“In my mind I am a sculptor, not a painter. These drawings are truly sculptural. The process of these drawings is the opposite of traditional painting. Traditional painting works from dark to light. I work from a white surface. The white in the drawings is always the raw, virgin paper. I never add white to the drawings. The drawings get built up with so many layers of charcoal and dust and powder and stick. The way the drawing comes to life is by erasing, carving the image out of it.” – Robert Longo
Contemporary artist Robert Longo creates photographically based works which often centre around themes of power and authority, using motifs such as guns and flags. His practice of transposing images onto his work means he has been linked to the Pictures Generations. The narrative strength of Longo’s work comes from his transformation of the intimate practice of drawing into paintings of a monumental scale. Longo makes use of chiaroscuro, which plays on the contrast oflight and dark, as a primary material in his work. He rose to fame in the 1980s with the creation of his ‘Men in the Cities’ series. ‘Men in the Cities’ consists of larger-than-life drawings of business people in fantastical contorted positions, a commentary on the state of modern man. It is an early example of Longo’s trademark fusion of sculpture, photography, film, and drawing. Robert Longo’s work strikes a balance between the personal and the socially aware, and in so doing, reflects back on the world around us.
American, b. 1953, Brooklyn New York. Lives and work in New York