all, it was custom tailored to fit what pleases me about “Man of Steel” and of artist Bruce Timm. But, even better, it was the simple yet grand gesture of an artist taking an idea and transforming it into a reality even better than I could have possibly imagined!
The beauty of owning original art is that it’s one of a kind and brings you into the circle of life of the given piece. Art, in many ways, is both a very private and intimate act, yet a very open and open to critiquing performance. To have a page from a comic book or a commission is something to truly cherish. And this is exactly why the field is so inviting to everyone. Be it someone like myself, or any of the staff at What’cha Reading that are regular comic book devotees, to a complete neophyte, there will always be something out there for you. Something that moves you. Something that challenges you. An image that inspires and possibly invites you to dream. And with every artwork that is currently out there, or something yet to be made that one day will catch your eye, there is an artist out there to match. Some that are exceptional animators and illustrators like Bruce Timm or Jack Kirby. Some that border more on the surreal photo realistic quality like David Stoupakis. And others like Joe Romero, who can do it all!
Joe Romero, of Average Joe Art, has been drawing for as long as he could hold a pencil or crayon. He’s a 100% self-taught and combines the technique of a comic artist with the mentality of a painter (layering, using colors to accent his work). While it would be hard to narrow down a specific art style for him since he has done everything from characters such as the Ninja Turtles, to character studies of such as AMC’s The Walking Dead’s fan favorite, Michonne, in his own words he would say that “I’ve heard a lot of people refer to [my art]as “pen & ink.” While quite humble when in regards to his art style and drawing process, especially for someone who has cultivated years of drawing experience beginning at around 3 to 4 years old, he could easily be incorporated into the great pantheon of artists such as Jim Lee, Humberto Ramos, and Leinil Yu. All of which are some of his favorites; Jim Lee being his favorite and others like Sara Pichelli, Alex Ross, and “of course “the king” Jack Kirby.”
Taking a look through Mr. Romero’s Instagram feed or online site, you could see how masterful an artist he is. He has the grand ability to weave in and out of styles, all while being unique to his own drawing ability. His work speaks volumes and it would have to, especially since he has cultivated a massive online presence and has garnered “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s attention and, most recently Dana White, president of the UFC. After a friendship that began through Twitter and a phone call that led to him working on a number of projects with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, projects that include designing his WrestleMania 30 t-shirt and Broken Skull Challenge apparel, he has more lined up (some of which he is working on now). All while working on a faux fight poster design for UFC president, Dana White and maintaining his ever open commissions list.
Joe Romero is one busy artist. And he should be. He’s self-employed, growing his averagejoeart brand, and cultivating important relationships. He is certainly someone to keep an eye out for. Especially in the ever-growing age of making a name for yourself and self promotion through social media, it’s easy to get lost in wave after wave of any average joe picking up a pencil or paint brush and trying to stand out. The difference is that, Joe Romero, while his moniker is Average Joe, is anything but. An all around great person, artist, innovator, and creator, now is the time to take advantage of his accessibility. And the more than generous sales and offers he constantly has set up. Be it a $25 sketch commission or collectible trade offers, make sure to check him out at the links provided below and do yourself a favor by beginning your original art collection today with a commission or print from Joe Romero.
And just one more thing I had to ask, “So, whatcha reading?” to which he responded “A comic I would recommend to other people? I’m a big Superman fan so I always recommend “Birthright” to those people who are looking to familiarize themselves with the character, but don’t necessarily want to go back to the 30’s to read his origin. Being a big Jim Lee fan, I’ve always got to go with “Hush” as well. In my opinion, that’s probably Lee’s finest work as an artist, and Loeb’s finest work as a writer. It was like a good ol’ fashioned “who done it?” with a superhero vibe.”
I knew I loved him.