Sep 30 2011

#153 “Deviant Queen”


From Amuro in Chattanooga, Tennessee

When I first received Amuro’s email asking if I would consider displaying some of the wolf portraits that she had posted on deviantart.com, I must say that my expectations were, well, nonexistent in a way. I was excited to be contacted and was thrilled that another artistic soul had discovered the WBS project and was interested in participating, but I must admit that I didn’t really give the viewing of the artwork much thought at first. I would put it on my “to do” list, and when time allowed, I would take a glance at what she had to offer. You see, even though I find this project to be rewarding and fulfilling (and I truly love every submission), in some ways the continual viewing of art and then posting of it can easily become all just a part of the job.

When I clicked on that first link, however, the situation quickly changed. My heart and mind were swiftly transported into a realm of creative wonder beyond description. Simply put, I wasn’t prepared for the lupine greatness that greeted my somewhat jaded eyes, and I was instantly thankful for the exquisite awakening that was washing down upon me like a deluge of color in a black and white world. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no other way to say it: the times that I have experienced lupine artwork of this caliber are few and far between.

There is a grace and an elegance found in Amuro’s works that is profound that it is somewhat difficult to describe. Her work produces a sense of euphoria and a unique feeling like unto a warm but pleasant darkness. Some of the works are bustling with frenzied hues and manic shades, but they are precise and calming at the same time. When gazing upon these pieces, the viewer experiences an unfamiliar but gratifying sense of being ferried lightly from the familiar to the enchanted. There is a gentle but significant ushering from the common to the mystical. In short, these pieces fill the eyes (and thus the heart and mind) with wondrous lupine magic.

I believe that one of the most significant aspects of these pieces that grant them such an unearthly power over the viewer is the ethereal nature of the background of each portrait. The lack of a clear and decisive setting allows us as viewers to be taken more readily into the mysterious world of the wolf. We are floating in space with it, spinning at dizzying heights with the majestic king of all creatures. In addition to this, there is also a universal sense of loneliness and almost an inherent sadness that is displayed in some of these pieces that creates a bittersweet catharsis for the viewer as he ponders the connection of the wolf to his own life and personal sense of beauty. It almost appears that the wolf is both a source of sadness and a haven from it as well. But perhaps more than anything else, there is a striking yet unexplainable sense of honesty that permeates these works. The wolf is presented as beautiful and elegant and fantastically lifelike. It is delicate yet hardy, peaceful yet proud. In short, these works display everything I thought this project would bring me and much more.

Thanks, Amuro. Never stop following your passion, and always let your talented heart and mind lead the way.

(Check out more of Amuro’s work here)


Sep 29 2011

#152 “The Man in the Mirror”

From a stranger in Canada

Several questions about this particular piece have plagued me ever since I received it a few months ago, but in the end they all revolve around one central query: Who is the man portrayed in this illustration?

Based upon the doodle in the upper left hand corner of the drawing, I can easily assume that the artist possesses a significant talent that would allow him/her to produce a magnificent “conventional” rendering of a wolf. And even though I support the nontraditional and encourage the weird and the unique, this still doesn’t stop me from pondering the obvious question at hand of why the artist would focus on the man instead of the beast.

In the end, the list of specific subquestions that I have puzzled over include the following: Is this a person who is intimate with the artist? Or is this man possibly the subject of derision here? Is the subject an individual that somehow displays certain qualities of the lobo in his daily life? Does he look like a wolf in some way? Smell like one? Behave like one? And if so, does his behavior reflect the sentimental side of the creature or the more savage side? At which pole of the wolf spectrum does he fall? Is this man some sort of pseudo-celebrity that I am simply not recognizing, or is this illustration some sort of interesting yet unusual self-portrait?

Or (and I must say that I find this idea particularly intriguing) did the artist intend to suggest that this illustration represents me, the anonymous collector of lupine artwork? I can guess that at least a few viewers and contributors to this site must wonder at times what my true identity is, but is this really picture meant to be a guess at what I actually look like? I can’t say for sure, but considering this idea for a while caused me to engage in some significant introspection.

After examining this illustration, I took a long hard look in the mirror and examined what I saw there. Some of what I saw I liked. But I also noticed a few things that I didn’t like. And even though this illustration seems to explore only the physical aspects of its subject, when I consider the idea that this picture may be a guess at who I am, it creates in me the desire to present myself in a manner that will bring respect and honor to the idea of the wolf and to this project as a whole.

So, am I an aging, balding man with impaired vision? Do I have somewhat scraggly facial hair and a penchant for V-neck t-shirts? Do I breathe heavily? Do I have squinty eyes? Honestly, I’m not quite prepared to say, but I can tell you these three things about myself:

1. I appreciate every single piece of art that I receive, and I believe that each is valuable in its own special way.

2. I believe that the world is a magical place and that we all have a story to tell that is worth hearing.

3. The world needs more people that passionately speak out about their passions, dreams, and goals.

Thanks, stranger in Canada. In reality this illustration might have nothing to do with me at all and I might be totally egocentric for even considering the idea; but in the end it caused me to think, it caused me to question, and it caused me to grow. And for that I can offer nothing but gratitude.


Sep 28 2011

#151 “Ralf: The Sacred Wolficorn”

From a stranger in Houston, Texas

Although it is a creature whose image is often playfully rendered, the unicorn has traditionally been viewed as a fairly serious being with very real magical powers. In fact, until the late 18th century, there were many theologians, historians and writers who believed that the enchanted animal truly did exist, and some would even engage in hunts or treks explicitly to capture the blessed unicorn and then harness the animal’s paranormal powers. And who knows… perhaps this wondrous creature does exist. I guess that we can’t definitively rule this out as a possibility.

In general the most commonly accepted attribute of the mythical unicorn that has allowed it to solidify such a place of preternatural honor in our hearts and minds is that single horn, beautifully twisted and protruding straight as an arrow from the animal’s snowy white forehead. Said to be made of a substance called alicorn, the horn of the unicorn is believed by anyt to be a panacea of sorts that possesses the power to heal all the maladies of physical body and perhaps even the afflictions of the soul as well. As a result, the very image of a unicorn has developed into an overarching symbol for purity and grace.

Now, I’m not quite sure why the animal in the illustration featured above is called “Ralf,” but I am fairly confident that the intention of this Texan artist is to hint at the fact that the wolf is a creature that should be viewed through the same lens of wonder and magic as that with which we view the unicorn.

There may be some of you who believe the that the unicorn is a creature better left to the annals of Arthurian legend and the bookshelves of children’s libraries, but to end this post, I would simply like you to consider one fact: Based on my preliminary research, it appears that most people over the centuries who have actively believed in this mystical creature were fairly well educated individuals. So, why not take their word for it?

Also, even though learned men have made many mistakes over the centuries, there’s no reason to quickly doubt the existence of a sacred wolficorn, especially when the artist appears to be such an intelligent individual, himself. After all, he did draw this picture on the back of his ENTO:208 LAB EXAM I. And hey, he made a 96!


Sep 27 2011

#150 “A Toast to New Experiences”

From a stranger in Canada

I’m sure that over the past weeks and months many readers of this site have grown increasingly weary of my statements about how nearly every single illustration is “one of my favorites.” But ladies and gentlemen, I take no shame in throwing out this statement once again. Rest assured, If I never meant it before, I mean it now.

You may look upon this illustration and claim that it is not the most unique picture you have ever seen. You may scoff at its lack of color. You may even attack its somewhat traditional rendering of its lupine subject. But when I look upon this simple illustration, all I can see is the beauty and wonder of discovery, the magic of a new experience, and (hopefully) the excitement of a life changed for the better (if even in only a very small way). If you’ll take notice of the remark in the lower right hand corner of the illustration, you’ll see that the artist claims to have never drawn a wolf before. How marvelous! How touching! How inspiring that this simple project which began with a whim and a wish has sparked a new experience for this open-minded Canadian.

And finally, I’ll be quite honest: I think that this picture is actually a very fine rendering of a wolf for a first attempt. It certainly stands head and shoulders above my early attempts at lupine artwork. So bravo, Canadian stranger. Bravo. We could all learn a lesson from your fearless acceptance of a new challenge. If we all approached our daily lives in a manner akin to your bold undertaking of my unusual request, there’s no telling what heights we may reach.


Sep 26 2011

#149 “The sum of its parts…”

From a stranger in Portland, Oregon

I’ll be honest, when I first began to examine this wolf, I was a bit baffled. Not because I was necessarily shocked to see such a mind-bending creation (I’ve received several of these Franken-wolf creations over the past months), but because I simply didn’t know what to say. Yes, the picture was intriguing. Sure, was interesting. But what to say about it? What comment of substance could I possibly make about a wolf that has rocket arms, a gorilla chest and squid tentacles? Game. Set. Match. The picture had prevailed. I was speechless. And as a result this picture has remained relatively untouched since I received it in middle part of March.

On a whim, however, I took the picture out last night in order to take one last crack at deciphering its mysterious code. After several hours of deep thought and thorough consideration, I believe I have discovered the secrets that this anonymous artist has to offer through this enigmatic piece. I believe I have finally solved the mystery.

You see, at first I believed that this conglomeration of unusual body parts was a result of random selection. Now, however, I have come to discover their true meaning. The legs of a squid? What else could this suggest except adaptability? The legs are fluid and flexible; they are adjustable and handle change well, but at the same time they are strong and sturdy and capable of inflicting great damage if necessary. What better list of adjectives is there to describe the wolf? In a world so bent on destruction and terror, the adaptability of the wolf may very well be the key to its survival.

But what about the gorilla chest and rocket arms? Well, as far as the gorilla chest is concerned, I believe that this feature ultimately suggests dominance and stability. It is a representation of the brute strength and toughness of the wolf. Also, one cannot deny that the most immediate image that comes to mind when contemplating a gorilla chest is that of the strong hands of the primate beating against it, showing his strength, virility, and prowess. All of these adjectives are ones that are not meant for the gorilla alone; they represent the wolf as well. Moving on to the rocket arms, what better symbol is there for the stamina and perseverance of the wolf? Just like the rocket bursts through the layers of the atmosphere and pushes through to worlds beyond our knowledge and understanding, the wisdom and wonder of the wolf will survive for ages to come, soaring on towards infinity.

Nice work, stranger from Portland. You had me stumped for quite some time, but I have finally pried that pearl of wisdom from its rigid enclosure.

So who won in the end? I think the answer is clear: both of us…


Sep 25 2011

#148 “Wolf Lake”


From Kim

Water. An elementary concept. A simple word denoting an uncomplicated molecule. And yet it is the key to the continued sustenance of humanity. In reality, our daily lives revolve around our passions, our interests, our deepest loves, quirky hobbies, supposed life purposes, and individual gods, but it is only because of that precious gift of life-sustaining water that we are able to pursue these endeavors. Without water, all other priorities fall by the wayside.

I understand that this notion may seem a bit obvious to some and that I might possibly be speaking melodramatically, but essentially these statements are true. Without water, we die.

What’s truly interesting, though, is that when I consider this concept and then examine this mesmerizing illustration by Kim, I cannot tell if the pictured wolf is drinking from this body of water or if the wolf is actually producing the small river of “Adam’s ale” that has created this sacred “Wolf Lake.” If you really take a few minutes and look at the illustration, you’ll see what I mean. There appears to be a small trickle of water flowing from the mouth of this powerful beast, but is it merely dribbling out of the wolf’s mouth after it has taken an energizing drink, or is the water actually flowing from the mouth of the wolf as if it has been produced by it?

Being a romantic at heart, I tend to lean towards the second interpretation. I love what this unconventional explanation suggests: If water is the key to our existence, and this illustration depicts this life-giving juice spilling freely from a lupine fountain, then this picture is surely a testimony to the deific qualities of the wolf. But at the same time, I don’t believe that the artist is encouraging a formal worship of the animal. I think instead that she is hinting at something larger. Ponder this question for a moment: What if we examined at the world around us with an eye that centered on finding the holy features in everything? What if we always strove to see the spiritual aspects in all that we saw? Imagine how our lives might change…

(By the way, you can visit Kim’s very interesting blog here)


Sep 24 2011

#147 “From out of the mouths of wolves”

From Victoria

The most immediately striking feature of this illustration is Victoria’s talented use of line and shading. The marks which comprise this lupine masterpiece are delicate yet sharp. They wisp fluidly across the pages in a smoky wonder of movement that combines chaotically and yet beautifully with the image of these two majestic creatures. There is an “old world” feel here that makes one sense that this picture might have once been housed in a comfy professorial study or possibly tucked away into a cozy corner of a magical hobbit hole.

But after these initial observations, one will notice the actual scene which Victoria so artfully depicts. Oddly enough, it appears that one wolf is holding the head of another within its mouth. At first one might infer that this is an act of viciousness, that a deranged wolf has cannibalistically turned on one of its own kind. Deeper investigation, however, reveals not savagery but sentimentality. The dominant lobo in the illustration appears not to be attacking its counterpart, but conversely he is almost cradling the other within his open maw. And then, moving to examine the submissive omega wolf, one will surely see that this creature is not in pain but actually seems comforted. It’s eyes are closed peacefully; its head is cocked in a manner that presents it willingly towards the alpha. The body language suggests a comfortable state of repose and relaxation.

But what can be learned from all of this? What can be gained? Ultimately, I think the message that things are not always what they appear rings loud and clear in this illustration and that long-held notions are always worth reconsideration. So many of us imagine the mouth of a wolf to be only a fount of pain and suffering, a device meant only do dole out death and destruction. Its purpose is to maim, to kill, to shred and tear flesh. But this picture suggests otherwise. Why do we always see the worst in things? Why do we so often strive to paint our world with brushes of black and white only?

The mouth of the wolf is not just a tool of destruction. It is a representation of all that is wild and untamable. It is a unifying instrument for the lonesome, capable of producing a cry of solidarity for the voiceless. It is a restful place of peace where the weary might find rest. And… if you take a look at the picture below, it can also be a source of humor.

Question: How will you use your mouth today?


Sep 23 2011

#146 “Symbolism”

From Ashley in Little Rock, Arkansas

In an attached note, Ashley indicated that since she didn’t feel that her wolf-drawing skills were up to par that it would be best for her to simply draw a picture of the Japanese character or symbol for a wolf instead. She seemed to express some trepidation that this might not be acceptable or might not fall under the strict parameters inherent in this project, but I think you’ll agree that her work of art is a perfect fit for WBS.

Symbols are all around us everyday. In some respects, we live our lives walking through an endless hall of symbols. One item almost always stands for or represents something else. And if the symbolism is not overt, it is almost always implied; and if it is not implied, it can almost always be argued anyway. That’s one of the great things about symbolism: It allows so much freedom of thought.

When we look at this Japanese symbol, we know that it represents the wolf. But what does the wolf itself stand for? What does it represent? The list of answers may vary greatly, but the few that immediate came to my mind include freedom, vitality, and beauty.

What does the wolf symbolize to you?


Sep 22 2011

#145 “Outside the Box”

From “Colombo-Sia” in Brooklyn, New York

I love creative thinkers, and I believe Michael Colombo is just such a man. Take a quick glance at his website (here), and I’m sure you’ll agree. When you do click on the link, you’ll notice a tag line in the upper left that states that the site is “a chronicle of ideas and projects from a designer and thinker in repurposing obsolete technology and discarded materials.” This, in essence, is exactly what Michael does. Need to build a unique loft bed? You got it. Craving a fruit-powered sound machine? Done. What about instructions on how to make a candle from scrap wax? You’d better believe it. In a world so full of people who mindlessly travel throughout their daily lives in a haze of boredom and negativity, it’s comforting to know that there are still individuals with a keen eye for creation and a desire to milk the most out of each day, to suck the marrow out of life and live it to the fullest.

After a quick glance at Colombo’s wolf, I believe it represents everything about this man that the creations on his website suggest. The picture is bright and optimistic. It has a sense of nostalgia that could easily be associated with the 1980s, but it is also fresh and vibrant. It is hectic and almost “scatterbrained” but it also seems to display conscious thought and a sense of completion. It is original and wild yet accessible. And above all, it is genuinely interesting.

Thanks, Michael. Lives like yours make the rest of ours a little more interesting. Keep up the good work.

 


Sep 21 2011

#144 “Spicy!”

From the fine graphic artists at Clipper Magazine

Variety truly is the spice of life…

There have been many pessimists over the recent weeks and months who have scoffed at this project. There are those who have turned up their noses and haughtily smirked at this “one-trick-pony” kind of social experiment. “Wolves?” they sneered, “Don’t you think that people will get sick of looking at the same old pictures of wolves all day? Why don’t you focus on something more interesting? Something with more variety?”

In response to these cynical killjoys, I choose today to offer a response that shows my position more clearly than words could ever tell it. Feast your eyes upon the glorious offering from these fine artists are Clipper Magazine and see for yourself just how much artistic variety the grand lobo may bestow upon those who have opened their minds and hearts to all this mesmerizing creature has to offer. Cynics be warned. Doomsters be damned. Your arguments fall upon the deaf ears of all those who have basked in the glory of these illustrations. Your attacks might as well be the babbles of droopy-eyed simpletons and halfwits.

And yet I do not condemn my critics too harshly. Unfortunately, as human beings who live in a fallible world and are often fallible ourselves, it is somewhat natural to be pulled into a spiral of negativity. Today, however, offers the opportunity for all of use to appreciate the wonderful heterogeneity of the lupine together. Join hands. Come together. Be a part of something larger than yourselves. Cast your reservations aside and join the ranks of the artistic lupine army.

Let’s take a quick glance at each of these illustrations and see just how much variety the world of lupine art has to offer.

#1 (by Zach): Notice the pathos present in the first picture. The sense of catharsis is poignant and striking here. The cleansing power of the tears of the wolf washes over the viewer, creating a depth of vicarious emotion that will not soon be forgotten.

#2 (by Ryan): Pop culture at its finest. The wolf is made easily accessible to the next generation of lupine enthusiasts in this picture of Justin Bieber wearing a wolfskin cap. There is an element of humor and optimism here and a message that the wolf resides in all of us. You don’t have to strip away the fabric of society to find the wolf accessible; it is here and waiting for us if we will only reach out and grab it. Hey kids, wolves are cool!

#3 (by Luke): The classic wolf silhouette placed in front of this glowing moon reminds us of the inherent wildness of this marvelous creature while the poetic prose underneath draws attention to the beauty of the natural world and reminds us that the wolf is both savage and beautiful. This picture is a quintessential representation of the wolf but one that never gets old- a classic dish that never loses its flavor.

#4 (Isaiah): Weird. Twisted. Surreal. This wolf takes elements of innocence and turns them on its head in a wild ride that combines elements of childhood wonder and mixes them with a strange and imaginative sense of terror. It’s like Stephen King’s “It” meets “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” It’s like Loony Toons on crack. No. Wait. It’s like “Fear and Loathing” meets The Island of Misfit Toys meets “Natural Born Killers.” Yeeeaaaah. That’s it.

#5 (by Jake): For those of you who don’t recognize this picture, please allow me to introduce you to Wolf Link. Wolf Link is an alternate form of the popular gaming character which he (Link) is transformed into in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. When Link enters the Twilight Realm, he changes from his normal Hylian form into a sacred beast. The significance of this? Well, simply put, not only does this wolf picture appeal to the classic NES fanboy in all of us, it also represents the magical and enchanted side of this magnificent creature. This illustration accurately presents the notion that the wolf is a creature of wonder that may never be fully understood; it is continually shrouded in mystery and is often associated with the fantastically elusive notion of transmogrification.

#6 (by Danielle): The wolf takes a walk on the wild side in this somewhat racy depiction. Bringing new meaning to the word “untamed,” this illustration demonstrates the uninhibited nature of the wolf in a playfully risque scenario that could cause even the wildest of wolf enthusiasts to blush. Did I hear someone say the words, “Party Animal”? I think you’ve found her here!

Ahhh…. Variety…. So spicy……


Sep 20 2011

#143 “Baskin Robbins”

From a “Wish and Wanda” in Berkeley, California.

I have received many pictures of wolves printed on unusual canvasses, but this is the first illustration I have received that has been drawn on an actual napkin. And based upon the illustration itself, I can only conclude that this napkin is from a Baskin Robbins restaurant.

But what does this mean? What’s the wolf connection here?

I’m not totally sure, but after a fair amount of research, I did find that there are Baskin Robbins restaurants on “Wolf Road” in the following cities in Illinois: Moneka, Mount Prospect, and Westchester; and that there are Baskin Robbins restaurants in the following cities in the US: Wolf Creek, MT; Wolf Point, MT; Wolf Run, OH; and Wolverhampton, WV.

But while Baskin Robbins restaurants and wolves do share a few geographical connections, I cannot seem to grasp the relationship all of this and Berkely, California. But then again, maybe I’m reading too deeply into all of this. After all, there are a number of other semi-confusing aspects to this picture which I have yet to touch upon: the significance of the hand, the Christmas tree, the shady van, etc.

On another note, one additional fact that I learned over the course of this lactose-related invesigation is that my favorite Baskin Robbins treat, the Strawberry Cheesequake Blizzard, contains nearly 1,000 calories. After discovering this unsavory bit of information, I simply couldn’t stomach any more research. Maybe it’s time I started looking for a new hobby. I think jogging would probably be a appropriate.


Sep 19 2011

#142 “In Loving Memory of Bob Ross”

From Maggie in Chattanooga, Tennessee

While this illustration might not accurately represent the sweeping landscapes and lush mountain vistas that the late Bob Ross depicted in many of his powerful paintings, I do feel that the overall sentiment here is very comparable to much of Ross’ work. As an artist, Bob was as well known for his kind demeanor and soft, soothing voice as he was for his artistic talent. A phrase that constantly found its way into his playfully innocent lexicon was “happy little trees.” Bob loved nature. He loved its wildness and its wonder, and the magnificence of the natural world never ceased to amaze him. As a man he simultaneously gave impressions of a wizened sage as well as a wide-eyed, innocent boy. And I believe this is where much of his appeal came from. He was so captivating in his disarming temperament that he wasn’t entirely relatable, but at the same time he captured the attention of young and old alike, and to this day, I’ve never heard anyone utter one negative statement about the man. He was a strange sort of “everyman” character that simply made you want to be a better person. He made you want to breath fresh air and live life to the fullest. He made you want to smile.

While looking upon the grinning, beaming sun and “M” shaped birds in the above piece, I can’t help but think that Bob would be proud of Maggie and her efforts to portray the beauty and “friendliness” of nature. And there on the left side of the page sits a her own “happy little tree.” Nature can often be brutal and savage, but it always has the capability to be remarkably charming and delightful as well, and personally, I am forever grateful for artists such as Bob and Maggie who remind us of this fact through their inspiring work. After all, there’s always room for more beauty, more tenderness, more compassion, and more wonder.

Check out the video below for your daily dose of “Ross.”


Sep 18 2011

#141 “Security Blanket”

From Natasha in Calgary, Canada

At first, I was a bit taken back by this cartoonish illustration of a “stuffed-animal” wolf. I have received humorous pictures, savage and brutal ones, even satirical illustrations, but when I opened the envelope and found myself staring into the eyes of this little innocent creature, I didn’t quite know how to react. What did it mean? Was there a message to be gleaned here? How was I to interpret this cute and playful offering?

Seeing as how I didn’t quite know what to make of this intriguing illustration, I set it on the back burner of my mind for a while. And then weeks later, without warning, the answer to my questions came down upon me as forcefully but also as soft as being bludgeoned with a pillow. This wolf really represents my relationship with this entire project. It may be difficult to understand at first, but “Wolves by Strangers” has become a security blanket of sorts for me. It is my comfort and my strength. After 140 posts, it has become a regular and familiar part of my daily routine, as natural to me as the very act of rising from my bed or brushing my teeth. But this isn’t to say that the project has become mundane. It also provides an escape from worry and anxiety; it is a safe haven of hope and a corner of the world that is free from anxiousness and despair.

So while the wolf may be viewed by others as a creature of cruelty and brutality, to me the animal is as soft and comforting as a familiar shirt or a quilt handed down through generations. And to think… it took a stranger to point this out to me.

Thanks, Natasha.

“I’ve always depended upon the kindness of strangers…”


Sep 17 2011

#140 “For Dad”

From Brennan in Mission Viejo, California

The aspect of this illustration that speaks to me the most is not the fantastic use of shading or the keen sense of texture, nor is it the impressive realism or the power of the black/white color scheme. No, the feature of this picture that calls my name and pulls at my most tender heartstrings is the juxtaposition of innocence and ferocity. Notice for yourself the intensity of the wolf’s gaze in the upper portion of the illustration. Examine the bared teeth and the powerful body language. Why is this wolf composed in such an aggressive stance? Why, because he is watching over his own pup, of course. The innocence of the young wolf cub is protected by the aggressiveness of its father. The very life of the small creature is held in his father’s paws, and you can clearly see by simply taking a quick glance into the ferociously watchful eyes of that paternal creature that he would do anything to shield his youngling from danger, even if it meant sacrificing himself on an alter of pain and death.

But even so, why is my emotional attachment here so strong? Why does this illustration inspire such catharsis? The answer is simple: Today is my father’s birthday. As a child, my dad was my hero, and I cannot help but to look upon this picture and think back to the day’s of my youth when my father was as watchful and protective as this wolf. He shielded me from danger, supplied me with a strong masculine role model and taught me how to navigate this world of wonder and danger with maturity, optimism and a thirst for life. Simply put, he was (and still is) a great father.

Dad, even though I did not draw this illustration myself, I dedicate today’s post to you. I hope that I have made you proud to be my father… I know that I am proud to be your son.

Happy Birthday, Dad.


Sep 16 2011

#139 “Winged Wolves”

From Erin in New York

For quite some time, I have rested in the fact that I am not alone in my great and passionate obsession with wolves, but it wasn’t until I started this project that I realized that an interest in winged wolves is apparently fairly common among many of my fellow wolf-enthusiasts. While I haven’t received an overwhelming number of illustrations of winged wolves, I have found through some rather intensive Internet research that there is an underground but growing fascination with these mystical creatures. I suppose their appeal is due to the enticingly magical combination of grace and savagery. In theory, I suppose the flying wolf must possess the turf-oriented adeptness of the lord of the forest but also the elegance and poise of the sovereign ruler of the skies. It a creature that would surely reign supreme over the earth and air. It is a pinnacle of both imagination and evolution, and I can see how this concept has amassed such a unique following. During the course of the research that I alluded to earlier, I discovered this video (along with several others) that features a series of pictures of winged wolves.

If you have never experienced the winged wolf before, I hope your horizons have now broadened just a bit. On the other hand, if you are familiar with this fair creature, I hope you enjoy a momentary indulgence into the subject of your hearts desire.


Sep 15 2011

#138 “Classy”

From Ellen in Little Rock, Arkansas

On a whim, I have just finished reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel “The Great Gatsby” for about the billionth time. Making no bones about it, I can easily say that this particular literary work definitively makes its way onto my list of the best 10 books that I have ever read, and it could probably land itself quite easily into a position in the top 3 of this very same list. But why does this particular novel secure such a stronghold in my heart and mind? Is it because of the endearing characters? Certainly not, for while all the characters in the story are largely very believable, they are also quite despicable. Could it be because of the overall message or dominant theme in the story is so inspiring? Not likely; in reality I believe the overwhelming idea that is presented in this tale is that the American dream is dead. What about the narrative style? Perhaps. But Not likely enough to rank it as the best book I’ve ever read. So what is it? Simply put. I love the setting, both in terms of time and physical location.

You see, “The Great Gatsby” is set during the Roaring 20s, the Jazz Age, the prohibition era. While it is true that this was a time filled with excess and debauchery, it was also a time period that I associate with class, sophistication, and glamour. It was a time when men wore suits and hats, when they carried canes and wore monocles and said, things “Old Sport.” It was a time when women wore dresses and sported the dangerously progressive bob haircut, when they wore dark red lipstick and smoked unfiltered cigarettes at the end of dainty quellazaires. It was a time of glitz, bright lights, smoky jazz clubs and flapper girls. It was a time of beauty and refinement in the midst of excessive indulgence and sensual pleasures.

I can’t help but to lay my eyes upon this sophisticated wolf with his smoking jacket and tumbler of bourbon and be transported back to that time of elegance and grace. Take a look at this picture for yourself, listen to the song below, close your eyes and let yourself be taken away back to a time of boom and big bands and whiskey… back to a time of seersucker suits… a time of Art Deco and the Harlem Renaissance. A simpler time. A more complicated one. Either way… a time that we will never get back.


Sep 14 2011

#137 “Construction Paper Memories”

From a stranger in Chattanooga, Tennessee

I did the best that I could in scanning and posting this excellent creation, but I am afraid that I haven’t been able to accurately translate the beauty of this masterpiece onto the two dimensional screen in front of you. Oh well… Moving on…

So many emotions flood through my body when I look at this picture. So many sights. So many sounds. Think back… Can you accurately recall the wonder of your elementary school years? Do you remember the coarse feel of construction paper on your finger tips? The enticing smell of Elmer’s glue and the smooth, sticky texture of it on the palms of your hands? Can you recollect the magical sounds of thick rustling paper or the pleasant crunch of the scissors as they precisely sliced through the various pieces of brightly colored card stock? What about the sweet, musty smell of crayons or the wondrous sparkle of glitter? Can you recall the unusual way that construction would dimple and crease? Or the majestically clean scent of a brand new eraser? Do you remember the way the soft would of a number 2 pencil would give underneath the pressure of your teeth?

Somewhere along the way we have lost of our fascination with creation, and friends, I must say that this is truly a crying shame. When did we stop believing that we are not all artists at heart? I’m not sure, but I do know that it is time to reclaim the miracle of creation. I encourage you… I admonish you… I beg you… create something today. Use a medium from the past or one that is familiar, but make something new this very day, this very hour if the spirit moves you.

Take a cue from this stranger and his magnificent creation of “Sam” and reach down deep inside, snatch out your own construction paper memories from your childhood heart of hearts, and dedicate today to the creation of something unique and playful.

Then… let the world see it!


Sep 13 2011

#136 “Whose story is it anyway?”

From a stranger in Calimesa, California

Although I love updating this site on a daily basis, I have never really been much of a creative writer. Simply put, I’m too much of a perfectionist to believe that anything I write is complete or finished. It always seems like there are words that need tweaking or parts of a story or poem that just don’t feel right. I tried for a while to create some finished products that had a true sense of completion to them and that actually said something about the human condition, but even to this day I’m not sure that I ever wrote anything reading.

I took several creative writing courses in college and I scored well, but for some reason it seemed like I could grasp the concepts easier than I could apply them. Anyway, I remember one day in particular in one of those courses my professor said something that took me totally by surprise. He was describing a story he had written years ago that he was pleased with but that seemed to have something missing. After trying a variety of different techniques to bring his story to life, he ultimately realized the problem: the narrator of the story was the wrong character; in other words the point of view was the problem. And once it was fixed, the story clicked.

Before this particular class on this particular day, I had taken the notion of point of view completely for granted. In my opinion the narrators of the stories I had written had always been the right narrator simple because they were the ones that I had chosen to tell the story. It had never crossed my mind that there could be a correct or incorrect narrator for a story. The narrator simply…. was.

The reason why I bring all of this up is because there traditionally seems to be a fair amount of confusion about the ownership of “The Story of the Three Little Pigs.” Or is it “The Story of the Big, Bad Wolf”? Whose story is it? Does it belong to the wolf or to the pigs? And what impact does this have on the actual telling of the story? In many ways, this concept can make all the difference. Just go back and look at the children’s book that came out a few years back which was called “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs” and which was narrated by “A. Wolf.” I can guarantee that if you take a quick glance at this retelling that you will realize just how important the narrator of a story truly is.

Specifically, I love the picture that is on display today because I believe it plays upon this concept of the ownership of this story. As you can see, this picture makes it clear that the tale belongs to the wolf, but at the same time it appears to take no position on whether or not the wolf is the villain, which still leaves the tale up for interpretation.

Bravo, stranger. Bravo. A new take on a classic tale. You may walk with your head held high.


Sep 12 2011

#135 “Waspwolf”

From a stranger in Ann Arbor, Michigan

The human imagination is very powerful. In fact, Albert Einstein himself is often credited with saying that imagination is more important than knowledge. To be honest, I’m not sure if I totally agree with this statement, but I do believe that imagination often gives knowledge a run for its money; and generally speaking, the two seem to go hand in hand. Based upon these ideas, I can only assume that the imaginative stranger in Ann Arbor, Michigan who submitted this illustration is clever as well as creative.

While it may seem that the wolf and the wasp are two creatures that have very little in common, a deeper examination of the qualities of each reveal that both are accomplished predators. In many ways, the wasp is the wolf of the insect world, often preying upon other pest insects. But it is not simply the predatory nature of these animals that make them suitable for such an astounding combination. This unifying of insect and lobo serves to make this resulting creature one that is equally deadly at both ends. The wolf has long been feared because of its deadly jaws lined with razor sharp teeth, but now the back end of this crazy creature is just as dangerous. So watch out, there’s no sneaking up on this treacherous bastard of evolution.

Ultimately, when I look at this illustration, I can’t help but be reminded of a book that I once saw as a child. The title of the book was “Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future,” and it really caused my adolescent mind to reel with wonder, horror, and the insane possibilities of the future. The book speculated (largely through illustrations) about a number of strange ways that man might evolve in the coming eons. And although “Man after Man” largely focused on humanoid evolution, I can’t help but to gaze upon the beautiful horror of the waspwolf and wonder, “Will you ever truly exist? Are you the next level of adaptation?” It’s sad but true, but I don’t think that anyone alive today will ever know…

 


Sep 11 2011

#134 “9/11 Remembered”

From a stranger in Danville, Vermont

Even though this picture is not a specific reference to the tragedy of 9/11, I thought that this illustration of a particularly heroic wolf would be suitable for this day of remembrance. I hope that you as an individual are able to take a few moments today and reflect upon the tragedy and heroism that came together during the terrible course of events that unfolded 10 years ago; and I hope that you can find some way to honor the courageous fallen as well as the heroic rescue workers, even if it is only in your own heart and mind. To end this post, I would like to reference the words of John Donne from “Meditation 17″ in which he reflects upon the unity and oneness of the entire human race:

“No man is an island,  entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, [the country] is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were;  any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind…”