Artist inspires Greystanes

As artist in residence at St Paul’s Catholic College, Greystanes, Australian pop art painter Johnny Romeo has become a living, breathing resource for students.

Often touted as the next Reg Mombassa, he has mentored visual arts students in years 7 to 12 on Wednesday of each week for the past three years.

"When I'm here the focus is on practice," he said.

"The kids have become very enthusiastic because they follow my career and we're able to discuss that when I come in.

"I'll work individually with the kids and in conjunction with the teacher, we'll check the materials they're using and talk about their process, always trying to better their idea and better their output."

Visual arts teacher Elisa Pettenon is a former student of Mr Romeo, whose work was a case study for year 12 students before the Catholic Education Office invited him to take up a residency at the school.

"He's a good teacher and has been a role model throughout my life so it's good to have this colleague relationship now," she said.

"To have an artist come in and critique really brings each class alive."

The program also gives feeder primary schools in Merrylands, Guildford and Girraween a chance to identify and extend their talented art students through workshops.

Mr Romeo exhibited in New York and painted punk-rock band Blink 182's Australian tour mascot in 2013. Leonardo Di Caprio has also commissioned him to paint.

"They're all exciting things but I love working with kids in school and really giving them a reason to continue their art," he said.

"I'm in LA and a year 12 kid emails me going 'Johnny, I need to know what you think about this felt tip pen'.

"That to me represents the changing face of education."

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