Graphite on Paper | A4 | Completed on 7 Aug 2013
This is my fourth and last artwork in the Geometric Series (for now), featuring Oscar Wilde, whom I think is one of the most brilliant writers of all time. His only published novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is one of the most beautifully written book I’ve ever read. His descriptives are charmingly vivid, but not excessive; his plot is seductively captivating, although some might argue it’s immoral. Oscar Wilde’s remarkable achievements, however, were defeated by his own sudden and premature end. On 25 May 1895, Oscar Wilde was sentenced to 2 years of hard labour for committing gross indecency with another man.
The background story is, of course, a little more complicated than that. Much of what follows came from Wikipedia, which isn’t exactly the most reliable source; for that reason, I’ve only picked out the general flow of events. In early 1895, while Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest was on play, the Marquess of Queensberry (who is the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas) (and yes, Oscar Wilde is a homosexual, if you haven’t known that yet) left a calling card at Wilde’s club, accusing him of sodomy. Sodomy was a crime back then in England, and so Wilde decided to launch a libel suit against the Marquess. Well, this wasn’t a very wise move, since Wilde really have had sexual intercourse with other men, who were found by the Marquess’ lawyers to testify in court. Wilde later decided to drop the case, and the court then declared that the Marquess’ accusation of Wilde committing sodomy was true in substance and fact. Wilde not only had to pay for the Marquess’ legal expenses (which made him bankrupt), but was also subsequently charged for sodomy and gross indecency. In the final trial in May 1895, Wilde was convicted of gross indecency, and given the maximum sentence of 2 years of hard labour. This jail sentence had effectively killed his passion for writing, and left him in a state of near-poverty. In 1900, 3 years after being released from jail, Oscar Wilde died at the age of 46.
While I admit that Wilde’s arrogance has played a large part in his own tragedy (he did sue his lover’s father), I think that the law that had him imprisoned in the first place is discriminatory against male homosexuals. This law was later abolished in the UK in 1967, and male homosexuals in the UK (and many, many other parts of the world) now do not need to fear prosecution just because they’ve had sex with another man. What’s chilling, however, is the fact that the same law is still in act in Singapore today. Yes, I’m talking about S377A of our Penal Code. I hate to politicise this blog post, so I won’t delve deeper into this topic.
Let’s go back to the artwork, shall we? =)
This artwork is my favourite within the Geometric Series, mainly because it’s the most meticulously drawn one (it has more polygons than my previous works, and the least pencil smudge marks). To give you guys an idea of how the artwork is actually done, I’ve compiled a GIF that captured the artwork in its various stages of completion! There’s some distortion in the images though, because I (stupidly) chose to take the photos from weird angles.
I drew out the triangles in Wilde’s face first, then shaded his left eye as well as the other parts of his face. I did that because, well, I’m a lazy bum, and getting his face out and recognisable first would give me more motivation to complete the artwork =). Next, I shaded his hair and filled up the remaining empty spaces with triangles. The final touches involved darkening some of the shadows on Wilde’s face, as well as smoothing out the different shades in his hair.
So as you’ve now seen, this artwork isn’t nearly as complex as it first seems, with the most difficult part of making it being completing it. And although I’ve thought of this ‘method’ by myself, it certainly doesn’t mean that no one else has done it before me! If you’ve seen similar artworks that are done by other artist, do let me know! =)
And as always, I’ve designed a desktop wallpaper for the artwork. I’ve chosen one of Wilde’s quotes that I think is fitting (and ironic, perhaps): “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”