While I know that it’s not my mission to take an artist’s work and apply it personally and individually, I simply can’t help viewing each WBS submission through the lens of my own existence. While this may distort the original message that the artist intends to send, this is a beautiful blessing of artwork in general: the fact that each work is open to personal interpretation and the fact that different individuals might approach the same work of art from different viewpoints and thereby walk away with different interpretations. Keeping this in mind, I hope it is not out of line for me to say that when I lay eyes on this piece I am overcome with thoughts and feelings related to the love that I share for my beautiful wife. Yes, I know that this is probably not a subject of interest for the faithful readers and viewers of WBS, but without her this project would have become defunct long ago. She has been my strength and my rock, my support system and my encourager, my partner and my critic, my alpha and omega. If you enjoy this project, then you owe a small thank you to her for keeping this crazy thing going for so long. And also, of course, I owe a special thank you to Laura for this inspiring submission that is able to rouse such overpowering feelings of love and admiration…
Every day, all around us, energy swirls and pools in eddies and puddles of unknown magnitude. There are forces at work in this world that are beyond our imagination and exceed the musings of our wildest dreams. Each step we take, we wade through streams of power and rivers of universal agency that set in motion the mysteries of our very existence. Some enigmas are known to us and some are not. And while we may not know the answers the riddles, we are familiar with the questions themselves: What exists inside the annals of the wolf’s animalistic mind? What is his greatest desire? How does he commune with the infinite universe that surrounds him? How is his existence similar to or different from mine?
It’s questions like these that sometimes keep me awake at night, and although I know these mysteries are unsolvable, this doesn’t mean that pursuing their ends is not a worthwhile endeavor. As I take in all that David has to offer in this magnificent portrait, I’m reminded of these universal enigmas and of the unrevealed secrets that the almighty universe has chosen to keep from our uncomprehending minds. As humans we have explored these mysteries with theories, estimations, symbols and philosophies, but we may never know the truth.
Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries of all is whether we are the most capable of creatures in exploring these questions. We set ourselves as lords above the physical reality in which we exist, but what if there is one among us who understands these eternal riddles more readily than we do… and he just won’t tell us the answers?
Having relinquished my official role as a student for quite some time now, the world of formal education has become a relatively foreign place to me. Given this fact, it came as quite a surprise when Jecobia sent me this tasteful video which she produced for a small classroom project. To say I was honored would be quite the understatement. While I have always hoped that this global gallery of lupine artwork might serve to inspire a smile from time to time or create a pleasant diversion from the rigors of daily life, I had never imagined that it might provide some educational value to America’s youth. I couldn’t be more pleased than to imagine a group of students taking note of WBS and using it to further their studies. So, to Jecobia, if you are reading this: Stay in school and keep on the straight and narrow path. Always allow your heart to be your guide and trust your instincts. Search for inspiration in the unusual and never allow detractors to distract you from your goals and dreams. Also, while you pursue the soul of your education, don’t neglect the education of your soul. And finally, always keep that small and sacred part of your heart reserved for the wolf; it will never lead you astray.
While aggressive wolves with teeth bared in militant hostility are often the focus of lupine artwork, the talented young Laura offers a different perspective with her lighthearted portrait of a particularly friendly subject with an almost goofy smile. And while some individuals might say that this is not an accurate depiction of the noble savage, it does capture a very real side of the beast – a side that desires acceptance and even friendship. And while the wolf’s request for acceptance may not literally come in the form of the wide-eyed and friendly portrayal offered up by Laura here, her illustration does serve as a reminder that at the heart of each and every creature lies a desire to simply be – a wish to coexist and fulfill an individual purpose. And while sometimes this desire does bring the wolf into a necessary conflict with other beings, this reality is always better faced with a smile…
There’s something uniquely inspiring about viewing a piece of artwork that cannot even be contained by the very paper on which it is printed… something that suggests that the artist was so captivated by her subject that she completely disregarded the notion that her work could be contained. Such is the case with this latest contribution by California native, Gabrielle. I know that you cannot experience the full grandeur of this piece because even my own scanner could not accommodate the size of this magnificent masterpiece, but as you may be able to tell, Gabrielle leaves no space untouched by the artistry of her pencil, and her artwork proceeds to the very edges of the paper and perhaps even beyond. As a result, the fervor and passion that would inspire her to utilize every square inch of parchment to express her passion is nothing short of moving and encourages each of us to reach beyond our perceived limits and break free from the cages that attempt to contain us…
From the onset of this project, I made a commitment to share every wolf illustration that I received with the viewing public; however, I ran into a strange conflict of interests when I began receiving pictures that might be abrasive or disturbing to certain viewers because of depraved sexual content. In the end I decided that I wanted wolvesbystrangers.com to be a safe haven where individuals could experience lupine artwork that would stir their senses and inspire their spirits but that would not trouble their thoughts with worry about inappropriate content. So, as you might have guessed, I actually do have quite a stock pile of suggestive wolf subjects that I’ve kept to myself.
When I received the above illustration from Ashley, my first thought was that I would not display it because of its phallic reference, but upon further reflection I decided that it was a harmless and humorous homage to a little bit of silly lupine potty humor and that the amount of laughs and smiles that it would incite would probably far outweigh any outrage over inappropriate content. In the end, though, I suppose that the audience should be the ultimate judge. So… let me know what you think. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Should I continue to sensor possibly disturbing submissions or share them all and let the chips fall where they may? But let me say that this playful pic by Ashley is merely the tip of the iceberg, so if you ask for full disclosure, don’t say you weren’t warned…
I read somewhere that a wolf’s howl can be heard up to 6 miles away in a forested environment and that on the open tundra those lonesome cries have been known to travel for up to even 10 miles. However, in a truly amazing feat, the howl of Ania’s awe-inspiring lupine subject will reach every corner of the globe. Yes, it sailed across the ocean through invisible electrical currents from Poland all the way to the American Southeast, and now it is recreated and amplified here in this public forum for all of you.
So remember: no matter which city or which country you lay your head down in tonight, you can rest in the assurance that the wolves are howling all around us to the very same moon in the very same sky, and even though we may not hear them with our very own ears, their cries are not in vain. They are absorbed into the night sky where they dissipate for all of eternity, raining down on us in the winter snow and rising from the earth in the morning dew. They twinkle in the stars that shine overhead and warm us through the sun’s rays on a springtime afternoon. They inspire us to create artwork to share with strangers, and in this way the wolf’s cry is never silenced and reverberates into eternity…
“I didn’t expect her to counter my plans with nakedness.”
- Matthew Miller (whoever that is… I think…)
I can’t remember where I heard this quote, and I have no idea who/what it is in reference to, but I ran across it some months ago, and when I laid eyes on Zachary’s wild wonder of lecherous lupine artwork, the saying just popped back into my head. I don’t know… it just seemed to fit.
As always, to see more of Zachary’s “sweet dreams and daymares” click here.
When Hannah sent me practically a whole portfolio’s worth of pictures about 16 months ago, I realized instantly that they were too stunning to be displayed in one fell swoop. As a result, I’ve been parcelling them out, mostly one at a time, for more than a year now, hoping that revealing them periodically would allow each piece to be able to have its own place in the spotlight. Well, I’ve been saving one final masterpiece for an especially rainy day, and it just so happens that its been pouring all weekend. As a result, it seems only fitting that I bestow upon you the final piece of artwork that Hannah supplied me with in November of 2011. Its been a long journey to arrive at this final masterpiece, but I’m glad that we’ve made it together. And who knows? Maybe Hannah is working on another fantastic wolf portrait for all of us at this very moment. Only time will tell, but if you’re out there, Hannah, we’re drooling like rabid wolves in anticipation for your magnum opus. Don’t keep us waiting for long!
I received this work from Victoria just a day or so after I displayed her work at post #434. In her email she lamented the fact that grey wolves got all of the attention and then stated that the above illustration did not technically depict a wolf. I was a bit shocked to hear this, and when I inquired, the talented artist said that it was in fact a “maned wolf.” So, I set about the business of educating myself. With the help of the grand ole’ Wikipedia and the accomplished young Victoria, I’ve learned quite a bit this week. Interested in finding out more about maned wolves for yourself? click here.
I’m not ashamed to admit that the nightmares of my youth still give me a fright upon my remembrance of them; however, at the same time a sort of intimate nostalgia persists within these childhood horrors. There’s a closeness and familiarity that I associate with certain fears that allows me to make them my own. Essentially, for all of us our fears are high idiosyncratic and very personal. Although the masses may share common fears, a man’s imagination produces images all its own and thus makes his individual interpretation of any threat highly unique.
I’m not exactly sure what it is about this particular painting by Sabrina that gave me a start when I first laid eyes upon it, but I can tell you that after some reflection the image of this wolf transported me back to a childhood fear that is still partially buried in the annals of memory. I can’t quite dig up the circumstances or the exact state of affairs, but something about this wild creature shook the roots of my tree of memory down to their deepest reaches. Perhaps I’ll never fully dredge up the connection I feel with this ferociously tousled predator, but I can tell you one thing: I don’t think I’ll tire of gazing at it in the attempt.
If you love this brilliant wolf as much as I do, check out more of Sabrina’s work at her etsy shop. I’m sure that she’ll appreciate your interest and patronage. Also, visit her facebook page here. If you’re a child of the 80′s or a fan of pop culture inspired artwork, you’re guaranteed to love her stuff!
As many faithful viewers/readers of this site are aware, a few months ago I announced that Chattanooga native Victoria Witt had graciously created an official piece of WBS artwork to serve as the public face of this project and that I had bestowed upon her a semi-official position as the artist in residence of WBS. Essentially what this means is that Victoria has benevolently taken it upon herself to occasionally create artwork specifically to promote Wolves by Strangers and that she is intimately linked to this project.
The story of how this relationship developed is an unpredictable and complicated one to say the least, and I think I told most of the pertinent details when I posted Victoria’s first piece of official WBS artwork. Basically, what had happened was that Victoria had discovered the WBS project on her own and had been submitting artwork long before she knew that “I” was the man behind the wolves. Through a certain professional relationship, Victoria and I spoke often, and she even mentioned Wolves by Strangers to me on occasion, but she had no idea that it was actually “me” who had been receiving and posting her artwork.
When I finally revealed my identity to Victoria as a gift for a special occasion, she was certainly surprised and totally dumbfounded by the fact that the clues to my identity were under her nose the whole time. Now, nearly a year after I told Victoria who I am, she returned the favor by creating this rather accurate lupine avatar to serve as a visual manifestation of my identity. I, your faithful lupine artwork collector, now have a face that I can wear and a concrete image that frequenters of this site can attach to me.
But why am I anonymous in the first place? Well… that’s quite a long story and one that is best left for another time, but suffice it to say that it is my goal to center the focus of site revolve around the artwork itself and not the man that collects them. And even if my anonymity does not succeed in this goal but only makes viewers wonder about my identity all the more… well, then that probably adds a pleasant mystery to the site and another dimension to the uniqueness that is WBS. Who knows? I could be sitting in the cubicle across the hall or at the coffee house table next to you at this very moment…
Hunter S. Thompson said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” And nothing screams professional weirdness like the pleasantly depraved artwork of Zachary Sweet. There’s something perplexing and almost disturbing about Zachary’s work that is somehow familiar and comforting at the very same time… like a delightfully frightening nightmare that you look forward to drifting into after a dose of too much reality. Zachary’s subjects are ones that seem born out of a wild world of psychotic debauchery and pop culture perversion and will sink their teeth into like a Pollock-splattered vampire from outer space. To see more of Zachary’s insane artwork, click here.
It seems like one of the most inherent aspects of the human condition is a nearly constant self-focus. In other words, we as humans are perpetually concerned with ourselves and what we think, feel, and believe as individuals. Essentially, we’re all egomaniacs to a certain degree.
But don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to say that people are innately evil or selfish. I don’t believe that; I just think that sometimes it’s difficult for us to see beyond ourselves. As a result, we often take on the role of the observer instead of the observed. We view the world around us and the wildlife that inhabits it as a sort of menagerie designed for our own entertainment, and we never stop to think that perhaps we’re being watched as much or more than we watch the creatures with whom we share this amazing world.
When I look at Victoria’s refreshing portrait of these two docile yet inquisitive wolves, I feel as if it is I who am on display for the wolf instead of the wolf being on display for me. This illustration makes me feel very small in some ways but very alive as well because it reminds me that the world is not my personal possession to have and hold and do with it as I please. It belongs to us all, humans and animals alike…
Earlier today Victoria sent me a link to this amazing a time-lapse video of her creative process in action. I was blown away to say the least, and I simply couldn’t resist passing it along to you. While the video reflects a personal sentiment of love between two individuals, the the beauty of the creative process and the majesty of the end result is something that we can all share in together. Happy Valentines Day, everyone!
To view more of Victoria’s spectacular creations, click here.
The hectic lines and sharp angles that make up this demonic looking lupine spoke to me (or rather screamed at me) when I first laid eyes on it, and the voice that I heard had just two words to say: Heavy Metal. Yes, friends, the black masters and dark agents of that maniacal yet melodic music serve as the perfect accompaniment for this chilling rendering or a wolf on the prowl. With the ears lifted almost like horns and eyes narrowed to the sharpness of razor blades, this wolf certain seems in search of an an unsuspecting prey. And while I’m all for lupine rights and I fully support the freedoms of our animal friends, I’m tempted to take Dio’s advice and lock this wolf up before he wreaks havoc on us all!
Sometimes it seems like as if we’re viewing the wolf through a sort of window, doesn’t it? The pane that separates us from the animal is thin and transparent, but its dividing powers are real enough. Is the life that we ascribe to this beautiful creature accurate in the least? Is our perception of its existence remotely realistic? Or does the glass distort the image and present to us a romanticized rendering of a thing that simply isn’t real? I suppose that no one really knows, for no one can be both man and wolf. We view the wolf in the only way we can, through the window of our own existence, creating in it only what we want to see. It’s true essence will forever be a mystery, but in the end, whose to say that this isn’t what makes the creature the alluring creature that it is…
Earlier this week I received this striking watercolor from Misha Misha, along with the humble missive featured below. I was so struck by not only her artistic talent but her mastery of language that I have presented both of them for you here. I hope you enjoy the fine work of this amazing young artist who is no doubt a rising star. I was tempted to title this post “Journey to Bethlehem” even though the artist claims no connection between the file name and the actual work of art, but in the end I thought that would be overstepping my bounds. For some unexplainable reason I was enchanted by the use of this phrase and its somewhat spiritual connotations and I simply couldn’t shake this mysterious expression. In the end, though, “Balloon Wolf” seemed just as magical, and well… here you have it!
Thanks so much, Misha Misha. Your work has certainly taken me on a journey, but the final destination has yet to be determined, for it resides beyond the boundary of imagination…
Good morning/night/ wherever the day may be for you,
I am a thirteen year-old stranger in Canada, and yet I am a 3 year old in my own peculiar land. It is so easy to create anything there, though I am aware that it will never escape the confines of my obstinate head. This image is only the remnant of that wonderfully fleeting vision, created with a few dusty bottles of watercolor left by my departed uncle (I don’t mean deceased, I just mean gone) and an H3 pencil. Not one of my better sketches, but one of my infrequent watercolors. This poor wolf has been branded as too whimsical by adults, and much too simplistic by children. I hope that it will find residence in your site, and comfort in your eloquent praise.
Hopefully it will amuse you,
me, who else? XD
Ps: The name of the file has nothing to do with the picture itself.
Call them bizarre. Call them insane. Call them outrageous. Just don’t call them ordinary! A wolf pack this wild and crazy only comes along every so often, and while this is the most rousing illustration that WBS has received in quite some time, I’m not sure I’m capable of handing as much excitement as these wolves look prepared to dole out. It’s hard to tell whether these bodacious beasts are looking to crash a party or tear an unsuspecting prey limb from limb, but my guess is that it’s a little both. In the end, it’s this enthralling combination of fun and violence that captures the viewer’s attention. Chaos and Passion. Silliness and Savagery. This illustration has it all and packs as much excitement into a small space as one of those 80′s-inspired Future Synth NuDisco beats… and speaking of which, here’s one that compliments this illustration well. It’s called “Club Wolf” by Distasterpeace.
Yin and Yang: The competing/opposing forces of the universe which work together to sustain the equilibrium of our very existence. As the artist behind this wolf takes his name from this ancient Chinese philosophy, I must assume that his artwork is at least partially inspired by this metaphysical outlook on life, but in what ways this piece is representative of this doctrine are mostly a mystery.
This particular wolf seems to express a light-hearted attitude with his perennial smile and relaxed posture; however, his wide eyes, open mouth, and elbow propped on one knee suggest that a deep-seated and optimistic wisdom is at work in his being. He looks like a creature who is excited about unlocking the mysteries of the universe and who would gladly share those secrets with you… if you could indeed secure a real and private audience with him. But since he appears only in this imaginative work, we may never know the sagacity that he has to offer.
And while this might be a bit of a sad thought, the wolf and its artist accomplish a mission of yin and yang nonetheless. For I realize that even as I sit here and type these words that the two of us are intimately linked in a balanced relationship of contributor and collector- two sides of the same coin which are opposing and yet intimately linked…