Search icon


17th Apr 2020

Irish artist gets huge reaction to his ‘pandemic portraits’

Sarah Finnan

Pandemic Portraits

Shane Gillen is turning heads with his ‘pandemic portraits’.

Dublin-based Shane Gillen is a self-taught Irish artist, who specialises in “arresting and detailed portraiture” as well as digital media influenced by pop culture, politics and urban street art.

And his artwork has been causing quite the stir online as of late, grabbing the public’s attention with his so-called ‘pandemic portraits’.

Having only recently rediscovered his love of art while in lockdown, his portraits of leading Irish figures have proven to be a big hit. Sharing his work on social media, so far Shane has uploaded a number of portraits, each based on photos of well-known Irish personalities – including drawings of Michael D Higgins, Gay Byrne (photo taken by Mark Nixon), Leo Varadkar, Bono and Dr. Tony Holohan.

People have been extremely impressed by the Dublin man’s talent, with the family of Gay Byrne even reaching out to express their admiration at his work. Not forgetting Michael D, who responded with a personalised letter of thanks.

Sharing the letter in full to his Twitter and Instagram, Shane wrote:

“Ah lads, what a day. I am so honoured to have received a letter from President Michael D. Higgins for my artwork. It’s *INSANE* to me. Thank you, everyone, for the love, a lotta imposter syndrome going on for me right now tbh. Hope you’re all keeping safe. Thanks so much for all the support as well, I’m trying to get back to as many people as I can. Major love.”

Saying that he has plans for a full series of portraits based around various Irish figureheads, we can’t wait to see what well-known personality he’ll take next.

(Header images courtesy of @itsgillen)

READ NEXT: 10 simple pleasures Dubliners are missing right now