Apr 11 2012

#347 “Jealousy”

From Warga in Newton, Massachusetts

FACT (Taken from Wolves and Other Wild Dogs by Mary Reid):
Wolves do not make good guard dogs because they are naturally afraid of the unfamiliar and will hide from visitors rather than bark at them.

I hope Warga will forgive me, but I censored the text of this illustration in order to protect younger viewers.

Apr 10 2012

#346 “Roots”

From a stranger in Nashville, Tennessee

To some this illustration may look like just another example of a child’s simple yet imaginative rendering of a wolf in the wild: green grass; yellow sun; fluffy trees; smiling lupine subject. In many ways the simplest analysis of this illustration may very well be the best one, but at the same time I can’t help but be drawn to those thick-rooted trees when I look at this picture and feel that there is some symbolism there. Just as these roots reach deeply into the soil, this simple WBS project has also become firmly rooted into the hearts, minds, and souls of strangers the world over. At first the collection started as a lone sapling, but now- nearly a year later- a veritable forest has sprung up amongst us. And with Springtime in full bloom, the growth of this woodland shows no signs of slowing…

Apr 9 2012

#345 “Forest Avenue”

A few days ago I received an email which contained a link to a new demo from an up and coming local band called “Forest Avenue.” I must admit that up until this time hadn’t caught any of the band’s live performances or even sought out a avenue through which to experience their unique sound, but I’d heard their name dropped by local hipsters and audiophiles who labeled them as the triumphant voice of a generation devoid of intellectual musical heroes and I’d read about them in a number of underground publications which hailed their music as “enigmatic,” “haunting,” and even “soul-stirring.”

While the track posted here (entitled “The Wolf”) lacks the refinement and polish of a professionally produced studio recording, the band’s lead singer and guitarist both informed me that this rough cut is not only intentionally raw but also highly symbolic of the song’s focus and message. It seems that the powerful delivery of the verse, when combined with the subtly mournful and ever evolving chorus, creates a dichotomy that is representative of the wolf itself. It is a creature defined by both savagery and softness, aggression and solitary anguish. And this idea was melded into the song’s construction and performance. This composition, which focuses on the pack mentality vs. the inner yearning for freedom, and which presents themes revolving around the frustrations and trials that accompany of the coming of adulthood, is not just about the wolf, however. It’s about the inner lupine spirit inside all of us: the caged wolf that yearns to run free.

In an age in which mass-produced pop music is so candy-coated that the sweetness turns your stomach, this track serves as a healthy dose of raw meat. At first it may be a shock to your system, but once you’ve developed a taste for it, you’ll crave nothing else…

(Oh… I feel like I must apologize for the lack of an original wolf illustration today, but since the guys in the band informed me that this song was partially inspired by the WBS project, I figured it was close enough…)

Apr 8 2012

#344 “Perspectives”

From a stranger in Chicago, Illinois

One of the first things that struck me about this illustration was the fact it offers a dual depiction of its lupine subject: there is the straightforward bust in the top portion of the illustration as well as the wolf profile at the bottom of the page. This dichotomy of artistic perspectives naturally led me back to the polarity of views concerning the wolf itself. It is a creature that is revered by some and despised by others. To some it is a savage beast and a merciless killer, to others a lonesome and mysterious spirit guide into a world beyond our understanding. But regardless of whether you stand as a supporter or detractor of this controversial creature, one thing remains certain: the wolf is alive and well in the world today and it will not be denied…

Apr 7 2012

#343 “Envelope Art”

From Damien in Phoenix, Arizona

Sometimes the decorations and embellishments on the envelopes that find their way to WBS are just as intriguing as the artwork contained within them. Such is the case with this particular parcel from Damien. The illustration seems to show a Native American-inspired wolf whose travels have left him somewhat weary. Trekking all the way from Phoenix to Chattanooga is quite a journey, but our lupine warrior has arrived intact and has no doubt brought new life to the mail carriers who have handled this unique gift of wolf-themed art. In the end, I think that may be the reason why I so thoroughly enjoy envelope art: it allows all those who work in the mail delivering industry to share in the project as well and to experience the fruits of WBS first-hand. It’s a small gift of artwork freely shared for a job well done, and Lord knows… those people don’t hear “thank you” often enough in the course of their day. So thank you, Damien, for this incredible wolf. And thank you, mail carriers, for making sure it arrived in my p.o. box, safe and sound.

Apr 6 2012

#342 “Totally Radical”

From Jack in Phoenix, Arizona

With it’s wildly erratic lettering and comically presented subject, along with the use of the word “rad” and some DayGlo-colored paper, this illustration is an obvious throwback to the 1980′s. And as a child of the 80′s, my appreciation for Jack’s nod to the decade of excess couldn’t be more thoroughly appreciated. It was a complex time of intemperance and innocence that produced some of the most unique pop culture phenomena in existence. And nothing was more interesting and intriguing than its slang. If you weren’t “gnarly” or “tubular” then you might as well have been “grody to the max.” But don’t worry, bro, if you’re not hip to the lingo, just take a chill pill and hit the link below to brush up on some classic 1980′s slang:

Like Totally 80′s Slang

Apr 5 2012

#341 “Tribal Wolf”



From Torie in LaFayette, Georgia

After receiving this “tribal wolf” from Torie, I started thinking about the communal nature of wolves and decided to look up some information to better help me understand the pack mentality of the animal. Here is a sampling of some of the information I was able to find. Enjoy!

  • A wolf pack may contain just two or three animals, or it may be 10 times as large.
  • Though many females in a pack are able to have pups, only a few will actually mate and bear pups. Often, only the alpha female and male will mate, which serves to produce the strongest cubs and helps limit the number of cubs the pack must care for. The other females will help raise and “babysit” the cubs.
  • Biologists describe wolf territory as not just spatial, but spatial-temporal, so that each pack moves in and out of each other’s turf depending on how recently the “no trespassing” signals were posted.
  • Wolves howl to contact separated members of their group, to rally the group before hunting, or to warn rival wolf packs to keep away. Lone wolves will howl to attract mates or just because they are alone. Each wolf howls for only about five seconds, but howls can seem much longer when the entire pack joins in.

Apr 4 2012

#340 “Rawr!”

From Kelly in Phoenix, Arizona

“The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me,
He complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.”

- Walt Whitman
“Song of Myself”

Apr 3 2012

#339 “Space Oddity”

From GMR in Phoenix, Arizona

Since May 1st, 2011, probably as many as a dozen illustrations have been posted on this site which feature the image of a wolf in space or operating some type of flying vehicle. While at first this concept might strike the viewer as strange, it actually makes perfectly good sense. Just as man has for centuries peered into the deepest reaches of space and longed to test the boundaries of the universe, so too does the wolf seem to gaze up at the lonesome moon and cry out with a sort of wistful yearning. And while our hopes and dreams might not be tied together as intimately as we might imagine, the truth of the matter is that that bright, enticing orb which rules the nighttime sky calls to all of us in some mysterious way…

Apr 2 2012

#338 Failure? Success?

From Rachel in Harrogate, Tennessee

Just as judgments about beauty are left uniquely in the eye of the beholder, so are appraisals of success and failure. Although Rachel makes a comment on her own piece suggesting that she views this work as a bit of an artistic debacle, I view the work as a triumph of creativity. Ducks, fish, whales and wolves swim together in a sea of imagination, each with its own unique voice and perspective on the interesting situation at hand. How could a work overflowing with so much inventiveness ever be anything but a complete success. In moments like these, I’m reminded of the words of Dale Carnegie who left us with this charge: “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are the two surest stepping stones to success.”

Apr 1 2012

#337 “Black Forest Holes”

From David in Siauliai, Lithuania

If you’ve been following this project with any sort of regularity over the past few months, you’ve probably noticed that David from Lithuania has become a regular contributor, and you’ve no doubt been impressed with the quality and creativity of his work. Having come to know a little bit about David through email correspondence, I can safely say that he is one of the most interesting people that I have ever met. As a painter, historian, coin-collector, wolf-enthusiast and modern day philosopher, David is a unique and creative soul, and his most recent work speaks to the truth of this statement. Entitled “Black Forest Holes,” David’s inspiration for this piece sprang from musings about the Third Reich and the Nazis, who were often referred to as wolves.

When I asked David about his inspiration for his work, he had this to say: “I always say, creativity is like a dark water. Imagine yourself in a boat in the middle of a lake, surrounded by dark woods. Look around, you are surrounded by dark water, which means depth. You don’t see what is behind the water, you just feel it. This mysterious feeling should be caused by all true art.”

Thanks, David. I can’t wait to see where inspiration will lead you next.