Being Your Slave
Thursday, June 17th, 2010
A recent late-night discussion on Twitter about the movie The Pillow Book with Ewan McGregor reminded me of this piece, so I thought I’d post it for today’s art. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 57 adorns the chest of our nameless man, the swirls and strokes of hand-painted calligraphy decorating the planes and valleys of his torso.
I first painted the figure itself, and then once it was dry the painstaking brush calligraphy was applied by hand on top. I suspect the process, while far easier on the flat surface, is a lot less fun when the person in question is merely a painting.
This piece is painted on canvas board, which is primed canvas wrapped around a cardboard base rather than stretched on wooden bars. Because of the nature of the piece, it wants to lean insouciantly against a stack of books or be tucked into a nook in a bookshelf rather than framed and hung — any frame or matte it was put in would obscure part of the calligraphy.
I’m not sure if Shakespeare would approve of the use to which I’ve put his words, but given his penchant for low humour and bawdy lines, I like to think he’d be amused.