Trapped in Agony, an emotionally moving piece of artwork, was created by Tomasz Mrozkiewicz (Mro). This illustrator works in the United Kingdom and focuses on detailed portraits that express deep emotion. This piece of artwork, I chose, was created with pen, watercolor, and acrylic on paper, and shows a young man with tears on his face, fenced by a geometric purple crown. The portrait is in grayscale except for the crown, and one of the young man’s eye is lighter than the other. These details give an emphasis to what Mro wants his viewers to notice; although noticing details alone does not makes this piece interesting, it is the feelings about the painting that makes it beautiful.
What I feel from this piece is the sense of darkness. He seems hopeless, as if darkness has closed him off in fear and misery. People can’t always see what is going to happen to them, similar to what happens when our vision is limited by the darkness that surrounds people at night. He might be experiencing confusion or possibly a loss of someone he knows. The lack of literal light makes his eyes and his expression evoke a scary and melancholy feeling of gloom.
The lack of color in his skin makes the piece eerie. However, there are some pale pinks on his nose, shoulder, and eyes that add extra depth. The eeriness make me question Mro’s purpose for choosing this color scheme. Is the young man developing color in his black and white world? The intention of the color might even be to give the boy some liveliness. Will having color make him just alive enough to be living, or is having color a bad thing, and if so, why would it be? Color is important to the mood of the art.
In this painting, the tears that run down his face leave a dark residue, and I think of them as a permanent remnant of his pain. He will forever be marked by his emotions. People often hide emotions and most experience the shame of true emotions, which can cause emotions to be bottled up inside. Many don’t want to experience the ridicule of softness, and sometimes that ridicule comes from ourselves. I wonder if this young man is the same way, and if he is angry with himself about having his current feelings. Or is he so low that embarrassment doesn’t matter to him anymore? Unmasked and showing himself hurting shows a great amount of courage regardless of what he or others may think. His emotions stain him.
He seems hurt or enduring some sort of trial. According to the title of the artwork, he is in agony. This is a very accurate description of his expressed emotions in my opinion. Agony is a long and slow feeling that leaves someone isolated and miserable. When you look at him, you know exactly what he is feeling. Tomasz Mro did a fantastic job of creating an unquestionably true feeling in this painting.
I wonder what the young man is looking at. Is it a mirror that he sees, or is he blind? The lack of darkness in his left eye makes me think that he might be blind, but I also think that maybe the lightness in the other eye might be a symbol of only seeing good. If that was the case, the darkness in the other eye must represent only seeing the bad. The number of tears in the bright eye is much more than his dark eye. Could seeing only good things blind him? What causes the young man to cry? I wonder if it has to do with the lack of good or too much bad. Or could it be from knowing the truth of his environment or circumstances? Eyes really are the window to his sad soul.
The purple crown, to me, represents a social class indicator. The crown usually represents royalty, but I’ve never seen a crown like this. He could be in a different time or alternate universe. However, the crown seems to force his chin to be up. That reminds me of how royal people must look perfect in front of their people. Is the young man struggling to keep up the appearance? Could it be from too much responsibility for being a ruler? Another thing I thought of was whether the crown really was a crown. Could it be similar to a dunce cap and have a negative interpretation? He might be abnormal or low in power, but regardless of that, he is a human. Whether he is proud of it or not, he wears that crown.
The crown also has another meaning in my interpretation: entrapment. Once you put it on, you can’t escape from the consequences. The young man feels stuck and paralyzed. I wonder, if he could, would he hide from us, the viewer of this artwork. This, again, brings the idea of shame. The crown has trapped him, according to the title of this piece, and is imprisoned with his misery and grief for all of us to see.
Being naked reveals how sickly and skinny he looks. His dark and sunken eyes really indicate that there is a problem with his health. Through excellent shading, the sharp shape of his collarbones is emphasizing his boniness. The withered young man appears more than just sad; He looks like he is starving. I’m not exactly sure, because crying tears means that he isn’t dehydrated. I am starting to wonder what beauty means in his world. Could weakness and thinness be the glorified appearance where he is from? Is he even beautiful there? Without clothes and looking gaunt, he looks like he is in a terrible condition. My heart goes out to his wellbeing.
He is all alone in this painting. Loneliness is a big reason, in my interpretation, that he is crying. There is no one that is out there to rescue him from his distress. It would be a whole new meaning if people surrounded him, but he isn’t. If he was surrounded by family or simply anyone, would feel less alone? Would people even help cure the young man's loneliness? This makes me think that there are two different kinds of loneliness: physically alone and emotionally alone. This young man connected with me in the way that he was both emotionally and physically alone. Neither of these is enjoyable, as the visual can attests.
What is going on around him? For all that we know, this might possibly be a mug shot of a young man caught in trouble. To me, though, it has a different meaning. However, if that or a different meaning makes a better connection to you, go and think of it that way. For me, I ask these questions: Is he aware of his spectators or is he observing someone in the distance? What happened before this to cause him to cry? Will he always cry or will he go back to regular life? Is this regular life for him? Whatever it may be, I feel deeply sorry for what he is experiencing.
What ultimately convinced me to write about this picture was because it was complicated and visual. Another driving force to use this piece was the longer I looked at it, the more questions I developed. 6How I saw it, I could see myself in him. He seemed so alone and unenthusiastic about life. It connected to me so profoundly because I could see this picture showing my soul when it was at its lowest. This complex painting was like finding a friend for my broken past, and I wanted to share that friend.
The story of how I found Trapped in Agony starts with YouTube. I came across a music video with artwork that really connected with me. I decided to investigate who created the artwork from this video and it sent me to a Tumblr account with gorgeous paintings and drawings which I simply fell in love with. After looking through his collections, I actually stayed with the first art piece I saw of his. Discovering Trapped in Agony was simply by chance, but it deeply spoke to me from the start.