Oct 31 2011

Nov. Contest Video!


Oct 31 2011

#184 “Boo!”

From a mysterious stranger in either Juno, Alaska or Phoenix, Arizona
(It’s a long story…)

Tonight is the night! The infamous eve when ghouls and goblins and all things creepy, crawly and slimy slither from their dank hollows and moldy caverns to wreak havoc upon the world of human mortals. Tonight is a night for trickery, for giggles and chortles of the most sinister kind, for blood that trickles from the corners of young mouths and for shrieks from ancient women in pointed, black hats. Tonight axes will be wielded by children and straw men will find the strength to disengage from their crucifixions and take to the darkened streets. Tonight is a night for black cats whose eyes shine with a mysterious and sinister luminescence. Tonight is a night of indulgence in sweetness and exploration into the extremes of sadism. It is a night of whimsy and fear, of candlelight seances and strolls through cemeteries dotted with crumbling headstones.

It is simultaneously a night to throw caution to the wind and to look over your shoulder at every turn. It is a night of mystery, a night of wonder. And yes… It is a night when wolves stalk their prey with careful cunning and then feast upon the bones of their victims with wild abandon. So, if you find yourself strolling down a dimly lit midnight path and you hear the soft padding of wolven paws and the tell-tale click of claws on concrete, don’t even dare to turn around… Run! Run as fast you can! And if you’re very lucky, you might make it safely home with the cold air still burning in your lungs and your ears and fingers screaming with tingling numbness. And as you press your back against the door frame and breathe a sigh of relief, you’ll believe you’re safe and sound. And then, like the glint from a shiny butcher knife piercing through the blackness of night, the howl of the wolf will cut the darkened skies and then you’ll realize that if it wanted to have you… it could have done so all along.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Enjoy the spooky wolf story below as retold by S. E. Schlosser.

There once was a beautiful girl engaged to a soldier who caught the eye of an evil woodsman who had sold his soul for the ability to turn himself into a wolf at will. He lay in wait for the girl when she was walking home one day and accosted her, begging her to elope with him. The maiden refused, spurning his love and crying out to her love to save her from his advances.

The girl’s cries were heard by her eager fiancé, who had come searching for her when she was late returning to her parent’s home. The soldier drove the woodsman away, threatening him with dire consequences if he ever approached the maiden again.

The furious woodsman lay low for a few days, waiting for his chance. It came on the girl’s wedding day. She was dancing happily at her wedding reception with a group of her friends when the woodsman, in the form of a wolf, leapt upon her and dragged her away with him.

The enraged bridegroom gave chase, but the wolf and his bride had disappeared into the thick forest and were not seen again. For many days, the distraught soldier and his friends, armed with silver bullets, scoured the woods, searching for the maiden and her captor. Once the soldier thought he saw the wolf and shot at it. Upon reaching the location, he found a piece of a wolf’s tail lying upon the ground. But of the wolf to which it belonged there was no sign.

After months of searching, his friends begged him to let the girl go and get on with living. But the soldier was half-mad with grief and refused to give up. And that very day, he found the cave where the werewolf lived. Within it lay the preserved body of his beloved wife. The girl had refused the werewolf’s advances to the very end, and had died for it. After his murderous fury had died away, the werewolf had tenderly laid the body of the girl he had loved and had killed into a wooden coffin, where it would be safe from predators, and he came to visit her grave every day. Lying in wait for him, the soldier shot the werewolf several times as he entered the cavern, chasing him down until the maddened and dying werewolf leapt into the lake and disappeared from view. The soldier sat by the lake with his gun, staring into the rippling waters for hours as the catfish ate the bloody bits of the wolf that were floating on the surface of the water.

When his friends found him, the soldier’s mind was gone. He babbled insanely about a werewolf that had been eaten by a catfish when it leapt into the water, and he sobered only long enough to lead the men to the body of his beloved before he collapsed forevermore into insanity. He died a few days later, and was buried beside his bride in a little glen where they had planned to build there house. Their grave is long forgotten, and the place where it stands is covered with daisies in the spring. But to this day, the people of the area have a prejudice against eating catfish, though no one remember why.


Oct 30 2011

#183 “Fragility”

From Sophie in London, England

It takes a very special person to stand up and say that there’s no shame in fragility. Most of us spend so much time trying to be invulnerable that we often lose sight of the value of our delicate nature. I fully believe that fragility is a trait that is not reserved for humans alone, but that every being on this planet (no matter how resilient it might appear on the surface) possesses a side that is as frail and delicate as an eggshell. And there’s no shame in this. We are all beautifully flawed beings who need and deserve to be treated with kindness. If more of us realized this, perhaps we would be nicer to one another, and then in turn the world would slowly transition into a happier place.

When I look at this wolf with a tear streaming down its furry cheek, I don’t pity the creature, nor do I condemn its emotion. I simply embrace its sensitive and sentimental nature with an empathetic heart and know that I, too, have shed many tears… often for reasons unknown.

In closing, this touching illustration of two tender lobos reminds me of a passage from a self-help book entitled Transformation Soup by SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy). The excerpt is called “More Tears, Please.” I have included it below. I hope you enjoy it, and if you ever feel like embracing more fully that delicate and fragile side of yourself, I encourage you to check out some of SARK’s other works, or at least think back to these beautiful animals created by Sophie.

We are afraid to cry.

We are afraid to be seen as weak, or falling apart, or not FUN! to be with.

We cry and then we apologize. We only cry in front of certain people. We only cry when we’re alone, or we can’t cry.

Crying is not spoken of enough.

When Princess Diana was killed, the images and sounds of so many people crying together really touched me…

We must let go and TUMBLE through our interiors with no handholds, and fall limply down, our clothes damp from tears.

We must cry together, and hold each other as our shoulders shake.

We must cry with JOY and bursting open at the stunning beauty and kindness in this world. 

We must cry when we encounter our primitive loneliness and wake up gasping at 4 A.M.

Cry More Often.

We must cry at the injustices and evil and violence in our world.

Cry Again.

I think that until we cry as often as we laugh, we are not fully alive.

Cry For No Reason.

Our tears are the waterfall of the soul and it is our right to experience and express sadness and other feelings through tears.

Don’t Block Tears.

When you feel that distinctive tingle behind your eyes, let the tears out.

You tears live inside of you and want to flow freely.

No More Apologies For Tears!

I welcome your tears and encourage my own.


Oct 29 2011

#182 “Instinctual”

From a stranger in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

If I’ve learned anything over the past six months, it’s that Canadians really do know their way around a wolf. A love for the lobo seems almost to be inborn within them. It is innate to their citizens as a whole. It is natural for those born upon Canada’s fertile soils to naturally be in tune with this creature of the wilderness.

Need proof? Just take a look at this illustration from a stranger in Toronto. This man is so at one with the wolf that his hand naturally forms the distinctive lines of the creature even when he is not looking at the paper on which he is drawing. It’s almost as if he is a wolf-Jedi of sorts. Just as Luke used The Force on board the Millennium Falcon to deflect the laser beams with the blast shield on his helmet down, so too does this intuitive artist use the spirit of the lupine to guide his hand in its fluid formations.

It’s a beautiful thing really, but then again, we shouldn’t expect anything less when we consider the power that true unity with the wolf can bring.

And remember…

“Luminescent beings we are. Not this crude matter.”   ~ Yoda


Oct 28 2011

#181 “Tutorial”

From “Pro Sew Comedian” in Fort Worth, Texas

So you’ve got a problem: There’s a stirring deep within your bones urging you to construct your very own lupine masterpiece, but you simply don’t know where to begin. Fear no more, my friend. Allow me to introduce “Pro Sew Comedian” and his wolf-drawing tutorial with personality the size of Texas.

With step-by-step instructions to take you all the way from inception to finishing touches, this training session allows even the greenest of wolf-artists to achieve the pinnacle of lupine creations. Now is the time to let your spirit howl without limits. That’s right, no more excuses. No more hiding behind claims of novice-level skill or artistic ignorance. The day of reckoning is upon us. It is time to conquer the intimidation of the pen and vanquish all self-doubt. With the help of “Pro Sew Comedian” each of us can join the ranks of such famous wolf-artists as Kim Diment, Julia Hargreaves, Karla Mann, and Michael Dumas.

As far as the question that this contributor posed is concerned, I did write back with a response, but I fear it was not with the answer he was hoping for. This blog is really the only “corkboard” that I have on which to display the artwork I receive. The organization of the physical collection mainly consists of a pile of notebooks with plastic protective sleeves. Not much to look at, but effective nonetheless. Who knows, though… perhaps someday there will be a marvelous and unified display of all these masterpieces.Then we shall all lay eyes on them together and bask in their glorious radiance. And when that day comes, I hope we are all there to see it together…


Oct 27 2011

#180 “Love Me…”

From “Go Girl” in Memphis, Tennessee

First off, in reference to the note in the corner of this picture, I feel that I must tell “Go Girl” that I truly do love this illustration. It is like no other picture that I have received, and it certainly shows a rarely seen side of the wolf: the cute and vulnerable side.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this picture takes me back to the days when local newscasts would feature pets that were housed at the neighborhood animal shelter and would plead their case for adoption. Maybe it’s the oversized, almost pitiful eyes or the somewhat tentative stance. Maybe it’s the name, “Cody,” which seems so much like one that I can hear rolling off the tongue of Paul Barys as he tenderly strokes Cody’s fur as he sits shivering atop the WRCB news desk. It might even be the overt sentiment expressed in the statement, “He loves you all” or the tattoo that seems to say “LOVE ME.”

But no matter what it is, there is a message of vulnerability and love expressed here that is nothing if it not touching. We all yearn for acceptance. We all seek to belong. And at the end of the day its wonderful to know that someone is taking care of us.

But the question is… Who will take care of the wolf? Who will protect it? Who will speak on its behalf when others speak out against it?

Will you?


Oct 26 2011

#179 “A Tribute to Belle & Sebastian”

From Madalyn in Auburn Hills, Michigan

If I had to sum up this illustration from Madalyn in only three words, they would be nostalgic, peaceful, and quirky. The word nostalgic fits because of the classic repose in which this wolf is pictured, as well as the unusual but very appropriate coloring of the illustration. You’ll notice that the picture has a bit of a yellowish tint to it, almost as if it had been discovered tucked away in some corner of the attic in the house you grew up in or was lost for years underneath the blankets of your grandmother’s cedar chest.

The word peaceful is fitting simply because of the pleasant calmness that descends upon me when I look at this picture. I can sense the cold, clean air, the scent of evergreen trees and the smoke from a fireplace. I can hear the crunch of snow as it compacts underneath winter-time boots and feel the soft warmth of a fur-lined coat. The picture delivers a simple yet tranquil scene of a wolf in quiet thought, and thus it makes you want to breathe deeply and take in its classic elegance.

But then the word quirky also seems to fit here. The wolf is beautiful yet slightly cartoonish in his features, and we get the sense that this animal is not some brutish beast but is instead an animal more inclined toward silly thoughts and a lighthearted outlook on life.

All in all, these three features remind me quite a bit of a nostalgic, peaceful, quirky indie pop band by the name of Belle & Sebastian whose music seems to deliver an aesthetic experience similar to the one that this illustration offers. As it just so happens, one song in particular seems quite fitting as an accompaniment to this picture. The song is called “Fox in the Snow,” and although the playful ditty is not about a wolf (it is obviously about a fox), I believe it presents a similar sentiment.

Enjoy!


Oct 25 2011

#178 “Armed and Dangerous”

From Nathan in Little Rock, Arkansas

Typically, when an illustration features a wolf that is somewhat aggressive, the teeth seem to get all the attention. But not so with Nathan’s illustration. In a true testimony to his uniqueness of vision, this picture foregoes the somewhat cliche image of a set of fearsome teeth dripping with bloody saliva. On the contrary, it is the paws and claws of the wolf that take center stage in this illustration, and I must say that it’s about time. Thanks, Nathan, for redirecting us.

Whether you believe that the paws of a wolf are a result of millions of years of evolutionary progress or were intelligently designed by the hands of an almighty creator, I think we can all agree that they are a feature of this magnificent animal that are worthy of praise and admiration. It is those paws that coddle the young ones as they utter their first howls in a wolfy den. It is those paws that propel the animal from perfect stillness to breakneck speeds in an instant. It is those paws that form the imprint in the mud that causes our hearts to skip a beat when we lay our eyes upon it.

The paws are where strength and agility are married, where the roughness of pads meets the smoothness and softness of the fur. All predators have a fearsome set of teeth, but the paw… that is a triumph of body that only the wolf can claim.


Oct 24 2011

#177 “To Serve Man”

From Heidi in Texas

If you’ve never seen the episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “To Serve Man” which was based on the short story of the same name by Damon Knight, please allow me to recommend it to you. It’s one of the greatest episodes in the history of the series and was one of the only episodes in which the fourth wall was broken down and an actor spoke directly to the viewing audience. Besides this, though, the story is cleverly constructed and is just twisted enough to walk that fine line between being disturbing and entertaining.

Here’s the gist of what happens: (1) Aliens come to Earth (2) The aliens are really swell guys and they say that their whole purpose in visiting earth is “to serve man.” (3) The aliens even bring a really neat book on how to serve man, but it’s written in an alien language and no one can translate it. (4) People start moving to the alien planet by the truckload (or spaceship load) in order to become the gods they think they will be treated like when they arrive (5) As all of this is happening, the book finally gets translated, and lo and behold…. It’s a cookbook! Ahhhhhhhhhhh! “To Serve Man.” Get it?

Zing! What a twist!

As cheesy as all of this sounds, the episode delivers a fairly overt admonition for us to keep our pride in check and to use our brains instead of stroking our own egos. Also, at the end of the episode when the actor breaks down the 4th wall, he says, “We’re all of us on the menu… All of us.” The message in this statement is clear: Regardless of how advanced or how intellectual we may become, we’re still a part of the food chain, and when push comes to shove, we may very well be at the mercy of creatures that are more powerful than we are.

Am I a misanthrope who hopes that Mother Nature and her army of animals will repay us for the evil crimes that we have committed against her? Certainly not. But I also don’t think we should become too cocky. Take the illustration above, for example. While the exact circumstances are a bit unclear, one thing that we know definitively know is that a complete role reversal has taken place, and man is now being served in much different way than he is used to.

In the end the choice is yours: Serve others… or be served, yourself.


Oct 23 2011

#176 “Ride the Wind”

From Ashlee in Nine Miles Falls, Washington

Voiceless it cries
Wingless flutters
Toothless bites
Mouthless mutters

For those of you that are somewhat Tolkien-savvy, I’m sure you recognize this riddle as being printed in a little book called The Hobbit. The answer to this puzzle, of course, is the wind.

In many ways, the wind is just as mysterious and enigmatic as the wolf itself. It is powerful yet peaceful. It has the capability to change at the drop of a hat. It can calm and soothe us or it can drive us to seek shelter from it cruel blasts. Indeed, it is truly a fickle mistress. More than this, though, it is all around us all the time. It is a part of us. Its existence is as closely tied to our lives as the air that we breathe, and in fact, it is a part of that as well.

I don’t know how the wind works, where it comes from or where it goes. And similarly, I face the same riddles when I set my mind on the beautiful and majestic wolf. All that I know is that the creature exists and is a part of this blessed Mother Earth that contains so many more mysteries than our minds are ever capable of comprehending. In the end, I suppose that I don’t need to understand the wolf in order to appreciate it, just as I don’t necessarily need to understand the wind in order to treasure a cool breeze on a warm day. Efforts of comprehension leave room for error, but love transcends misunderstandings.

The wind. A wolf. They seem like ordinary ideas on the surface, and yet Ashlee has combined them here in a triumph of art that shatters the ordinary. In honor of you, Ashlee, I have posted the video below. The song is called “Windfall,” and it is performed by the alt/country group Son Volt. If you’ll notice, the hook in the song repeats the words, “May the wind take your troubles away.”

This is the wish that I have for you, Ashlee. Thanks for the awesome picture.


Oct 22 2011

#175 “Tie-Dye the Sky”

From Nancy in Kingstown, Rhode Island

Chattanooga is not necessarily a large city, but it’s still big enough that the lights from downtown are able to effectively block out most of the stars at night. It’s a sad thought, really, to know that right up above me is a whole array of brilliant lights twinkling away in a vast universe but that I can’t see them. At times I have traveled to a few places (Fort Defiance, AZ; The Grand Tetons in Wyoming; Segovia, Spain; backpacking trips in The Great Smoky Mountains) that are far enough removed from large urban environments so that I have been able to drink in the beauty of the nighttime sky undaunted, but this doesn’t happen often.

Every chance I get, I love to break away from the hustle and the bustle, from the nighttime sirens and streetlights, and stare up into that expansive blanket of glimmering diamonds, twinkling away into infinity. It makes one feel so small and yet so precious at the same time. Between these sacred glimpses, however, I must be content with my memories. But these wonderful recollections are often helped along with inspiring illustrations like Nancy’s here that help to anchor these thoughts of beauty into my mind. Thank you, Nancy, for painting the sky with a brush of imaginative color, for setting the sky on fire, for bringing it to life. It hangs above our heads every hour of everyday, but how often do we really appreciate it?


Oct 21 2011

#174 “Seeing the wolf in everything”

From Brennan in Mission Viejo, California

As you can see from the date on this piece, I received it quite a while ago. When I first examined Brennan’s playful (yet thoughtful) contribution, I knew that a special chord had been struck inside me, but the combination of notes was one that was unfamiliar; and as a result it has taken me quite some time to fully discover why I love this lighthearted illustration so much.

In the end, the answer was right in front of me the whole time. The transformation of the smiley face into that of a rascally, good-natured wolf is a small representation of the artist’s ability to see nearly everything in life with a “wolf’s eye view.” While it is true that we live in a world that is far removed from the one that the wolf resides in, this doesn’t mean that we must become slaves in our thinking to the ties that bind us to our lives of convenience.

In everything you do, everything you see, everything you say… look for the wolf. Let the attitude of the creature guide you. Let its essence wash over you until you see the world through its eyes. Strive for its divinity, call up its courage, seek its gentleness, summon its spirit… Become one with the wolf. And when you do this, when you truly see the wolf in everything, then the circle of your life will be complete and you will have achieved true enlightenment.

Thanks, Brennan. Now we’re all one step closer.


Oct 20 2011

#173 “Hello, St. Louis!”

From “Pseudonym” in St. Louis

I have never been to that sensational city known as St. Louis, but it has long been a dream of mine to visit what I believe to be one of the most vibrant and beautiful metropolitan areas in the heart of America. To see that magnificent arch in person, to stroll through Forest Park on a bright and crisp autumn afternoon, to bite into a juicy hotdog at a Cardinals game- how breathtaking it would all be, how wonderfully “American.” So many incredible aspects of this great country seem to converge in this proud city, this “Gateway to the West” that is nestled peacefully between that mysterious border between east and west.

In many ways this mighty conglomeration of a city is a very suitable place to serve as the birthplace of this unique illustration. The reason for this is because this seemingly simple picture is truly a combination of diverse elements. If you take a good look, you’ll notice that this drawing is unique and interesting, but it is also vaguely familiar. Why? Because the two very different elements that converge to form this one illustration are the very likenesses of our old childhood friends Top Cat and Count Chocula. These two entities are far from similar, but on the Saturday mornings of my adolescence, they blended perfectly in a sugar-fueled binge of wonderment.

I know that I have never actually been to St. Louis and therefore my knowledge of the city is derived mostly from a viewpoint of ignorance, but I can say this: If St. Louis is anything like a crazy combination of anthropomorphic children’s cartoon and a sugary breakfast cereal that turns your milk to liquid chocolate, I’m packing my bags today. Break out the air mattress, Pseudonym. Clear a spot off the couch. I’m on my way!


Oct 19 2011

#172 “Innocence”

From Meagan in Chattanooga, TN (8-years-old)

The wonder of childhood artistry can become a bit mysterious at times. It seems that when we assess or analyze an illustration born from the mind and hand of a child that we tend to polarize our reactions. We either gloss over the details of the work rather quickly and don’t give the piece much conscious thought at all or we peer deeply into the supposed meaning of the work and turn each detail over in our brains with painstaking detail. The problem with the first scenario is that doesn’t adequately address any part of the work, and the problem with the second is that meaning is searched for so fervently that the nature of the art itself often becomes completely lost.

In my opinion, the proper analysis of childhood art is one that is both external as well as deep, and ultimately I feel that the best way to accomplish this is to sets our sights first and foremost on an appreciation of the innocence of the childhood imagination. I fully believe that adults can be just as imaginative and creative as children, if not more so. But over time there seems to be a certain level of innocence that is lost in the imaginative power of adults. Our creative ideas often seem tainted with a hint of depravity or perversion. As we grow older we somehow think that in order to be imaginative we must be twisted, creepy, and perverse. But the beauty of the childhood imagination is that it is creative but also pure and clean.

So in conclusion, when I lay my eyes upon these wonderful illustrations by young Meagan, I don’t gloss over them without a second thought, nor do I try to break down the significance of every line and mark. I simply appreciate it for what it is: imaginative, fun, creative and refreshingly wholesome.

Keep up the good work, Meagan. You’re going to be a great artist someday!


Oct 18 2011

#171 “What a Smile!”

From Arantxa in Santa Marta, Colombia

When I was in high school, my circle of friends just happened to also be friends with a man in his mid-30s by the name of Jeff. Because of extensive drug use during his own high school years, Jeff had sustained some serious and permanent brain damage and was forced to take a number of medications in order to keep his moods regulated and his brain functioning somewhat properly. It was actually a very sad story, and in the end it served as a great lesson for all of us to simply leave drugs alone. We had a painfully vivid first-hand account of what they could do to you if things got out of control.

Anyway, as my friends and I grew to know Jeff, one of the most entertaining features of our relationship was the fact that he would share with us stories of his high school sexual escapades and extensive drug use. Many of these stories were wildly improbable and completely depraved, and the simple-minded delivery that Jeff would employ was often just as hilariously astounding as the actual details of the stories themselves. Of course, these anecdotes were entirely inappropriate for us to be listening to, but this fact made them all the more attractive. Also, I know that your Spidey Senses might start tingling when you think about a man almost 20 years older than us telling us stories about sex and drugs, but what you have to realize is that intellectually and socially, Jeff was actually on about the same level as we were. We practically viewed him as a peer, and I am fully convinced that we were never in danger in any way when we were with him. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, his stories often served as a very effective warning for us.

Also, even though Jeff’s stories about his own high school experiences were raunchy and completely immoral, as an adult he was more calm, gentle and caring than any man I had ever met. I never heard him say one cross word to or about another living being, and he was always respectful in the extreme. In fact, when urged to speak about girls or women that he thought were attractive, Jeff would always say the same thing: “She was a real pretty smile.” That was it. After all of his wild adventures, mild-altering trips and sexual conquests, that was all that Jeff had to say about women.

I can still remember being completely shocked but also very impressed by this. There was a simple truth in that statement about a pretty smile that rang true to me, even as a self-asborded teenager. I know it sounds strange, but in a small way Jeff actually taught me a greater respect for women and he instilled within in me the idea that the beauty of a smile was perhaps the most valuable feature that a person could have. Now, as an adult I look around at this materialistic and over sexualized culture that we live in today, and I believe it’s important to return to that simplistic appreciation for a kind and caring smiling.

In the end the reason why I have said all of this is because this beautiful illustration by Arantxa takes me back to that wonderful, youthful appreciation for the smile. Thank you, Arantxa, for the reminder. You could have drawn just about anything: a sexy wolf in lingerie, a savage wolf feeding on a human feast. But no, you chose to focus on a subject of beauty, innocence and kindness, and that is truly what the world needs now.

Never stop smiling, Arantxa. After all, when you get ready to start your day, a smile is the most important thing you can put on.


Oct 17 2011

#170 “Mr. Darcy”

From Andrea in Montreal, Canada

I’m not sure if Andrea was aware of my affinity for classic literature before drawing this particular illustration, but regardless of whether she was or not, this piece speaks to my soul in a way that few others can. The poise and elegance of these two magnificent creatures is straight out of the pages of a Victorian novel, and in fact, in her accompanying email, Andrea made reference to the notion that this wolf reminded her perfectly of Mr. Darcy from that triumph of British literature: Pride and Prejudice.

As I just mentioned, I was easily aware of the mood and setting of this piece in reference to Victorian ideals and society, but the idea of a relationship between the illustration and Pride and Prejudice was not instantly graspable in my mind. If anything I believe the standing wolf to be dressed in a military style which would lead to a more natural association with George Wickham instead of Mr. Darcy. Add to this idea that I easily imagine the headstrong Elizabeth to be sitting so subserviently, and I just didn’t see the connection at all.

But then it hit me. Andrea’s connection between the character of Mr. Darcy and the wolf was so astute, so clever and intelligent, that I didn’t even have the wits to see it at first. Ultimately, the wolf is the perfect representation for Fitzwilliam Darcy. It’s so insightful yet so simple. Just like the wolf, Darcy flaunted a tough exterior. His desire was to be seen as the Alpha Male, and he carefully crafted all presentations of himself in such a manner as to successfully thwart off any attack. He was rough, crude, violent and dangerous. But underneath this shell of abrasiveness, Darcy was also sensitive and caring. He was calm, cool and composed, and his ultimate commitment is always to the greater good. What better representation of the wolf is there?

Andrea, how could I have been so blind? The connection was there all along. Well done, my talented friend. Take a bow!


Oct 16 2011

#169 “Definitions”

From Nick, a wandering drifter…

It is not uncommon for discoverers of this project to label it with a wide variety of terms. Words ranging from “awesome” to “weird” are commonly attributed to this social experiment of sorts, and to be honest, I find just about all of these classifications to be fairly accurate. To the modern wolf enthusiast, there are no doubt certain aspects of WBS that would inspire awe, but to those without a proper appreciation for the lobo, I can also understand that this project would seem very bizarre.

Of all the assessments and descriptions of this website that I have ever experienced, however, I would have to say that the words of Nick in a recent email are the most unique and definitely the most perplexing. Here is what this lupine-loving vagabond had to say:

“Wolves by strangers is the beginning of the Post-post modernist art movement and will be remembered as the grandfather of Dadaism in the digital era.”

I’ll be honest, I was floored when I read this description, but not necessarily because I disagreed with it. I was simply unaware that someone might read so deeply into this project that they would define it with these somewhat ambitious terms. Also, I was a bit taken back because although Dadaism and Post-post modern art are movements that I am familiar with, I wasn’t quite sure if these classifications were totally accurate. I felt that I must either validate or deny these claims, and in order to do so, I would have to become strangely introspective.

As far as the reference to Dadaism is concerned, I agree with this analysis in some respects and disagree in others. Unlike Dadaism, I do believe that this project is (to a certain degree) concerned with aesthetics. But then again, aesthetics are largely in the eye of the beholder, and one person’s sense of beauty can be vastly different than that of another. Also, I don’t necessary believe that this project rejects logic or the idea of the bourgeois and their controlling power, but I do believe that the artwork displayed here often does embrace chaos and irrationality and that very often the prevailing ideas of what is traditionally considered to be “art” are cast by the wayside.

Whether or not this project adheres to any of the prevalent ideas of Post-post modernism may be even more difficult to analyze, particularly because we are currently living in the early developmental stages of this growing epoch. However, if we look at the major theme of Post-post modernism as being closely tied to the idea that faith, trust, dialogue, performance and sincerity can work to transcend postmodern irony, then I believe we may be on to something.

So, what conclusion have we reached in the end? I believe it is the one that we knew would be waiting for us all this time: the wolf is all things to all people. It is undefinable and magically transcendent. Whether your work is marvelously minimal (such as the piece that Nick has so graciously bestowed upon us) or is deeply intricate and complex, the spirit of the wolf lies within them all. And in the end this is really all that matters.

But we can’t leave the discussion without tipping our hats to Nick who started this whole ball rolling. Thanks, Nick, for turning on our thinking caps. We certainly need it from time to time. Also, as I compose these final sentences, I am reminded of the words of the famous British playwright George Bernard Shaw who wrote, “All good art is didactic.” If that’s all we know, then for now I think that is enough, and one more thing’s for sure: Nick’s work here today has certainly been more didactic than I think any of us anticipated.

Thanks again, Nick.

 


Oct 15 2011

#168 “Tonight we are brothers!”

From Kane

Often times, the breaking down of boundaries can be a beautiful and inspiring experience. In many ways, the only thing more electrifying is perhaps when multiple walls come tumbling down in unison, creating room for new relationships, new connections, and new bonds. When the chains and fetters that bind the hearts and minds of those trapped behind walls of narrow-mindedness are torn apart and destroyed forever, there’s no telling what we may accomplish.

The motivational picture that is up for public viewing today is just the type of work that possesses this magnificent power, for the work seems to break through artistic as well as thematic boundaries. Artistically, this piece is wonderfully textured and beautifully colored; it possesses a tangible quality of familiarity in its cartoon-like presentation, but it is also artful, delicate, and precise. In the simplest terms, it takes the idea of a “cartoon” to a whole new level and pushes the envelope in terms of the amount of skill that is expected from a traditional comic.

Also, though, this artist is savvy enough to capture a specific moment in time and draw out a universal theme of unity for the ages. Regardless of your nationality, race, or religious preference, this picture urges each of us to take advantage of every possible moment to form bonds of unity and brotherhood. We all know that in the real world conflict is unavoidable at times, but to neglect any opportunity for fellowship and the friendships that can develop from it is a waste indeed.

I will leave you now with the words of the artist that accompany this piece so well:

“Tomorrow we fight, tomorrow we kill each other, tomorrow we are sworn enemies. But tonight we are friends, tonight we are brothers, tonight we drink! Prost!”

Yes, Kane. Cheers, indeed!

 


Oct 14 2011

#167 “You can’t fight true love”

From Emily in Signal Mountain, Tennessee

A few days ago…

I stood just inside the doorway to our kitchen, next to the counter where I always drop my keys and wallet as I come in from work. Carefully, I opened the large manilla envelope with a small carving knife and slid out the picture, paying special attention not to tear or even crease it. At that same moment I heard the back door open again as my wife walked inside. She settled her purse in its usual spot on the counter, walked up behind me, and wrapped her hands around my waist. Placing her chin on my shoulder and peering over, she asked, “What’s that? Another picture?”

Somewhat absently, without even looking up, I muttered, “Yeah, I just got it today.”

“Oh. That’s cool. What do you think it means?”

“I’m not sure,” I said. “I guess it means… Well, I guess it means that you can’t fight true love.”

“That seems about right,” she said. And then added, “Kind of like us.”

“Yeah… Kind of like us.” Suddenly an unexpected smile spread across my face.

And with that she kissed me on the cheek and walked into the bedroom to change clothes.

 

Without question, being in love has its ups and downs. At times it can feel like life’s greatest blessing, but it also has the potential to seem like a cruel joke. But high or low, good times or bad, when you fall in love… you just know it. You can’t fight it.

Thanks for the reminder, Emily. I know you’re still young, but someday I hope you find a love that makes you feel passionately and wonderfully alive (at least most of the time). Never settle for anything less. You’re worth it.

 


Oct 13 2011

#166 “Head On”

From a stranger in Little Rock, Arkansas

There’s a lot to be said about this illustration in reference to the beauty of the pen strokes and how they flow so freely, creating a face for this wolf that is beautifully honest. The lines are clean and smooth, yet hectic. The strokes add texture and truly bring this portrait to life.

However, what I would like to focus on more than the specific artistic triumphs of this piece is the inspiration that lies in the creature’s gaze. For some reason wolves often seem to be drawn in profile, but when you really examine this wolf’s fixated glare that directly meets your own line of sight, I believe you’ll find a sense of determination and optimism that a profile picture could never so fully deliver. This wolf’s firm and insistent stare encourages each of us to face the day head on, to attack this day as if we are the predator and it is our prey.

In other words, take today by storm; make it your own and don’t look away. And when you lay your head down upon your pillow tonight, you can rest fully in the assurance that if nothing else, you gave this day your all.

May the spirit of the wolf guide you this day and everyday.