Nick Long

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Nick Long

I am a realist. My road to realism, however, took many side journeys through abstract expressionism and abstraction. It wasn’t until I took a hard look at how I was reared, what I enjoyed and what I wanted to create that I focused on being the best realist my abilities allow. Though I learned many lessons from the side journeys, being a graphic designer for 45 years also informs my work with strong principles of design.

I am not a photo-realist. My camera is my sketchbook, though. Usually time does not allow for sitting and sketching compositions in the environment I find them. Unlike most who use the camera, I only take one or two shots of what has caught my interest. I am confident in finding the compositional dynamic with a simple crop so more shots are not needed. Too many shots and it becomes about the photos and not the image. Selecting an image to be a new work could be sooner or it could be later. Once chosen, I work from a one-to-one photo print of the composition to make sure I can adequately see what needs to be deleted or included in the final piece. I take great pride in creating a work that matches my original vision.

I like objects. Objects worn with a beautiful patina or chipped paint which becomes a metaphor for a life well lived. I don’t intentionally create a narrative but I am certain there is an unknown back story to the objects any viewer could devise. Occasionally, I set up a still life with objects found at estate sales or flea markets, but, most often my pieces are “found compositions” discovered while exploring those same sales and markets. I am not interested in creating an impression of the object. I want the piece to have a physical presence and be that object(s) as it appeared on that day in that specific light. To me, that is real.

I am a purist. Pure graphite or pure acrylic are my primary mediums most often used on paper though I am beginning to use canvas and panels as well. The goal is to master both mediums and to make it obvious they come from the same hand.

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