John Romang presents Monster Lyrics, a one day solo art exhibit, Saturday, June 10, from 4-8 pm at Studio Mars – located at 418 N 7th Street in Paducah’s Lower Town Arts District. The exhibit is the result of a school project to have students illustrate a song lyric using monsters.
“I thought that the concept would be a fun challenge for the students,” explained John Romang, Massac County Art teacher and member of the Paducah Arts Alliance (PAA). “I had to do a couple of examples so they could see what I was looking for in the project.” As the effort progressed, Romang did not think the students were choosing good songs, so he started making his own set of drawings. “I couldn't stop!” He said. “I created three full sketchbooks during my lunch breaks.”
The more he worked on creating new drawings, the more Romang got serious about the Monster Lyrics project and began making water color paintings. “I love creating these,” said Romang. “I constantly am thinking of what lyric I will hear so I can create another.”
Some of the songs that inspired his art include Prince “Purple Rain”, Michael Jackson “Billie Jean”, Survivor “Eye of the Tiger”, Beck “Where It’s At” and Willie Nelson “On the Road Again”.
Romang also printed a book to compliment the exhibit. The Monster Lyrics book will be available for purchase at the exhibition on Saturday for $30. They are 6x6 with 50 illustrations. The original illustrations will also be for sale at the show for $50.
If they sell out, Romang will take advance orders for the next printing of the books, and after that, they can find them on his Etsy Page along with any illustrations.
Romang is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University. He is employed at Massac Unit 1 School district, where he has been teaching art to grades 1-8 for the past 11 years. His ink, resin, and light works have been featured in publications and in exhibits and galleries in Kentucky, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. He was one of the recipients of the 2015 Tanne Foundation Awards (Boston, Massachusetts) and received the People’s Choice Award at Yeiser Art Center in 2011.
He has two children: Emilia, who is almost four, and Oliver, who is five months.
“Emilia and I draw quite a bit, she has her own sketchbook to draw in,” Romang told me. “Sometimes we will sit down at the table and both draw. She enjoys the lyrics, and she is very curious about what they say. So after I tell her about the lyric we usually play the song. That was not bad till she saw the Baha Men lyrics of “Who Let The Dogs Out” and now that is on one of my playlists for us to listen to.”