Friday, September 18, 2009

Dorian's Picture in Black and White

The lovely and enormously hard working Alicia Caudle over on altered bits has just put out the latest bumper edition of her eZine.
The latest theme is black and white and honestly she has sooo out done herself here. The zine is so enormous it has had to be uploaded in two sections. It is jam packed full with art from an amazing array of artists. Honestly there is something in there for everyone and you can access it for free. What are you waiting for!!!

Stop!!! At least wait to read the rest of this post first, LOL!

I will be so terribly disappointed if you don't as I'm in it!!!

Here's the cover, a sneaky peek at everyones work is in there somewhere.

My own contribution is an assemblage based on the Oscar Wilde novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'.
A fabulous read if you have never gotten around to reading it and you like gothic horror novels, and it is relatively short if you have limited time to spare.
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (wow now there's a mouthful and yes he was Irish) was one of the most notorious and successful playwrights of the late Victorian era. He is probably best known for his play 'The Importance of Being Earnest' (which I also love) and his biting wit. Wilde lived what could possibly best be termed a colourful life and 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' probably reflects much about his views on the social circles he moved within as the novel is set in Wilde's contemporary times.

Oscar Wilde

The story first appeared as a short story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890. I have used a copy of the magazine image and altered the colours to greyscale to fit in with the black and white theme. Wilde did several rewrites of the original story adding further background material to flesh out the character of Dorian Gray. The end result is a classic piece of gothic horror which still rates as a good read today.

The basic plot revolves around the central character, Dorian Gray and a portrait painting of Dorian done by an artist friend who is taken with Dorian's beauty. The artist introduces Dorian to Lord Henry who espouses hedonistic views and gradually Dorian becomes aware that his beauty will eventually fade and in desperation wishes that the image in the portrait would age instead of himself. The wish is fulfilled. Dorian gradually begins to slip into Lord Henry's hedonistic life, surpassing his mentor and eventually his moral decline leads him to explore a life of vice and sin which eventually lead him to commit a series of murders to enable him to continue living his decadent life. The portrait changes with each new sin committed, twisting and aging the subject as it reflects Dorians debauched life. Dorian of course remains unchanged, still the vision of the beautiful youth, but underneath the shell lies a corrupt and degraded man.
Here's the original cover of the Lippincott publication in which the story appears in print for the first time.

In order to represent the story in an assemblage it was necessary to reinvent the idea of the 'portrait' from the story. To convey the sense of change that the portrait undergoes I decided to remove various sections of the portrait to represent the change the picture undergoes as Dorian slips further along his path of moral decay and decline. In the portrait for the assemblage only the eyes of the portrait remain, the rest eaten away by Dorian's decline into hedonism. The background is the altered Lippincott cover, changed to gray scale in keeping with the b&w theme. The other supporting items relate to the various sins Dorian commits over his life to continue his decadence unopposed.
Here's the piece.

The piece formed quickly as they sometimes do and you find yourself in the zone. I was thrilled to be in Alicia's zine and especially when I look at the other artistic endeavours included here. The range of pieces for inclusion is astounding and I love everyone's differing ideas and pieces within the central theme and can't wait for the next one. (I have already started on some ideas!) Alicia has slaved away tirelessly to get the mag up online with the result that she is in need of a good rest and recuperative period. Hope your feeling the love hon, enjoy your rest you well and truly deserve it. Thank you for all your efforts, they have been amazing!
So there you have it. Please visit the mag here and drop in to Alicia's blog and leave a little love
to let her know you took the time to visit. It is truly inspiring to find people who devote huge time and effort in order that we can enjoy these publications for free. It isn't everyday you can say that anymore. You can also visit the other contributing artists blogs. Their contact details are on the mag too!
Two pieces of interesting info from researching Dorian Gray and Oscar Wilde!
1. Quote from Dorian Gray-
"Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter... it is rather the artist who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself."
True I believe. Our art work speaks volumes about us, the artists, and loudly too!
2. Just a month before his death Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go."
(I know what he meant, LOL!)
Sadly the wallpaper won.
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La Dolce Vita said...

Kim, this is spectacular work! I think you have really outdone yourself! I will go and check it out, I wanted to get a piece submitted, but I just couldn't get all my work done in time.
Love all the interesting bits about Oscar! and this was one of my fav stories in school! and he was right about how we reveal ourselves.
I have lots of ?'s so will chat later!!xo

Debrina said...

Yours is an absolute knockout Kim! I felt a bit embarrased when mine came after yours - "How could I POSSIBLY live up to that????" I thought...then I turned the next page...and it was mine. Arrggghhh!Lol.
I love Oscar Wilde too and you have done such a good job with your interpretation. I actually couldn't turn the page in the zine for quite sometime because I had to keep looking at all the detail on yours!

Debrina said...

PS. It was fabulous to read the thought processes behind your piece. I remembered the wallpaper quote as I was reading down your posting and lo...there it is, you clever thing!
Such a witty bugger(er?) wasn't he?? I love him.

Lisa said...

Kim, your piece is outta this world WOW.. i love what you've done.. and it such a fitting opening to the zine..really knocks your socks off as the first piece. Of interest and coincidence..i just bought "The Works of Oscar Wilde" at a garage sale for a dollar a few weeks ago and Dorian Grey is included in the book..can't wait to read it! Congrats again on a stellar work of art!

Jo Archer said...

When you left a comment on my page Kim, I had no idea it was you that did the brilliant Dorian Grey piece. I love it!

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Such a great post Kim and your Dorian Gray piece is inspired and inspiring!!! Fantastic details, Love all the details you shared with us!

rivergardenstudio said...

Your work here is incredible... and the story of Dorian Gray... this assemblage is fantastic! I will check out altered bits... thank you for this early morning inspiration! Roxanne

Kelly Jeanette said...

Wow, Kim, that is a great piece, so dark and moody with only the eyes showing. I love A Picture of Dorian Gray.I think you did a wonderful job on it.

alteredbits said...

i am so very in love with your piece, as you know, and even more so now that i've read the story and thought process behind it in more detail. i wish he lived on my wall, right above debrina's book on my wee shelf and next to lisa's amazing fabric collage. have you already sold it? if not, i'm saving up (if you think it should ship so far)!

i LOVE the quotes you added. i keep reading them over and over, then scrolling up to look at your piece again. you are such an amazing and inspirational artist, my friend!

thank you so much for submitting, AND for all of your kind and wonderful words. i hope you're feeling better!!

huge hugs! trying to catch up on emails and yours is in the next couple of responses, but for now, the little man has requested i assist in the building of a castle.

Marie said...

Kim, I am so very impressed with your piece and your writing is fantastic. You are very talented indeed! I will look at the altered bits zine when I get a good block of time. Thank you so much for sharing all of this.
(Really enjoyed your last comment on my blog. Thanks a bunch!)

Kelly Jeanette said...

Wah! I just found out that the new Dorian Gray movie will not be released in the US. Wah!

Debrina said...

Oh I forgot to tell you about the TEXT! Arrrggh. Sorry :-(
Ok, as you know I am a librarian, so of course, I'm always on the lookout for books that need chucking - but instead of going into the bin, when they've reached their used-by date, they come to me. I got a whole heap of that text from a history of design and illustration. I'll be sure to scan some for ya and send via email.

Kerin said...


I am blown away by your Dorian Gray piece. It is brilliant visually and all the more impressive with everything you put into it.

Seth said...

This is a fantastic creation, made better by the explanation you have included here. And I agree that the zine turned out incredibly!

Studio Sylvia said...

Hi Kim. Discovered your blog via The Weaver. The movie of Dorian Gray was a favourite B & W movie. Your piece is brooding and haunting. Great piece.

Luna said...

Wow it´s fantastic! I love what you have made from it.

ArtPropelled said...

Your Dorian Gray piece is wonderful!