One thing I like about this blog is finding people and places that I never new existed in Peoria. I’m always keeping my eyes open for a place or person to blog about and when I went to get a couple pictures framed a while back, I found a person and a place that’s certainly worth blogging about and documenting in pictures.
When I first started this blog, MBIP pal (and hopefully future commenter, his computer won’t let him comment right now), Ragin’ RR generously sent me a couple of posters among other things and I wanted to get them framed. I drive by this place that says, “Art” and “Custom Framing” on Sheridan Road every day on my way to work. I decided to take the posters there to get framed and I met the owner of the business, Jonathon Romain. Then I peeked around a corner and saw a room filled with unbelievable artwork and found out that Jonathon is a well-known and respected artist who grew up in Chicago, but now resides in Peoria.
I asked him if I could do a blog on the place and he said down the road I could, he was doing some remodeling back then and wanted to wait. Well, the time has come to take a look at the gallery. It’s open to the public and Jonathon’s on the road with an art show, but Trish Williams, who’s the gallery assistant said she’d be happy to give us a little tour and a look at some of the art in there. So here we go!
I thought I'd recreate the day I discovered Gallery Romain for you today in photos. It started with a nice drive down Sheridan Road.
And here we are at 1919 Sheridan Road, Gallery Romain. When I first came here, I just thought it was some unassuming place to get pictures framed.
I walked through the front doors...
And into the front room where I met...
I looked up and noticed all the services offered here...
Then I picked out some frames for the posters that Ragin' RR had sent me.
While Jonathon wrote the order up, I peeked around the corner here and saw...
A room filled with amazing artwork. Okay, let's fast forward to this week and there's Trish, the gallery assistant who's going to give us a little tour of this charming gallery on Sheridan Road.
And here she is, pointing out some pieces of art in the gallery.
The first stop was at the front of the room to a wall which Trish calls, "Jonathon's wall of fame."
Here's a photo of Jonathon with is artist's statement. Jonathon's story is an interesting one, in that he honed his artistic craft in prison. He was studying psychology at Bradley when he got busted for selling drugs. He was allowed to graduate, but served seven years in prison, where he used his time to hone his art talent. After he got out of prison, he came to Peoria and opened up this gallery.
Jonathon was commissioned by the National Black Prosecutors Association to paint a
portrait of Bill Clinton, where Romain spoke to the group following a speech
by the former president. Here's a photo from that memorable day.
A photo of Jonathon with Jesse Jackson.
Here's one of many pieces of art by Jonathon that's featured in the gallery.
As you can see, his work is presented in many styles, from a realistic painting like this...
To something more abstract and cubic like this painting.
A portrait of Malcolm X by Jonathon.
This is my favorite painting in the gallery, I need to go back on payday and purchase this before someone else snaps it up.
Gallery Romain also features work by other artists across the nation and here's some dolls that were created by our tour guide and gallery assistant, Trish Williams. Very cool!
And here's the posters from Ragin' RR that I took in to get framed. Let's see how they turned out...
They look great, Jonathon and I decided on metallic frames and he did a wonderful job of framing the posters. Now I just need to find some space on the walls here to hang them. See you all tomorrow.