Robert Longo American, b. 1953


Robert Longo was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised on suburban Long Island. As a youth he participated in various arts activities from a very young age, developing an early fascination with all forms of mass media and particularly movies, television, magazines, and comic books. These hallmark influences are still incorporated into the artwork that he produces today. Longo attended State University College, Buffalo, New York, where he earned a BFA in 1975.


In order to create his works, Longo first projects photographs of his subjects onto paper and then races the figures in graphite, stripping away all details of the background. After he records the basic contours, his assistant(s) continue to work on the figure for about a week, filling in the details. Next, Longo goes back into the drawing using a combination of graphite and charcoal, to provide as he calls “all the cosmetic work.” At this point, he makes a number of changes in the figure and continues to work on the drawing until, about a week later, it is completed.