Part of what makes portraiture so magnetic is the skillful artist’s ability to capture the essence of an individual’s character, their personality traits as conveyed via subtle variations in physiognomy.
Artists, and especially photographers, have become increasingly interested in telling the tale of homeless populations, whose often worn and frightened appearance communicates so much about their day-to-day experiences. Artist Neil Shigley is one such creative mind using his own methods to document San Diego’s homeless population — “many of whom are from the streets in his neighborhood near downtown,” the Bread & Salt Gallery suggests. In what could come as a shock to some viewers, many of Shigley’s works are completed on a massive scale, their immediacy and detail confronting audiences immediately.
Shigley’s recent works will be on display at Bread & Salt Gallery in San Diego beginning September 12. The gallery reports, “The incredible character that life on the streets has given these individuals is captured through large-scale block prints and graphite drawings. These portraits from Shigley’s ongoing series ‘Invisible People’ show great nobility, beauty, strength, and vulnerability — characteristics that are there if we only look. Shigley’s ability to capture the essence of each individual reminds viewers that this was most likely not the life any of these individuals dreamed of as children. Each of his subjects has a family, friends, and a story of why they are where they are.”
“Neil Shigley: Invisible Drawings and Prints” opens on September 12 and will be on view through October 31.
To learn more, visit Bread & Salt Gallery.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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