At the age of 25 as a recent arrival from Australia to the US during the ‘70’s, Brett-Livingston Strong used a 116 ton fallen boulder on a Malibu highway to create a likeness of John Wayne in the Century Plaza Mall in full public view. The sculpture was later sold to an executive from Scottsdale, Arizona.
Strong learned to carve in stone as a young boy working in a stonemason’s yard carving tombstones. Born in 1954, by the age of 16 he exhibited for the first time in Sydney. Two years later as a result of winning a competition, he exhibited in a traveling national art scholarship show. In 1972 he exhibited sculptures and paintings with sculptor Henry Moore at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. By 1977, after receiving a grant from the Australian Arts Council and Trade Commission to exhibit his work around the world, he arrived in California.
Over the years Strong has executed numerous portrait commissions in bronze and oils for personages from John Lennon to Dr. Armand Hammer. In the ‘90’s his portrait of Michael Jackson was reputed to have received the largest amount paid to a living artist for a portrait; a record 2.1 million dollars.
In 1996, his first Museum exhibition was held at West Valley Art Museum (then known as Sun Cities Museum of Art) showing a cross-section of his work including the Lennon and Jackson portraits.
George Palovich, curator, West Valley Art Museum