by PAUL BICKLEY
Longtime Bloomington resident Adam Long, 43, doesn’t have an artist’s background. He studied elementary education and business at Franklin College and has run eBay businesses, but has no formal art training. In fact, he didn’t start painting until three years ago—and that was with his fingers instead of a brush. “I knew that the second I started painting with a brush, I’d never turn back,” he says.
You may have seen some of Long’s 84 murals—the local figures, landmarks, and events at Royal on the Eastside; the rural panorama thanking farmers on the retaining wall behind Culver’s; the Super Mario Brothers scene outside LaserLite; or the Monroe County Fair scene at the fairgrounds Community Building. Others include stone quarry and waterfall scenes covering the inside walls at Southern Stone, a night scene behind The Bluebird Nightclub, and an interactive pair of wings on the alley wall at The Bluebird, with feathers that are given depth and detail by the names of acts that have performed at the venue.
Long also paints canvases, and a 4-foot-by-8-foot rendering of the Indiana University football team taking the field at Memorial Stadium hangs in Coach Tom Allen’s office. Other works are portraits of lost loved ones, including victims of COVID-19.
Long has also undertaken several philanthropic art projects. He’s currently partnering with Bloomington’s Children’s Organ Transplant Association to help fund surgeries and transportation to doctors’ appointments. Each kid will receive a painting combining their favorite animal, place, and color; donations will be made through the purchase of prints. Several social media campaigns, including a documentary film, will introduce the kids and the project to potential donors and capture Long painting the canvases on-site at sponsoring businesses.
“I want to show my daughter that you can do what you want and still give back if you work hard,” Long says.