Nigel Kingsbury, who died on January 7, 2016, was a gentle man of very few words whose art spoke for him and intrigued all those who saw it. Known to only use pencil to execute his drawings, his body of work of women in beautiful ball gowns is instantly recognisable. He was always able to seek out women in his vicinity – whether on television or in person – for his next drawing, a favourite of his being his support worker, Becky. If he wanted to draw you, he would only take occasional cheeky glances at you and smile, before placing his next line.
Nigel Kingsbury with his artwork at the exhibition 'Uninterpreted', Shape Arts, 2011. Image courtesy of ActionSpace.
With Nigel you could see that love went into every line that he drew. He lingered on every stroke of pencil, debating its placement and whether he was happy with it. Months would pass before a drawing was complete and at the end he would sign his work “Loves Nigel” or “Nigel Loves” followed by an abundance of kisses.
Nigel attended ActionSpace for over 10 years – a London-based organisation that supports artists with learning disabilities – and this is where he created most of his art. More recently, Outside In has exhibited Nigel’s work in Pallant House Gallery, CGP London and the Outsider Art Fair in Paris. His work is now in private collections across the world. Roger Cardinal said of Nigel's work, “He was such a fresh and inspired newcomer on a crowded stage.”
Nigel took great pleasure in showing his work at exhibitions, often beaming with pride and pointing to sold stickers to make sure you took note! Although not able to hold long verbal conversations, and often communicating through signing and gestures only, he gave so much back without words and will be sorely missed by many. We know his art will be enjoyed for years to come.
by Jennifer Gilbert