Norman Long is an oil painter based in Lancashire, UK, whose work includes portraits, figurative paintings, still life, and plein air cityscapes of London and Manchester. Owing to my own musical preferences, let’s take a look at the last group.
I’ve never been to Manchester and, although I have a distant fascination with that place based on so much excellent music that seems to have come from there, I’m not sure that I really need to visit. From the music, it seems bleak, and the above paintings certainly reinforce that.
If you’ve read Morrissey’s autobiography, you’d think that the sun never shines in Manchester, but take a look at Long’s cityscapes, painted on-site on what appear to be quite lovely days:
Though not completely devoid of people, the city’s streets seem lonely. Maybe that’s why it’s been the birthplace of so much brooding music over the years — New Order, Joy Division, The Smiths, and then later Morrissey solo.
Then again, Manchester was also home to the ecstasy-fueled Madchester scene [Happy Mondays, et al.], which was maybe a reaction to its bleak environment. In these paintings, the city seems sleepy, but not exactly bleak:
Check out the rest of Norman Long‘s work on his site.