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The Human Figure: Art by Michael Lightsey

A portrait of a man wearing a sly smileAidan, pencil on paper

Michael Lightsey is originally from Ohio and now lives and works in Los Angeles. The artist works in a range of media from photography to painting and drawing. Michael’s current body of work focuses on the human figure, rendering it in many iterations and in varying styles.

An abstract image of markings on urban pavementSoul Vestige 233, digital giclee print


I’m really impressed by Michael’s most recent pencil portraits. Drawn in black and white, these images showcase the finest details of their subjects’ faces, with on-point features that deliver lively expressions. I find the way that Michael wields his pencil reminiscent of the ink drawings of Kamwei Fong – the texture of hair and fur is built up with multitudes of visibly individual pencil or graphite marks.

The front page of Michael Lightsey's art portfolio websiteMichael's art website, Lightsey Fine Arts


In other areas of his portfolio, Michael takes a more abstracted approach. I enjoy his Soul Vestige series of photographs. These images are ostensibly close-up photographs of cracks and anomalies in pavement around Los Angeles, but removed from their context take on a new, purely formal meaning.

A pencil portrait of a young woman in profileLauren, pencil on paper

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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