Dec 31 2011

#245 “New Year’s Eve”

From a stranger in St. Louis, Missouri

Chances are that after the parties and get-togethers tonight, a few of us are going to wind up in the same position as this wolf tomorrow morning. I don’t want to get too preachy, but I do want to encourage you (as well as myself) to practice moderation on this night of celebration. Nothing would make for a worse start to the new year than vomiting up cheap beer. Have fun, but start the year off right so you can wake up happy tomorrow morning. I’ll see you in 2012!


Dec 30 2011

#244 “Renewal”

From Steven in Vasalia, California

After yesterday’s post which focused on the cathartic nature of saying goodbye to times gone by, I thought it would only be appropriate to examine the flip side of that same coin today and concentrate on the excitement of the future. I can’t help but to feel an overwhelming sense of optimism wash over me when I examine this illustration from Steven. This well-dressed creature seems ready to take on the world and displays a sense of jovial buoyancy which should be a lesson to all of us. With a cheery smile, an upright posture, and a friendly gesture, this wolf is ready to face whatever the future may have in store. Sometimes confidence and a positive attitude can make all the difference in life, and with an outlook like the one this wolf possesses, I think I can safely say that his future will be quite bright.

I’m not necessarily one for making New Year’s resolutions, but with the coming of the new year, I hope that we are all filled with the thrill of making a fresh start. While it’s true that the occasion for doing this may seem a bit arbitrary, any occasion to begin again is a valid one. So, as we prepare to begin this new year, I pray that the good cheer and sanguineness of this wolf will go with and guide your steps aright.

Best wishes,

“J”


Dec 29 2011

#243 “Auld Lang Syne”

From BTP in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

With the end of the year just around the corner, I cannot help but to feel a slight, creeping sadness. This year has been a good one, and as such, it will be a bit of a struggle to let it go. The passage of time is what brings us all the pleasant memories that we store away, but at the same time, there is a bit of sorrow in the knowledge that as these fleeting moments pass, they will never be regained. When I look at this intriguing illustration by BTP, I feel a sort of empathy flowing from its lupine subject. There is a pensive quality to this wolf that delivers a tone of thoughtfulness and reflection. The wolf’s brow seems slightly furrowed and the gaze is a bit downcast, suggesting that we have caught this creature in a moment of meditative introspection. The scribbled lines and squiggled features that make up the animal suggest age and perhaps even wisdom. Truly this is a creature in the midst of contemplation.

So often when we find ourselves ruminating on ideas related to that mysterious thing called time, we try to usher them instantly from our minds. But while it would certainly be detrimental to focus on the past forever… there is something to be said for freely allowing ourselves to grieve a bit for the time gone by, even if it has been filled with gladness… especially if it has been filled with gladness. We are human after all, and perhaps no one trait is so inherently tied to the human condition as the recognition of the fleeting nature of time…


Dec 28 2011

#242 “Penguin?”

From a stranger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Well… I guess I’ll go ahead and address the elephant in the room… or the penguin, if you will. This picture is obviously not of a wolf, but at the same time, I love it just as much as any other illustration to arrive in the WBS post office box. While some may see this picture as an example of good-natured trolling. I see the work of a man who knows his skills and talents. I see the work of a man who chose to contribute his artwork even though the focus of the project was not his forte. I see a man who thinks outside the box, who is a pleasantly square peg in a round hole and who likes to shake things up a bit. So… while I don’t see a wolf when I look at this illustration, I do see something just as inspirational. And in the end, I guess that’s all that matters.


Dec 27 2011

#241 “Red Dawn”

From a stranger in an unknown location

A wolf pictured in his natural environment is always a breathtaking sight, but something about this particular illustration seems to deliver discomfort as opposed to tranquility. I don’t mean to say that this illustration is unattractive or is not artfully rendered. I believe just the opposite is true. Only an illustration that is drawn with great skill could induce an intense emotional reaction, whether it be negative or positive. But what is it that delivers to me feelings of discomfort? Let’s examine the physical environment first. While the landscape in the picture is beautiful, it is also barren and harsh. The craggy surfaces of a rocky mountain face rise up in opposition to the earth below and block out the final rays of the autumnal sun. A few sparse trees dot the landscape, offering little comfort or shade to a weary traveler seeking shelter. The river, the source of life, seems to be not only flowing but running away, fleeing from this land without promise. And then there is the wolf itself. The creature is majestic and dignified, but there’s something in the eyes that sends a message of pain and vexation, something in the ragged fur that speaks of hardship.

However, even though this picture suggests thoughts of adversity and austerity, there is also a memory of one of my favorite films that I have somehow tied to this illustration and that I just can’t seem to shake. The movie is called “Red Dawn,” and like the illustration above, the movie paints a picture of the hardships and trials that are faced when living in an unforgivable natural environment. But at the same time, the movie (like this picture again) delivers themes of perseverance, determination and the magnificent power of a strong will to survive. The obvious disconnect between the two is that there are no Russians taking over the United States in this stranger’s picture, but overall, I still thought the movie was applicable enough to warrant the connection. If you haven’t seen the movie, send it to the top of your Netflix queue today; it’s a true classic. Before you view, check out the trailer below.


Dec 26 2011

#240 “Cover Art”

From a stranger in Michigan

I have always been especially fascinated with this picture because it was the first I had received in which the artist actually wrote the words “Wolves by Strangers” as an accompaniment to his artwork. A few days later when I showed the picture to a friend of mine, he  said, “Wow! I think this guy is shooting for the cover of the “Wolves by Strangers” book!” We both had a good laugh at this. This incident happened many months ago, and at that time the idea of creating a book from all of the wonderful artwork that I have received seemed like a preposterous notion. Now, however, things have changed a bit. As this unusual project has progressed, the idea of producing a book has become more of a real possibility, and I have taken a few concrete steps towards accomplishing this goal. But overall, the creation of a WBS anthology is still a pipe dream of sorts. There are many hurtles that would have to be overcome, such as submitting proposals to publishers and formulating an overall vision. And then, of course, there is the issue of gaining permission from the individual artists to use their work(s). But as I said, all of this is probably a long ways off. Still… it’s nice to dream, to have a target in mind to shoot for, even if it is a bit of a fantasy. And in the end, who knows what may happen? When this all started, I never thought we would make it this far…


Dec 25 2011

#239 “Merry X-Mas!”

 

From Frank at the University of Missouri

A special thanks is in order to Frank for knowing that just such a wolf would be necessary to celebrate this Christmas day. I think it would be only appropriate to let his work take center stage on such a special occasion. And s0, I will simply leave you with a small Christmas blessing and a link to a wonderful story that is very fitting for this special day and special illustration.

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.

Please enjoy Daniel Pinkwater reading his Christmas tale entitled “Christmas Wolf” on Weekend Edition from NPR News by clicking hereMaybe it will even become a new Christmas tradition… 


Dec 24 2011

#238 “Nightmare Before Christmas”

From RG in Marietta, Georgia

Visions of sugar plums? Ha! None of that nonsense tonight! Feast your eyes on the nightmare fuel that will haunt your dreams this Christmas Eve. Since holiday cheer is in abundance on every street corner, I have decided to dedicate today’s post to creating a haven of darkness from the gaiety of the season. With this fearsome beast on hand, no one is safe this Christmas Eve. So… if you hear a scratching on your rooftop or see ashy flakes drifting down through the chimney, it may not be dear old Santa that has come to fill your stockings with goodies. It may just be this savage beast, slinking into your home to devour you whole. But what is even scarier might be the idea that this wolf is actually Santa, himself. Is Santa Claus a werewolf? The idea might sound ridiculous, but it’s no sillier than the original concept of a man who flies around on reindeer-guided sleigh, etc., etc. If anything, the idea of a werewolf sounds much more plausible. And who knows, sharing this with your children may even result in better behavior next year…

So… try leaving out a plate of raw meat instead of cookies tonight. And while you’re at it, enjoy this song by Creepersin called “Lycanthropy.” Sleep tight!


Dec 23 2011

#237 “Friends”

From Frances in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (courtesy of MC)

Nothing stirs my soul more than receiving artwork from a friend of an artist instead of the artist himself/herself. Why is this? Well, simply put, when this exchange takes place and one friend offers a gift of art to another, much more than the art itself is exchanged. Messages are sent through the action that go deeper than words, and a sacred bond is created between both the giver and receiver that is difficult to establish in any other way. The message from the bestower to the recipient is one of love and trust. The giver offers herself up wholly and says, “Here is a piece of myself that I give freely to you. I value you enough to share a personal creation with you. You are important to me, and I want this gift to serve as a reminder of my love and affection for you.” The message sent from the one who receives the gift to the one who gives it is one of acceptance, admiration and empathy. This message says, “I take you as you are and I love your gift not because of the level of talent it displays but because of the sentiment behind it. I will value your art as much as I value you as a person. You are dear to me and therefore anything that you have to offer to me is precious and special.”

As you can see, this type of gift-giving is deep and meaningful for both parties. Therefore, when I receive a picture such as the one above (that was seemingly a gift from one friend to another), I become a third party to this important process and am honored to be involved. It’s almost like being a fly on a wall and witnessing some deeply sentimental event. While this wolf may be no more than the combination of a couple circles and a few lines and dots on a notecard, the symbolic meaning goes much deeper, and to me, this small illustration is a reminder of the hope that still exists in this world through the love and selflessness of good friends.

Thanks, Frances. Thanks, MT. If you’re ever in Chattanooga, send me a message. Maybe we can get a cup of coffee together, and perhaps even more new friendships will be born…


Dec 22 2011

#236 “Big City Wolf”

From Kusti in Finland

The wildness of nature takes on the hustle and bustle of the big city in this composition by Kusti, and to put it mildly, the results are simply breathtaking. While it takes a fair amount of imagination to dream up images of an untamed wolf leaping about on urban rooftops while cars race below and city lights flash in a crazed blur of color, there’s just something about this picture that feels so right. As humans we long to belong to both of these worlds, and through this ingenious piece of art, Kusti allows us to interact with these two conflicting sides of ourselves simultaneously. We don’t have to choose between the mystery of the deep forest or the excitement of the city; we can have them both.

What this wolf is doing in this environment isn’t entirely clear, but the viewer gets the sense that this animal is on a mission. There’s an urgency in his movements and a determination in his eyes that says that this wolf didn’t just wander off and find himself in the big city at random. Something has been risked. Something is at stake- something large and important. To sum it up in a single word, this picture contains drama. From the moment that I first laid eyes on it, my heart began to beat a little more quickly, and when an artist accomplishes this task, you know that he/she has truly made an impact. In this end, this image may just be a still picture on a screen, but it delivers a wild ride that will leave your head spinning.

Thanks for adding some excitement to my day, Kusti…


Dec 21 2011

#235 “Criticism”

From “Mezofoprezo” in Jacksonville, Florida

On a few previous occasions I have lamented the fact that so many artists who submit their work to WBS seem to be disappointed with the results of their own efforts. In my opinion, any and every artistic venture should be rewarded with unabashed praise. I can understand people’s reservations, though; when you create art, you take a great risk. You inherently place yourself at the mercy of the criticism of others, and for some strange reason, the opinions of people who judge our art (regardless of their authority, intellect or character) always seem to matter dearly to us. This is why I have always taken it upon myself to make sure that my comments about a contributor’s art are always positive and uplifting. I don’t do this for the sake of pity or to spare anyone’s feelings. I do it because it is right, and I do it because all art is worthy of admiration. And also, I do it because it’s easy. Hundreds of people from all over the world have sent me illustrations of wolves for no other reason besides the fact that I asked for it. How in the world could I be disappointed or critical of any picture that I receive? I simply don’t think it’s possible. Oh, and by the way, I have had people ask me before, “Do you really mean all the things that you say about the pictures on your website?” The answer to that question, my friends is “Absolutely.”

Also, the fact that I am not an artist myself allows me to appreciate the artistic attempts of others all the more. The collecting of art is way for me to live vicariously through a whole host of imaginative creators from all over the globe. I get to live a hundred lives in one. So to all of you out there who have been hurt or offended by the words of an overly harsh critic in the past, please allow me to offer my support and encouragement. Your work will always have a home here at wolvesbystrangers.com. Also, before I wrap things up, I think it’s only appropriate to send a special message of gratitude to “Mezofoprezo.” This wolf is far from “crappy,” my friend. It is unique and wonderful. It is playful and whimsical. It is has personality and flare. I love it. It is a representation of you, and you are a very special person.


Dec 20 2011

#234 “The Big Picture”

From a stranger in an unknown place

When I first received this unusual looking wolf, I did not anticipate it becoming one of my all-time favorite pieces, but over the past several weeks this strange little illustration has secured an unrivaled place in my collection and in my heart. Even at a quick glance the overall shape of a wolf is obvious to grasp here, but a closer examine reveals a unique conglomeration of shapes and lines that no one would anticipate adding up to a gorgeous picture of a classic lupine subject. Try an experiment: Take your hand and isolate a section of the picture. Any section will do. Just make it so that you can only see a portion of the illustration. What does it look like to you? What can you distinguish? You will no doubt see a strange collection of seemingly random lines and shapes that are aesthetically pleasing in their strangeness and uniqueness, but you will certainly not see a wolf. And this is where the power of this illustration (and this artist) lies. The individual pieces of this picture seem unlikely to add up to the sum of their parts, and yet they do. All of this suggests that the artist behind this piece is a talented visionary and is able to see the forest in spite of the trees; she/he was able to view the big picture that all of the little lines and shapes would amount to. It’s quite remarkable really. In the end, this picture just goes to show how fantastic our brains are, both in terms of their ability to create and their ability to interpret. Shapes and lines. Drawn with pencil on plain white paper. Who would have ever thought?


Dec 19 2011

#233 “Pride”

From a stranger in Issaquah, Washington

Every time that I show off this particular wolf to friends or family members, at least one person makes a comment about this wolf’s disposition as appearing to be especially prideful. This never really surprises me, because this wolf truly does seem to display all the typical signs of someone who is self-respecting. His chest is pushed outwards, his back is straight and tall, there is a noble and unashamed gleam in his eyes, his tail protrudes erectly, and his hands are placed confidently on his hips in a recognizable kind of self confident body language that says, “Here I am, world. I’m ready for anything you can throw at me, so give me your best shot.” Really, all it would take is a flowing cape trailing out from behind this creature, and he would look quite a bit like a superhero. What does surprise me about people’s reaction to this picture, though, is the mixed reviews it gets simply based on the prideful aspects of its subject. While everyone always agrees that this illustration is artfully rendered and displays great talent on the part of the artist, people are generally quite divided about their feelings in regards to the brazen pride of this wolf.

It might sound a bit strange at first, but the concept of pride is one that seems to be continually caught in a whirlwind of praise and condemnation; there are just so many mixed messages circulating about pride. As children as well as adults, we are continually inundated with sayings and stories that either warn us of the dangers of excessive pride or encourage us to stand up straight and true and to be proud of every aspect of our beings, regardless of how shameful they might seem to us. In the end, the whole issue can be quite confusing, and we can easily be pulled into a disconcerting mindset of contradictions to the point where we have no idea at all what we should take pride in or how we should show it. Surely this has got to be the greatest crime of all.

In the end I thought it might be appropriate to pair this illustration with the music video for the song “Pride” by the band U2. Even though the song has absolutely nothing to do with wolves (it was actually written about MLK), the song does seem to be on-topic in more ways than one. Besides the fact that the song thematically presents ideas related to pride, the band itself (like the concept of pride) seems to be continually caught in a comparable storm of praise and condemnation. Based on my experience, people either love or hate U2. They either praise them for their staying power and hit songwriting capabilities or they condemn them for striking a supposed air of self-importance and arrogance. In other words, the question on everyone’s mind when it comes to U2 is this: Are these guys ego-maniacs… or has their talent and accompanying success warranted a certain level of pride that is well-deserved?

The world may never come to agreement on these issues, but regardless of the lack of consensus, I’m very happy to share this illustration with you today, and I hope this has made the artist proud.


Dec 18 2011

#232 “Everybody Poops”

From a stranger in reddit-land

I’d like to begin this post by apologizing to those of you who may find this picture to be a bit too crude for public consumption. Yes, I understand that there will be those of you who might have a slight aversion to the idea of a wolf defecating off of the edge of a cliff, but at the same time, I feel that we must accept the fact that the evacuation of the bowels is a natural part of life and that (to put it casually) everybody poops. So while we might not necessarily want to publicly celebrate our bowel movements, we can at least accept them as an essential part of our well-being and recognize that the body’s rejection of feces plays a pivotal role in our overall health. In fact, seeing as how spending some quality time on the toilet is so vital to a healthy lifestyle, I think it would be nothing if not fitting to examine some facts that revolve around the most intimate of body functions: the BM. Enjoy!

Archeologists have found evidence of “sitting-type” toilets in Egypt dating back some 3,000 years.

The Chinese found the oldest working indoor toilet in their country to be 2,000 years old. It belonged to a king of the Western Han Dynasty. The toilet came complete with running water, a stone seat, and a comfortable arm rest.

During the Middle Ages in England, the river Thames actually caught on fire due to the overwhelming amount of feces decomposing and producing methane gas.

The word “crap” in all likelihood is derived from either the Dutch word “krappen” or the French word “crappe.” In either language, the word is a general term referring to waste or useless objects.

1 out of every 100 women only experiences a bowel movement once a week.

Only about 40% of men and 33% of women move their bowels everyday.

The average weight of a piece of fecal matter is 3.5 ounces.

Stool generally consists of 75% water, retained inside undigested food.

Poop gets its signature color from bile, a greenish-brown liquid produced in the liver.

The one hour of the year which experiences the most toilet usage in the United States is during half time of the Super Bowl.

More than 70% of people place their toilet paper on the roll with the loose end over the roll.

Females, on average, take about 3 times longer than men to use the bathroom.

About a third of all Americans flush the toilet while they’re still sitting on it.

For more great facts on fecal matter check out SmellyPoop.com!


Dec 17 2011

“Fan Page Contest!”

Dear wolf-loving friends,

In an effort to try to increase the fanbase of the “Wolves by Strangers,” I have designed a small contest for the month of December.

Here’s the deal: The facebook fan of the project who supplies the most new fans to the “Wolves by Strangers” facebook page during this month will receive the t-shirt of his/her choice from everythingwolf.com (purchased by me, of course) and will receive one sticker for each new fan that they supply. So, start spreading the word about WBS to your friends, and get them to like the page.

How will I know that you are responsible for bringing a new fan? Just have your referee(s) email me to let me know that they were referred by you, or email me yourself when a friend that you referred likes the page.

Get your friends, family-members, and coworkers on board. Let the contest begin!

If you haven’t become a fan of “Wolves by Strangers” on facebook, I would love it if you did so!

 

Contact info:

facebook.com/wolvesbystrangers

wolvesbystrangers@gmail.com

 


Dec 17 2011

#231 “I get by…”

From a stranger in reddit-land

A squirrel riding a bearded wolf… Is this the result of an overactive imagination dreaming up whimsical thoughts for the mere fun of it? Or is there something more going on here? Only the artist knows for sure, but what can easily be seen by every viewer is that there is an intimate relationship between the two characters in this picture. There’s a friendship, a codependency of sorts, that helps to show that we are not alone, that we all need companionship, and that no man is an island. And speaking of this concept, I believe it would be very fitting to pair this illustration with one of my favorite pieces from the well-loved Renaissance writer, John Donne. If you’re feeling intellectually malnourished or simply in need of emotional sustenance, or if you’re feeling up to diving into the deep end of a pool of classic literature, you should look up Donne’s “Meditation 17.” I’m sure you’ll find it very fitting.

But then again, if you’re not so much into classic literature, you might find the words of some contemporary poets a bit more fitting. Maybe John, Paul, George and Ringo said it best when they sang these simple words: “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Thanks for the picture, stranger. Even though we’ve never met, we’re intimately connected, and strange as it sounds… I consider you my friend.


Dec 16 2011

#230 “Jordan”

From Jordan in Chattanooga, Tennessee

I believe that whether or not an artist consciously chooses to reveal her true self in her creations or whether she wishes to be deliberately mysterious and enigmatic, there will always be a hint of truth or a vein of authenticity that runs throughout her work. Not that Jordan would try to be purposefully deceptive- I know her personally, and I have always found her to be honest in the extreme. But I make these statements about the inherent truth in an artist’s work simply to say that I could picture no composition that is more representative of Jordan’s personality than what she has produced here. While the whole of her being could in no way be reduced down to a single picture, this work does serve as a nice summation of the nuances of her bright, quirky and endearing personality.

I have been out of contact with Jordan for quite a while, and strangely enough, this project has served as a means of reconnection between us. Although Jordan is not a stranger to me, the time apart has changed both of us, and as a result, when we talked just recently it was as if I was reconnecting with an old friend and meeting someone new all at once.

Probably one of the first things that the viewer will notice about this picture is the antique photograph that serves as a backdrop. Whether or not this picture is an actual heirloom of Jordan’s and holds personal significance, I can’t say for sure. But regardless, this photograph does possess at least some symbolic meaning. You see, Jordan is what you might call an “old soul.” Although she is young, she possesses a unique perspective on life and a wisdom that is typically only gained by people far beyond her years. A brief conversation with her will reveal to you a person whose worldview is one that is constantly curious but consciously deep and full of wonder. Just as the backdrop/photograph is careworn and old, Jordan is an individual who has known her fair share of hardship and has been through quite a bit in her relatively few years. But just as the photograph presents a young, seemingly carefree girl, Jordan also possesses a youthfulness and a thirst for life that is unrivaled by even the most vibrant of children. She has a zeal for new experiences and seeks to drink up all life has to offer, but at the same time she displays a maturity and a shrewdness of judgment that characterize a well developed sense of womanhood.

Moving on to the depiction of the wolf- Just as the lobo is presented in the foreground of this picture, Jordan’s social style and demeanor is up front as well. Like the wolf she is fearless and gallant, and she makes no bones about where she stands on certain issues or what her beliefs are. But as we all know, the wolf is also a mysterious creature that is as complicated and enigmatic as it is bewitching. It is changing and fickle but also marked by enduring characteristics of pride, freedom, and beauty.

And finally, the… um… tree thing(?) in the corner of the picture- In all honesty, I have no clue what this thing is or exactly what is going on here. But just as the other aspects of this picture shed light onto aspects of Jordan’s personality, so does this curious cartoon. As long as I have known Jordan, I have always pictured her mind to be an enchanted forest filled with whimsical thoughts and unique fantasies. Surely it is a place of magic and wonder where bizarre creatures of her own design mix and mingle with weird musings beyond comprehension. This addition to the picture is wild and unexpected, just like the artist herself.

In the end, I’m sure all of this just skims the surface of summing up Jordan as a person. Who can be defined by one picture or with just a few words? I’m sure that no one can, but ultimately the fact that Jordan took the time to create this beautiful work and send it to WBS does offer another hint to discovering who she is. It helps to prove that if nothing else, one simple word for her is accurate. And that word is… “friend.”

Thanks, Jordan.


Dec 15 2011

#229 “I am…”

From Monica

In the whole of the English language, the articles are probably the most overlooked words. In fact, some of you may not even know what I mean when I refer to “the articles,” but we all use them all the time. These words are as follows: “a”  ”an”  &  ”the”. Now, at first an article may seem like some sort of “filler” word, just a slight transitional expression that is dropped into a sentence or phrase to help it flow more freely, like a sort of oil for the vocabulary. But articles do much more than this.One major feature of articles is that the inclusion or exclusion of them is often a signal as to whether or not the noun that follows is common or proper. Common nouns are typically prefaced by articles while proper nouns are not.

So what does all of this have to do with this illustration? Well, by simply leaving out an article from the sentence in her illustration, Monica is able to make a larger statement about the significance of the wolf in her own life or at least her outward view of the wolf. To Monica, the wolf is not simply an animal; it is not just another creature that shares this same planet with us. It is a concept, an idea, an entity that exists in both a concrete as well as an abstract sense whose significance is far greater than what the average person might realize. It is both common and proper.

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. And then… sometimes simply leaving one simple word by the wayside can make a huge impact on all who hear and see an artist’s work. Thank you, Monica, not only are you a talented artist, but you have a way with words that is just as moving.


Dec 14 2011

#228 “Missing Piece”

From Anna in Little Rock, Arkansas

When we examine this illustration, I think we’re really presented with only two choices for our interpretation of its meaning. On the one hand, the artist behind this picture might have simply chosen to draw the hind end of the lupine subject because (as many artists know all too well) drawing the head/bust of a wolf is a very difficult task. On the other hand, this picture may present a metaphor about the constant busyness that has crept into our lives and has become such a dominant force that we can’t seem to sit still for more than a moment. Much like the wolf, we are in constant motion in our lives, “hunting” for something to fill our time and to prove that there is meaning in our existence. But unlike the wolf, which hunts for nourishment out of necessity, our hunt is one that is produced by an insecurity that something within us is lacking or that something is simply “missing.” In a global society that has progressed to the point where individuals in developed countries live lives in which every need is met before it is even felt, people reside just below the pinnacle of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and are desperately searching for self-accualization. In one sense this is great because it means that most of us live lives of safety and security, but at the same time, having these basic needs met leaves spare mental imagery that is often used to examine our own place in the world. Then, when the mind embarks on this difficult task, it is often so overwhelmed that it desperately searches for distraction. Thus, we end up filling our daily lives with meaningless tasks and distractions in a self-delusional attempt to fill a gaping hole in our own existence. Just as the front half of this wolf is missing from the illustration, the meaning and purpose of our own lives is lost to us, and we are on a constant hunt to fill the void in whatever way we can.

But please know that as I type this, I am not only speaking to you. I am also speaking to myself. Think about it- the constant hours of promoting this project, the early mornings and late nights spent hanging flyers to ask for wolf artwork from strangers, the days spent cataloging illustrations, the day-today postings that eat away at my time on this earth. What is all of this for? Is this the purpose for which I was designed? Or is this merely a distraction from my true purpose? Am I like this wolf, running from the spotlight so that I won’t have to examine my own self and so I won’t be seen by others? Maybe I am. Maybe. I. Am….


Dec 13 2011

#227 “Stars”

From Melody in Brooklyn, New York

Lots of wolf illustrations feature a nighttime scene consisting of either a lush forest or desert promontory combined with a bright, beautiful moon romantically placed overhead. Few pictures, however, focus on a beautiful accompaniment of twinkling stars quite like that of our friend Melody in New York. Placed soothingly above like a soft blanket of candles, these stars cast a peaceful light upon the lupine subject of this illustration that is calming and perhaps even a little sentimental. There’s a stillness and sense of quietude here that causes a hushed reverence to fall upon me as I look at this picture.

After spending some time with the illustration, I discovered that it reminded me of a song by a husband/wife duo known as The Weepies who produce music with a tone that seems similar to that of this picture. The music by the singer/songwriter duo is best described as tender, emotional, and nostalgic. In the end, I think there’s no better accompaniment for this tranquil work of art.

To see Melody’s website, click here.