About portfoliolongo.com

ARTIST'S STATEMENT: I want my artwork to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. I want it to shed light and call attention to beauty, coherence, and unity; and, I want it to cast doubt on falsehoods, oversimplifications, and absurdities. I’d like to be instrumental in deepening our awareness and appreciation of the fullness of life, including its complexities, ambiguities, and paradoxes. I draw and paint on an iPad with an Apple Pencil or my fingers using a variety of drawing/painting apps; although, I still work in wood and clay as well. iPads are portable and versatile, require little set up, and there’s no clean up. They’re the perfect medium for what I do. I can quickly convert ideas into illustrations and share them or time-lapse videos of them on social media. I can also prepare the images for printing on metal, paper, and canvas surfaces in a variety of sizes. BIOGRAPHY: Paul Longo has lived a relatively unconventional life. In his youth, he plowed through dyslexia (before teachers had ever heard of it) and learned that there is, indeed, more than meets the eye. In college, he read Don Quijote in Spanish for the first time and discovered an interest in anthropology. He went on to complete 3 graduate degrees and has lived and worked in 7 countries and 9 states since then. Paul has taught anthropology, education, Spanish, research and evaluation methods, and ESL at 6 different universities. These days he teaches digital art to adults with developmental disabilities and non-credit ESL to adults at a local community college. Paul was also a Benedictine monk and lived in a monastery for nearly 8 years, until he met and married his wife. Together they were survivors of Hurricane Katrina as residents of New Orleans. But it was not until 2013, while living in a downtown loft in Des Moines, Iowa, that Paul complained to his wife, a CIO in higher education, about not having either a basement or a garage in which to make art. A few days later she gave Paul her old iPad with an installed drawing app and said, “here’s a studio for your lap.” Since then, not only have iPads become larger and more powerful, but the number of drawing and painting apps has increased and each one offers a unique set of features to create original artwork. Nowadays, Paul takes his "studio” everywhere he goes. Throughout his eclectic journey, Paul has created and shared his art to make sense of the world, to give voice to new identities and experiences, and to engage more intentionally with others. To view more of Paul Longo’s works, digital and otherwise, visit his social media sites: www.portfoliolongo.com, twitter, YouTube, Instagram: @plongeaux, Facebook: Paul J. Longo

Saturday Practice

The iPad painting below was supposed to be Joni Mitchell. It started out as her, and then it kinda’ became someone else. Ok, what’s this all about? Well, it started when Joni Mitchell wrote, “For Free,” a lovely song about an experience she had at an intersection on foot while “waiting for the walking green,” while she happened to hear some nearby guy playing a clarinet “real good” and “for free” all before the “signal changed.” Fast forward, I heard a newer rendition of that song performed by David Crosby and Sarah Jarosz (listen below via YouTube). I fell in love with the song, especially this newer rendition. I’m intrigued by the encapsulation of such a spacious and almost timeless experience into such a brief and situated moment; and, I just love how David and Sarah sing together. What a beautiful song! What a beautiful songwriter! So I looked for some images of Joni Mitchell, you know, to thank her and to get some Saturday practice. And I found a photo that called my attention:

[Joni Mitchell revisits her earliest recordings in “Joni Mitchell Archives — Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967).”Credit…Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images]

So here’s what I came up with on my iPad Pro using Sketch Club:

Here’s David Crosby and Sarah Jarosz performing Joni Mitchell’s For Free. I inserted the lyrics below.

For Free
Joni Mitchell (1970)
(Ok, you’ve made it this far, so check this Rolling Stone piece.)
I slept last night in a good hotel
I went shopping today for jewels
The wind rushed around in the dirty town
And the children let out from the schools
I was standing on a noisy corner
Waiting for the walking green
Across the street he stood and he played real good
On his clarinet, for free
Now me, I play for fortunes
And those velvet curtain calls
I’ve got a black limousine and two gentlemen
Escorting me to the halls
And I play if you have the money
Or if you’re a friend to me
But the one man band by the quick lunch stand
He was playing real good, for free
Nobody stopped to hear him
Though he played so sweet and high
They knew he had never been on their TV
So they passed his music by
I meant to go over and ask for a song
Maybe put on a harmony
I heard his refrain as the signal changed
He was playing real good, for free

Another guy

My wife recently reconnected over Zoom with a colleague whom she hadn’t seen for over 30 years. She mentioned that I paint on an iPad, and he expressed curiosity. So she caught an animated screenshot, and I spent 1 hour, 48 minutes in Sketch Club trying to render his image using a total of 5,644 brush strokes (Brush – 3,295; Blur – 37; Eraser – 54; Sketchy, my favorite tool – 264; and Smudge – 1994) on 2 layers with 78 undos. I’d say I came pretty close to capturing his expressive essence. Close enough for me. I’ve mentioned it before, when you spend time with someone’s features, you get to know them in a different sort of way. It might be that I get to know and maybe even broaden a certain empathetic part of me. Not completely sure.