Meet Artist Roger Leonard Long

The Artist

Roger Leonard Long

Born in Jackson, Tennessee and raised in Ridgeland, MS, I am a photo realist portrait artist and illustrator known for bold and accurate portraits. From childhood, I had an affinity for pencil and portraiture which was encouraged by my mother and teachers from my grade school years. Thus, my works show a keen understanding of the human face and anatomy. Many say my drawings are so real they appear to breathe.
Largely self-trained, I was inspired by my cousin and respected American social realist artist, Charles White. I became an entrepreneur fresh out of high school, supporting myself solely as a full time artist through my home-based studio, Portrait Phenomena (est. 1999).
Every face on earth is different. Each time I draw I have the pleasure of experiencing the sensation that comes from that reality. A single face can show so many expressions, capture such a wide range of emotions and tell a story.
What a camera can do with a moment in time I can capture with pencil. I truly believe that we take realities for granted until they are recreated to be contemplated and appreciated. When someone stands back and says, “It’s not that person but, wow, it looks just like them!” Then I know my job as a portraitist is done.
My drawings have been used for album art, posters and book covers and can be found among many private and corporate collections including public official’s offices. I have exhibited regionally at venues such as; Jackson Municipal Art Gallery, Eudora Welty Library and Barnes and Nobles Booksellers.
I have also enjoyed friendships with nonprofit charity organizations such as the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital, for which I completed tile works. I am also a member of the Mississippi Artist Guild. In 2007, I was inducted in Marquis’ Who’s Who in the World. I am also a member of Mississippi Artist’s Guild since 2012.
I am now represented by my studio, located in Ridgeland, MS. Portrait Phenomena Studio is a division of my dance performing/visual arts business- Go Long Productions. To commission a custom original, illustration or for more information contact me at portraitphenomena@yahoo.com.

“ON CREATING A LIKENESS”

When photographs are selected for a piece, I first study the textures, values and composition to make sure the drawings I derived from them have intensity. Beyond all else, though, it’s the eyes that tell the story. Joy, sadness, mystery…What is it that this person is thinking?

The expression in the eyes is complimented by other aspects of the face. Above the eyes, the eyebrows may be arched or relaxed. The cheeks may be rounded in a smile causing the eyes to squint. The lips may be curled slightly upward or downward, telling more about the subject. The head may be slightly tilted, adding even more personality.

When the portrait is of a full or half body figure, it can add even more to a likeness. The position of the shoulders can show excitement or wonder. The hands may show nervousness, relaxation or style. Next to importance to the eyes is the hair. I love drawing it-the textures and styles. Once, someone said they recognized me from behind, just because of my hair. I feel hair can add a lot of realism and form to the true likeness of a person.

Every face on earth is different. Each time I draw I have the pleasure of experiencing the sensation that comes from that reality. A single face can show so many expressions, capturing such a wide range of emotions. Perhaps what I capture can make people look a little bit closer at a person they thought they knew with a new appreciation.

The beauty of photographs is that they can capture people in moments of time but I truly believe that we take the human form for granted until it is captured and recreated. Then we stand back and say, “It’s not that person but, wow, it looks just like them!” When I can help people to see this more clearly then I know my job as an artist is done.

Calendar of Events

artist guild logoGroup Exhibition featuring works by Roger Leonard Long Location: Jackson Municipal Art Gallery October-November 2017 FREE

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