Born to Italian parents, Aldo Luongo was raised in Argentina. He recalls, "From the day I was born everyone seemed to have an idea of what I should be. My father wanted me to be a businessman and professional soccer player, same as he. My mother wanted me to become a concert pianist, and my favorite uncle wanted me to become a painter. Funny how life unfolds."
While growing up Luongo was exposed to several of the arts including painting and playing the piano. However, his true love was playing soccer. In fact, after graduating from the Academy of Fine Art in Buenos Aires, he played professional soccer for the New York Generals. A few relocations, injuries, and a stint as a jewelry designer later, Luongo completed the circle by returning to painting.
From his acrylics to his fine art prints, Luongo's pieces embody a sense of fluidity and intensity; the results of a true artist engaged in a passionate process of creation. Whether he is portraying a romantic enclave, a frenzied sporting event, or a richly textured landscape, central to all of Luongo's paintings is the balance between memory and hope, sorrow and humor, freedom and control.
These dynamics are clearly seen in his figurative works, especially those portraying "The Hawk," his archetypal character spun from the memory of his father and his discovery of his future self. It is the most enduring single image in the paintings of Luongo. The Hawk is a character that has evolved throughout Luongo's career and is his single most meaningful symbol.
Originally, the Hawk was an homage to the artist's father, Rafael Celestino Luongo, who passed away in the early 70's. Out of this tragic loss was born a new creation. While contemplating his father, the artist realized that in many ways he was the ideal man. A figure that appealed to both men and women, who possessed a personality of charm, charisma, and grace; Rafael epitomized Luongo's conception of the quintessential man. Thus The Hawk was born.
Though never meant to resemble Luongo's father physically, the Hawk personifies his spirit. He represents the appreciation of quality, the hunger of life, and living it to the fullest. He is virile and wise, often surrounded by friends. His essence is captured in the knowing sparkle of his gaze. Originally, the Hawk was merely a personal project. However, while picking up paintings from the studio, a deliveryman mistakenly included the first Hawk portrait in the group. Before Luongo noticed it missing, it was sold.
As he created further Hawk paintings, the concept began to evolve. Instead of the future his father might have had, the Hawk became the future Luongo would like to live. The Hawk came to embody Luongo's ideals, his notion of the good life. He began to portray him in a variety of moods: the somber, the reflective, and the exuberant. Throughout it all, the secret lay in his eyes. People respond so positively to the Hawk that Luongo has had numerous requests for commissions from people who would like their portraits painted with the Hawk.
The Hawk, as described by Luongo, has only 10 or 15 minutes left on the clock of life, "but he's living life to the fullest and going out in style. I want to be like him in my twilight years." Wouldn't most of us? Luongo's paintings are thus an amalgam of moods, tones, and explorations, of times remembered and days to come. Each of Luongo's paintings captures more than just the viewer's gaze, they echo the emotions and experiences of a life lived to the fullest.
Ocean Galleries was very honored to host a show of Aldo Luongo's pieces in 2000 and again in 2017.