Warren Long

On any given day, you can take a walk along Malibu Beach at Big Rock, in Southern California and see Warren Long painting on the deck of his beach studio.  Paint paraphernalia, broken glass and pottery, tiles, wrought iron and some fascinating found objects such as animal skeletal fragments clutter his deck.  These objects later appear in his paintings, or become incorporated into his innovative sculptural framing . His funky use of assemblage is rightly inspired from the earth sensual and organic.

Long is a representative painter, however his individual style defies pigeonholing. The artist   imagination masterfully appropriates and personalizes themes and tableaus from an eclectic smattering of art history, classical myths and scientific influences. American outsider and folk art Latin art, as well as Renaissance and Impressionism, are all obvious influences. In a singular effort Longs paintings incorporate historical contexts with personal fantasy and the beach-life ethic unique to Southern California. He expresses his startlingly wide breadth of influences through subject matter and materials but also with a distinct use of bold sun-lit color.“

Less fashionable, and more about accessibility and introspection, Long’s work reminds the viewer of the value of traditional aesthetic technique.  Humor and fantasy, which is abundant in his work, can also be provocative and therefore extend their appeal to a broader audience.  Warren Long is a humorous anarchist rebelling against traditional artistic boundaries, labels, or intellectual dogma.  He demonstrated a satirical appreciation for the sensual and the spiritual.  Perhaps he continues to delight viewers and collectors nationwide, because looking into a Warren Long painting can feel like looking into a mirror of the, comedy, poignancy and celebrations of our own lives.


 

Artist Warren Long – lover of life and appreciator of nature

By Simone Kussatz

Artist Warren Long has been working as a professional artist for more than 20 years. He’s a regular at Hamilton Galleries in Santa Monica, which has showcased his work since 1996. Aside from numerous other galleries in California, his paintings have been exhibited in Milan, Italy and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

However, before Long got into painting, he first started out as a functional artist, making sculpted furniture, such as carved peacock chairs and large fish tables for Tops Gallery in Malibu. Influenced by artist Jim Wagner, known for his Santa Fe style furniture and paintings, Long explained that working with furniture became too labor intensive for him. “I’m not a carpenter,” he said. “What I wanted to do was to splash paint onto canvas. There is an immediate gratification in that.”

The California artist has also been known for his murals. One of his largest ones can be seen behind a high-school at Morning view Drive in Malibu. “They’re a lot of work, but I like doing them. I use scaffolds.”

Yet, Warren Long hasn’t always followed an artistic path. Before his brother’s death, he wanted to become a doctor and majored in ecological systematic biology at San Francisco State University. He only minored in art. But the frequent visits in the hospital to see his brother, who was an artist, made him realize that he’s more inclined to the artistic world. “I couldn’t see myself being so exact, doling out medicine. I’m too casual for that. Yet, medicine and anatomy still interests me and I often apply this to my paintings.” 

Long-  a prolific and versatile artist - spent part of his childhood in Mexico. His collection of work consists of animals, flowers, figurative, landscape and seascape paintings, in which he often adds skeletons and skulls to his imagery. “It’s probably, because I lived in Mexico, where they celebrate the Day of the Dead. To me death is a natural thing. I find skulls striking. You certainly will notice them.”

Long has developed his own style.  Therefore, it’s difficult to pigeonhole him. From humorous images such as hula hooping penguins or a floating pig to elegant water ballet swimmers and lavish flower bouquets, Long knows how to express himself visually in a unique way, allowing his mind to fantasize without limits. “This is what’s going on in my head”, Long explained. “I like pigs. They are sweet. They’re kind of god’s jokes. My brother actually raised some. As far as the swimmers in the ocean - my wife was a synchronized swimmer and I tried to do that, it’s a lot harder than it looks. But I think it’s beautiful. It’s kind of funny too. It’s hilarious and beautiful.”

In addition Long has a collection of works where different atmospheres dominate the canvas, such as “Moonlit” or “Blue Number 18”. “Moonlit” shows a lagoon at night, “Blue Number 18” a life-guard station. “My wife and I like to go out swimming a lot. I find the life-guard stations comfortable and beautiful. Often there is not even a person in there, but just the fact they exist turn them into sanctuaries. Theoretically, they are there to help you if you’re drowning. There is something pretty about them. I’ve done quite a few of those with different color combinations.”

Aside from being an established artist, Long also teaches art. Among his students were actor Mel Gibson’s children who came to learn from him, when he was still teaching at a private school in Malibu. Now Gibson’s son has followed in his teacher’s footsteps and also exhibits his art work at Hamilton Galleries.

them.” he was still teaching at a private school in Malibu. Now Gibson’s son has followed in his teacher’s footsteps and also exhibits his art work at Hamilton Galleries.