Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Sacrifice by HeartGear Sacrifice by HeartGear
This piece was my final project for my life drawing class.

All three figures are me.

Me with long hair in a white dress sitting on the sacrificial altar.
Me with short hair and a black suite offering a flaming torch to....
Me with medium hair in a gray hoodie, undecided.

The setting is my church.

The piece was supposed to be a self-portrait.

I wanted to illustrated the conflict throughout my life, of whether or not to sacrifice my feminine aspect, in order to get on with the institution, my family, and my community. The me in black is the person I feel pressured to be. The me in white is the person I wish I could be. And the me in gray is the one who must make the decision. Accept the torch. Burn the witch. Or reject the torch, and become in part an enemy of all those who raised and loved me.

I wanted this to be communicated in this piece, without having to explain it.
Whether or not I was successful, is up to you.

I received a good grade, but I remember my teacher not understanding the message. Maybe it's because, at the time, I was still pretty closeted about this.

My only regret is the quality of this image. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to scan a piece this large in. Instead, I had to rely on a photograph.

The illustration is quite large, about 4'x3'.

It currently hangs in my parent's basement.

Add a Comment:
KeyLimePi Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2012
There isn't much I can say that hasn't already been said with regards to the depth of this portrait. Just know that, for whatever it's worth, I find it very impressive and a wonderful insight into how Heart Gear's mind functions. :heart:

It gives me thought into my own situation and the people I must tell.
saintvulcan Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012  Student General Artist i bet sigmon frued has something to say about this lol

looks great
krystafer Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012
I mostly got it before I read your explanation... but I live it too...
It is a powerful and beautiful piece.
Hipper-Reed Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012
You have a way of using black and white that causes me envy. The shading, the tone, the emotions from each player. Wow . . . .

I think it DOES fit your message about having to make a choice and I can certainly sympathize with you.
HeartGear Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you ^^
Xombiexarx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
That is a wonderful piece.
Angelos-Griever Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
You are who you are.

Nice piece.
RacqD Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
That is beautifully atmospheric and I get a big gothic feeling from the setting.
Got to say, an intriguing, individual and innovative way to present a self-portrait.
Squinting my eyes at it, at least for me, brings out a monochromatic photographical look to it.
stgulik Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
Uah. o.o That's some artwork with a strong impact and the message is one with which I certainly can sympathize... it wasn't church for me, but it was certainly all the rest of it. Ultimately I did reject the torch and have been ostracized. I'm glad to be myself though...
HeartGear Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Hopefully some vestiges of what was good in your "black side" persists.
stgulik Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012
Yes... re-integration of myself has been a long, messy, complex process, and not done even now. But there is value in all three of those figures!
neumam123 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
This piece really speaks to me and so love your style of art. I chose my gray side and managed to keep both black and white luckily, guess all 3 of me walked out of the church all together hugging.
HeartGear Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I found any alchemic union of the black and the white impossible. Ultimately, the community I was raised by rejects the thing I am. This would eventually grow a deep set bitterness in my heart, and essentially made my decision for me.

It's hard to stare hate in the face without being deeply disturbed.

Now I do my best to manage the black side of myself. Unlike what some may suggest, I can never truly escape my family/ upbringing. And why should I? They did the best they knew how, and love me as best they can. But the fact remains that I contradict their paradigm, and that complicates matters.
14bj337 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
This is awesome, and so meaningful! I love how you draw multiple versions of yourself, to demonstrate the multiple parts of who you are as a person, and the dissonance between them. A you whom you want to be, a you whom you're expected to be, and a you who has to make the decision: to kill one, to kill the other, or to leave both alive? The internal conflict is captured marvelously well (not to mention, it's very well-drawn; very artistically beautiful).
HeartGear Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Ultimately neither can truly be killed. Even if I chose one or the other, they still persist in certain ways.

Thanks for the comment!
Bobalog123 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thats amazing, and the message is well put across without being overly complex. Awesome.
God-bless-you-all Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow...amazing work. I love how each person is you. Very creative and awesome! :meow:
Soldatoflife Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
A very deep representation of what has been taking place in your mind and beyond. I long ago made the choice not to be involved in any religions whatsoever. My mother has most of her life (and still is) been spiritual and open to all ideas. My father doesn't practice Catholicism even if he's supposed to be catholic. The only thing I've ever been criticized is my hair by my family. It must truly be difficult to be pressured not only by your family, but by the faith that you possibly adhere to. The best way to be yourself it to adhere to only things that you consider represent well who you are. If the faith you are a part of don't accept you, then that means you may not be following the right faith. You could either distance yourself from it while still taking in what you consider right or leave it, though it may or may not be difficult depending on your situation and your involvement in it.
HeartGear Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
It's all very epic when I think about it on the grand scale, or allow myself to wallow in the bitterness and self-righteousness I feel. An individual vs. an institution. A single soul standing up for love and tolerance in a society of hate and ignorance.


It's much LESS epic when I think about it on the personal scale. Mrs. and Mr. W who I've done yard work for, who invited me in for lemonade, who we laughed and talked together. The R's and watching their house for them, who I cared for their dog. All my teachers and classmates and friends and family members who we shared videogames together, sleepovers and birthday parties, Christmas and vacations.

It's tragic, I suppose, that all that can be CORRUPTED by one core aspect.
Instead, though, I think it's more accurate to say it was COMPLICATED by it.

To truly give up your family and the community that raised you, to turn your back on it, even become enemies to it, is a crushing loss. It may seem noble, but the brass tacks of it are much less so. When it comes down to it, they weren't rejecting all of me. They weren't even knowingly doing it. So how fare would it be for me to reject all of them?

No, it is only that one facet of their personal bias I reject.

I try with all my might to still be a good peer, friend, brother, and son to all that have loved me.
Soldatoflife Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012
So you will try to continue your current life while being yourself? I hope that the people you care for will become either more tolerant, a bit less complicated or at best understanding (and appreciative) of who you are.
kalistina Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Wow, that piece really is something. I’m particularly impressed by the way your white self and your black self have very different facial hair, and therefore look like two totally different people, even though it’s an aspect of the entity you represent in both cases.

I... had such a pondering time, at some point. For my gender, but not exclusively. One of the reasons why I feel choices are this important is precisely because I had so many choices to make. Male/female, scientist/artist, rationalist/believer...
Most of these aspects aren’t complete oppositions (well, except for my gender - I chose to discard my male gender as much as possible). The scientific knowledge I accumulated remains and actually helps my art, and as for my rationalism, it’s become an everyday tool instead of a way of life, making room for belief in my upper levels of thought.

A picture I’ve been wanting to draw/paint for a pretty long time (depending on the precise layout, probably more than four years for older sketches), representing some of these choices. Ideally, it’d be about multiple pathways and the willing discarding of some of them in order to further advance on other pathways. I think you’ve roleplayed; think min/maxing.
This picture definitely makes me want to make mine.

Also, interestingly enough, these three you form a Power Trio (gray ego, black superego, white id). Although I’m not a grand fan of psychoanalysis as a whole, there definitely are a few of the ideas it invented (i.e. found) that I find very useful.
That the you people expect you to be is black, whereas the you you’d rather be is white, feels very moving.

... Anyway. It’s impressive how much you can tell in one picture. I’ll admit to not necessarily being able to understand the message without your explanations, but I am adore it nonetheless.

HeartGear Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
"That the you people expect you to be is black, whereas the you you’d rather be is white, feels very moving."

Thanks for saying so!
It's ironic. In Al's tradition (that's my girlfriend), white is generally associated with death while black with life. In a way, that reflects the situation: a past life, that one must die to in order to truly live. Quite Christian if you think about it.

In the traditions I was raised, however, white always signified purity what black to corruption. At the time I made this I was just starting to come out to Alex about all of this, so my feelings were very positive toward a "True" self while I held a deepset bitterness toward the institution that had rejected that, hence the blackness for the corruption of blind hate.

Also also, white is associated with LIGHT and black with DARKNESS. The light that illuminates the truth, vs the darkness that hides it. Being closeted vs. coming out.

Al often says that words have power. So to with colors.

Thanks for your comment. I would encourage you to finish your own piece. It can be profoundly cathartic.
Wimpe Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012
Not to sound overly glib, and neither to over-simplify what must be a very complicated situation, but does your previous comment hold out a slim possibility of the seed of a solution (or at least a possible compromise) to your dilemma?

Alex sounds like a wonderfully-accepting girl. Publically present whatever fascade you two believe necessary to keep your family ties intact, but whatever you two elect to do behind closed doors is NO ONE else's beeswax! If it means you and her moving far away to limit the number of ill-imed, unwanted, no-warning visitations, then so be it.
Thordis-System Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
its a great piece of work. i like it a lot and recognize the emotions you put into it from people i've known that have been in similiar situations.
K-chan21 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
i like it. i may not have gotten the message, but that's on me. still, i understand exactly where you're coming from. it's not always an easy choice.
HeartGear Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
No, it's not an easy choice.
JillianNC Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
Well done and well said. I know those feelings well.
PetnaMeds Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The communication worked just fine. :)
Great job!
Angela999 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
That's pretty much how all trans people feel, so I can totally relate. Good job, I would have given you an A. ;)
HeartGear Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I can relate. I must say though that, from my understanding, God doesn't favor institutions. I'm glad you haven't sacrificed the girl on the altar, she brings so much joy to the world.
HeartGear Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Well see, my problem has never been with God. I believe God loves me just the way I am. But the Lutheran Missouri Synod is another matter entirely.
I understand. That must be tough. I've dealt with my share of that too, though not with the Lutherans; a lot of people in my family are Southern Baptists. I've never been one myself, but I've spent more time than I care to in some of their churches.
kinkykiki123 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
This picture honestly knocks me off my feet. This honestly speaks such volume! I Truely wish I could have a copy of this. The messsage was clear for me. I don't know what else to say about it other then I love it!
Add a Comment:

Featured in Collections


Submitted on
January 24, 2012
Image Size
234 KB
Submitted with


2,932 (1 today)
27 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
1/60 second
Focal Length
6 mm
Date Taken
Jan 22, 2010, 3:42:44 PM
Adobe Photoshop CS4 Macintosh


Creative Commons License
Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.