Malaysian artist Haze Long is on cloud nine, and we don’t blame her – superstar Jennifer Lopez shared her work on Instagram, and that’s a huge deal.
It all began when a fan approached Long through her YouTube channel, to commission an art piece of Jennifer Lopez. “I normally get fans who approach me to draw their favourite celebrities. It turns out, one of the girls owns a few fan accounts on Instagram. She had always wanted to paint Lopez but didn’t know how. So she commissioned me to create an artwork and tutorial for her to learn. As the “pay-what-you-want” model fully funds my YouTube channel, she was free to make any donation fee once I’ve completed,” said Long.
But what Long wasn’t aware of was that the fan works closely with Lopez’s team. When the artwork was completed, she shared it with Lopez’s team, and they posted it last month on the 51-year-old multi-hyphenate star’s Instagram account.
And we must add, it’s a close resemblance to the star who doesn’t seem to age at all.
Long, a painter by trade, trained to become a muralist a decade ago. Part of her work involves a performance element, where she usually completes a painting within a song’s duration.
“At that time, the term speed painting wasn’t coined yet, and it was only later that I learned that the performance that I’ve been doing is called speed painting. The performance usually lasts four minutes or less. Other than this, I’ve also been working on fine art,” Long shared with Yahoo Lifestyle SEA in an interview.
Growing up, Long never harboured the ambition to be an artist; she was more attracted to business or technology fields – anything to do with numbers or coding. The artist shared a pivotal moment in her life when she realised her interest had changed: “I was 22 when my dad passed on, and I realised I did not want to lead a hectic life. I chose to have a more peaceful career, and I feel that art has given me a lot of peace in that sense. Whenever I am working on an art piece, it almost feels like meditating, and I get into a zone where it’s peaceful.”
During Malaysia’s movement control order lockdown amid the pandemic, Long focused her attention on her YouTube channel, and amassed a huge following with her Procreate demos and tutorials (Procreate is a digital illustration app available on iPad).
“People started asking for learning resources, and I’ve been providing them on my website hazelong.com at a “pay-what-you-want” model. It gives a lot of artists out there a chance to develop their skills at zero to low cost,” Long shared with us.
Some of us may believe choosing art as a career is not the easiest way of making a living, but more of us are now following our dreams and opting for unconventional career options. However, our society may sometimes discourage creative careers for being unsustainable in the long run. But, Long thinks we need more artists than ever before, in today’s modern world.
“Creative medium is an extremely exportable product that can directly represent the identity of the artist’s culture and country. Japan’s manga is globally consumed, leading to more similar products - anime, games, shows, and music to be exported worldwide. South Korea is having the same outreach as well with their webtoons and K-dramas. Therefore, artists should be encouraged to create modern pieces that include cultural elements that can represent their identity. This would be good for any economy in the long run,” Long stressed.
Will we see more celebrity artworks from Long herself? She shared that she is not stopping any time soon and is open to more ideas. “I have many ideas in mind, but I can only hope they come to fruition. I think local celebrities would be thrilled to see my interpretation of them,” Long said.
We’d be shook to see artworks of Lawrence Wong, Zoe Tay or Dato Siti Nurhaliza, don’t you think?