OBPC 2013: Neil Shigley Artist Interview

OBPC 2013: Neil Shigley Artist Interview


He was an individual full of life for lack of better term really happy guy, sincere guy when
I approached him a lot of the people I see down there are sleeping wherever they have a spot but
he had actually kinda crafted a little space for himself and was actually
sweeping the sidewalk when I found him and he was kinda down on his knee when I walked up he kind of got up real quickly and straightened himself up and introduced himself so he was interesting really what’s the word kind of an honest
approach this guy approached me and the conversation we had was enriching
to me, which is not usual I asked him why he was there and he said “I have to be here, there’s people here who need me” so he called himself pastor Shelby all of the rest of my portraits I give a first name so that’s why I typed Michael but he wanted to be addressed as pastor Shelby so his role was to minister to people on the street and I asked him what about you
know how do you deal with the elements and he said “I am the elements” As an artist, I’m drawn to the character
which it’s incredible character that’s really hardened through many years of life in the streets
sometimes and it’s a character that I think that’s maybe the only way they can
earn that – Is pastor Shelby still with us? – Oh yeah, and I looked for him after to show him the piece but never found him, a lot of people were kind of well I saw him on F Street the other day but couldn’t find him which is not uncommun. I think that for many people who encounter people on the streets, they kind of ignore them, act as if they’re
not there, they actively make them invisible so I have this kind
of informal title “Invisible People” and by showing these images wherever I can and hear his unbelievable showcase here and by the scale that I do them in which is
large, I think it forces people that encounter them to confront these
individuals in some way and that chronicle (inaudible) is a complex issue and I have no answers to that but perhaps somebody who does see these will have some answers, somebody much smarter than me will have some answers at least make some effort to do something which I’m not sure what that is but any effort at all is a good thing, helping one person in any way is a good thing

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