Hugh Leeman

Hugh Leeman, a local San Francisco artist collaborates with Agency Charlie for the Bold Italic project. They feature Hugh’s recent portrait subject labeled ‘Blue’, and White Walls Gallery owner on a clearer social mission for the hopes of the future of Tenderloin district of San Francisco.


“These works depict the friends I have made who live on the inner city streets, many whom I’ve meet through my San Francisco based t-shirt project. The painting is initiated by placing non galvanized sheets of steel outside, forcing them to be weathered by the elements. This will create the first layers of rust which as applied by mother nature’s hand creates a natural aesthetic, uncontrolled by myself. After recollecting the steel panels from under the freeway, a method of reactionary improvisation takes place, where I work into the rust what will be become the focal point of the portrait by using thin successive washes of oil paint. Applying acid washes over portions of the painting contributes an unknown aesthetic outcome concluding in the addition of colors and texture to the portrait.

These works highest aspiration is to make the medium the message, as the final product represents a conceptual metaphor to the process through which they were created. By taking something meant for inside, a person or non galvanized steel, and placing it outside we see something created from the environment in which it was placed. These pieces alchemic outcome alludes to fragility and transformation which can be seen at once full of character and beauty while conveying the vulnerable impermanence life is defined by.”
-Hugh Leeman