When Hannah sent me practically a whole portfolio’s worth of pictures about 16 months ago, I realized instantly that they were too stunning to be displayed in one fell swoop. As a result, I’ve been parcelling them out, mostly one at a time, for more than a year now, hoping that revealing them periodically would allow each piece to be able to have its own place in the spotlight. Well, I’ve been saving one final masterpiece for an especially rainy day, and it just so happens that its been pouring all weekend. As a result, it seems only fitting that I bestow upon you the final piece of artwork that Hannah supplied me with in November of 2011. Its been a long journey to arrive at this final masterpiece, but I’m glad that we’ve made it together. And who knows? Maybe Hannah is working on another fantastic wolf portrait for all of us at this very moment. Only time will tell, but if you’re out there, Hannah, we’re drooling like rabid wolves in anticipation for your magnum opus. Don’t keep us waiting for long!
I received this work from Victoria just a day or so after I displayed her work at post #434. In her email she lamented the fact that grey wolves got all of the attention and then stated that the above illustration did not technically depict a wolf. I was a bit shocked to hear this, and when I inquired, the talented artist said that it was in fact a “maned wolf.” So, I set about the business of educating myself. With the help of the grand ole’ Wikipedia and the accomplished young Victoria, I’ve learned quite a bit this week. Interested in finding out more about maned wolves for yourself? click here.
I’m not ashamed to admit that the nightmares of my youth still give me a fright upon my remembrance of them; however, at the same time a sort of intimate nostalgia persists within these childhood horrors. There’s a closeness and familiarity that I associate with certain fears that allows me to make them my own. Essentially, for all of us our fears are high idiosyncratic and very personal. Although the masses may share common fears, a man’s imagination produces images all its own and thus makes his individual interpretation of any threat highly unique.
I’m not exactly sure what it is about this particular painting by Sabrina that gave me a start when I first laid eyes upon it, but I can tell you that after some reflection the image of this wolf transported me back to a childhood fear that is still partially buried in the annals of memory. I can’t quite dig up the circumstances or the exact state of affairs, but something about this wild creature shook the roots of my tree of memory down to their deepest reaches. Perhaps I’ll never fully dredge up the connection I feel with this ferociously tousled predator, but I can tell you one thing: I don’t think I’ll tire of gazing at it in the attempt.
If you love this brilliant wolf as much as I do, check out more of Sabrina’s work at her etsy shop. I’m sure that she’ll appreciate your interest and patronage. Also, visit her facebook page here. If you’re a child of the 80′s or a fan of pop culture inspired artwork, you’re guaranteed to love her stuff!
As many faithful viewers/readers of this site are aware, a few months ago I announced that Chattanooga native Victoria Witt had graciously created an official piece of WBS artwork to serve as the public face of this project and that I had bestowed upon her a semi-official position as the artist in residence of WBS. Essentially what this means is that Victoria has benevolently taken it upon herself to occasionally create artwork specifically to promote Wolves by Strangers and that she is intimately linked to this project.
The story of how this relationship developed is an unpredictable and complicated one to say the least, and I think I told most of the pertinent details when I posted Victoria’s first piece of official WBS artwork. Basically, what had happened was that Victoria had discovered the WBS project on her own and had been submitting artwork long before she knew that “I” was the man behind the wolves. Through a certain professional relationship, Victoria and I spoke often, and she even mentioned Wolves by Strangers to me on occasion, but she had no idea that it was actually “me” who had been receiving and posting her artwork.
When I finally revealed my identity to Victoria as a gift for a special occasion, she was certainly surprised and totally dumbfounded by the fact that the clues to my identity were under her nose the whole time. Now, nearly a year after I told Victoria who I am, she returned the favor by creating this rather accurate lupine avatar to serve as a visual manifestation of my identity. I, your faithful lupine artwork collector, now have a face that I can wear and a concrete image that frequenters of this site can attach to me.
But why am I anonymous in the first place? Well… that’s quite a long story and one that is best left for another time, but suffice it to say that it is my goal to center the focus of site revolve around the artwork itself and not the man that collects them. And even if my anonymity does not succeed in this goal but only makes viewers wonder about my identity all the more… well, then that probably adds a pleasant mystery to the site and another dimension to the uniqueness that is WBS. Who knows? I could be sitting in the cubicle across the hall or at the coffee house table next to you at this very moment…
Hunter S. Thompson said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” And nothing screams professional weirdness like the pleasantly depraved artwork of Zachary Sweet. There’s something perplexing and almost disturbing about Zachary’s work that is somehow familiar and comforting at the very same time… like a delightfully frightening nightmare that you look forward to drifting into after a dose of too much reality. Zachary’s subjects are ones that seem born out of a wild world of psychotic debauchery and pop culture perversion and will sink their teeth into like a Pollock-splattered vampire from outer space. To see more of Zachary’s insane artwork, click here.
It seems like one of the most inherent aspects of the human condition is a nearly constant self-focus. In other words, we as humans are perpetually concerned with ourselves and what we think, feel, and believe as individuals. Essentially, we’re all egomaniacs to a certain degree.
But don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to say that people are innately evil or selfish. I don’t believe that; I just think that sometimes it’s difficult for us to see beyond ourselves. As a result, we often take on the role of the observer instead of the observed. We view the world around us and the wildlife that inhabits it as a sort of menagerie designed for our own entertainment, and we never stop to think that perhaps we’re being watched as much or more than we watch the creatures with whom we share this amazing world.
When I look at Victoria’s refreshing portrait of these two docile yet inquisitive wolves, I feel as if it is I who am on display for the wolf instead of the wolf being on display for me. This illustration makes me feel very small in some ways but very alive as well because it reminds me that the world is not my personal possession to have and hold and do with it as I please. It belongs to us all, humans and animals alike…
Earlier today Victoria sent me a link to this amazing a time-lapse video of her creative process in action. I was blown away to say the least, and I simply couldn’t resist passing it along to you. While the video reflects a personal sentiment of love between two individuals, the the beauty of the creative process and the majesty of the end result is something that we can all share in together. Happy Valentines Day, everyone!
To view more of Victoria’s spectacular creations, click here.
The hectic lines and sharp angles that make up this demonic looking lupine spoke to me (or rather screamed at me) when I first laid eyes on it, and the voice that I heard had just two words to say: Heavy Metal. Yes, friends, the black masters and dark agents of that maniacal yet melodic music serve as the perfect accompaniment for this chilling rendering or a wolf on the prowl. With the ears lifted almost like horns and eyes narrowed to the sharpness of razor blades, this wolf certain seems in search of an an unsuspecting prey. And while I’m all for lupine rights and I fully support the freedoms of our animal friends, I’m tempted to take Dio’s advice and lock this wolf up before he wreaks havoc on us all!
Sometimes it seems like as if we’re viewing the wolf through a sort of window, doesn’t it? The pane that separates us from the animal is thin and transparent, but its dividing powers are real enough. Is the life that we ascribe to this beautiful creature accurate in the least? Is our perception of its existence remotely realistic? Or does the glass distort the image and present to us a romanticized rendering of a thing that simply isn’t real? I suppose that no one really knows, for no one can be both man and wolf. We view the wolf in the only way we can, through the window of our own existence, creating in it only what we want to see. It’s true essence will forever be a mystery, but in the end, whose to say that this isn’t what makes the creature the alluring creature that it is…
Earlier this week I received this striking watercolor from Misha Misha, along with the humble missive featured below. I was so struck by not only her artistic talent but her mastery of language that I have presented both of them for you here. I hope you enjoy the fine work of this amazing young artist who is no doubt a rising star. I was tempted to title this post “Journey to Bethlehem” even though the artist claims no connection between the file name and the actual work of art, but in the end I thought that would be overstepping my bounds. For some unexplainable reason I was enchanted by the use of this phrase and its somewhat spiritual connotations and I simply couldn’t shake this mysterious expression. In the end, though, “Balloon Wolf” seemed just as magical, and well… here you have it!
Thanks so much, Misha Misha. Your work has certainly taken me on a journey, but the final destination has yet to be determined, for it resides beyond the boundary of imagination…
Good morning/night/ wherever the day may be for you,
I am a thirteen year-old stranger in Canada, and yet I am a 3 year old in my own peculiar land. It is so easy to create anything there, though I am aware that it will never escape the confines of my obstinate head. This image is only the remnant of that wonderfully fleeting vision, created with a few dusty bottles of watercolor left by my departed uncle (I don’t mean deceased, I just mean gone) and an H3 pencil. Not one of my better sketches, but one of my infrequent watercolors. This poor wolf has been branded as too whimsical by adults, and much too simplistic by children. I hope that it will find residence in your site, and comfort in your eloquent praise.
Hopefully it will amuse you,
me, who else? XD
Ps: The name of the file has nothing to do with the picture itself.
Call them bizarre. Call them insane. Call them outrageous. Just don’t call them ordinary! A wolf pack this wild and crazy only comes along every so often, and while this is the most rousing illustration that WBS has received in quite some time, I’m not sure I’m capable of handing as much excitement as these wolves look prepared to dole out. It’s hard to tell whether these bodacious beasts are looking to crash a party or tear an unsuspecting prey limb from limb, but my guess is that it’s a little both. In the end, it’s this enthralling combination of fun and violence that captures the viewer’s attention. Chaos and Passion. Silliness and Savagery. This illustration has it all and packs as much excitement into a small space as one of those 80′s-inspired Future Synth NuDisco beats… and speaking of which, here’s one that compliments this illustration well. It’s called “Club Wolf” by Distasterpeace.
Yin and Yang: The competing/opposing forces of the universe which work together to sustain the equilibrium of our very existence. As the artist behind this wolf takes his name from this ancient Chinese philosophy, I must assume that his artwork is at least partially inspired by this metaphysical outlook on life, but in what ways this piece is representative of this doctrine are mostly a mystery.
This particular wolf seems to express a light-hearted attitude with his perennial smile and relaxed posture; however, his wide eyes, open mouth, and elbow propped on one knee suggest that a deep-seated and optimistic wisdom is at work in his being. He looks like a creature who is excited about unlocking the mysteries of the universe and who would gladly share those secrets with you… if you could indeed secure a real and private audience with him. But since he appears only in this imaginative work, we may never know the sagacity that he has to offer.
And while this might be a bit of a sad thought, the wolf and its artist accomplish a mission of yin and yang nonetheless. For I realize that even as I sit here and type these words that the two of us are intimately linked in a balanced relationship of contributor and collector- two sides of the same coin which are opposing and yet intimately linked…
Over a year ago, on Nov. 3rd, 2011, I posted this illustration from a stranger in Roanoke, Virginia, which I titled “The Amulet.” Then just earlier this week, I received the above illustration from XianJaguar which seems to display a similar theme and which shares an identical title. It’s funny how things sometimes come full circle.
But then again, it’s certainly not surprising that an artist would associate wolves with magical powers or mystical objects such as amulets. Often heard but rarely seen, the wolf is a creature that has long been mysterious to man. His ways are curious and obscure, and what we do know of the lives of wolves seems gritty and yet somehow romantic. And just as man seems to either aggrandize or vilify what he does not understand, he has done both with the figure of the wolf. The animal is one that is often held aloft as a demigod by those who seek connection with the regal beast while it is simultaneously reviled and maligned by those who see the creature as nothing more than a demonic and bloodthirsty savage.
Luckily, for worshipers and disparagers alike, the realm of art creates an equal playing field and common ground where both supporters and detractors can come together and appreciate the stunning rendering of a creature that is both wild and beautiful. Both camps can express appreciation for the talented hand of man that is able to capture the figure of such a noble savage. Love the wolf or hate it… no one can deny the magic of XianJaguar’s enchanting painting…
Seeing as how Christmas is right around the corner, I couldn’t help offering up a special gift of 3 wonderful pictures courtesy of Hannah. It’s true that Hannah sent these pictures to me and now I’m passing them along to all of you, but please don’t consider this a “regift.” If anything, I hope these wonderful illustrations whisk you away to a world of wonder as we all celebrate the magic of the holiday season. Best wishes!
It’s easy to be in awe of many of the talented artists who contribute their drawings/paintings to this project, but since I, myself, have almost no artistic talent whatsoever, it may be easier for me to become enthralled than it is for an average viewer. However, I think that novice and expert alike can appreciate the multiple talents of the remarkable Jan from the Netherlands. About a year and a half ago, Jan sent me this picture, which I posted all the way back in May of 2011, the very same month that wolvesbystrangers.com was officially launched. Then just today he sent me the wonderful images above that depict a leather cuff which he made by hand for his nephew. Remarkable! To have a talent with a pen and brush as well as with leather works is something to truly admire. Maybe if I’m good next year I’ll get one of these for Christmas as well (hint, hint)!
While wolvesbystrangers.com doesn’t usually feature photography, I simply couldn’t deny the “cool factor” that emanated from this funky photograph from Nilesh. So much lupine pride in one picture… it’s almost too much to handle.
While we’re busy ushering in the holiday season, this pack of hip wolf enthusiasts busts on the scene like a warm coastal breeze. With a pair of classic athletic shorts and stylish lupine tank-top, you can’t go wrong, and these young pups help to prove that fact better than anyone. Sure it’s December, but why not bare those sexy guns and throw on a lupine tee of your own. Let your inner wolf howl and the spirit of the lobo will always keep you warm…
If you’ve contributed to the Wolves by Strangers project or written to me personally over the past couple of months, I’m sure you’ve realized that my correspondence has been less than consistent and that my feedback is in serious need of a tune-up. Also, my promotion of the project has generally suffered lately, and as a result the submissions have slowed. While this is disappointing, I know that it is all a result of a recent lack of discipline on my part. Other personal commitments have keep me tied up, and… well… there’s really no excuse, I guess.
Today I declare that I am turning over a new leaf. A wave of dedication has slowly been building over the past several weeks, and the result is a surge of devotion that will manifest itself in a renewed dedication to promoting this project and responding to contributors in a more timely manner. I’ll start by going back through my archives for the past couple of months and sending out a generous helping of WBS stickers to those who have been kind enough to send me their artwork. In truth, I had run out of stickers a month ago, but a fresh batch of 1,000 just arrived on my doorstep earlier this week. After this, I will personally respond to David and Elaine and then engage on a local flyer and sticker posting campaign. It’s time to take this project back to the streets. With all of this being said, I ask for your support and patience. If you have sent me artwork over the past couple of months and haven’t received any WBS stickers, let me know if you don’t receive some by the end of this week.
Coincidentally, I can’t sign off without mentioning that yesterday marked the 20 month anniversary of the rental of the WBS post office box and the 18 month anniversary of this website. I never thought we’d make it this far, but now that we have, I’m dedicated to riding this train until the wheels fall off. Remember… with your help, there’s no telling what we may accomplish.
Send your original wolf artwork to..
Wolves by Strangers
P.O. Box 17417
Chattanooga, TN 37415
A while back Rachel Sauls wrote a wonderfully supportive piece about Wolves by Strangers for the local Metro section of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Then, as if she hadn’t done enough to prove herself a friend to the project, she graciously donated this fantastic piece of lupine pop art that’s overflowing with personality. This unique composition is a true marriage of class and sex appeal and is as sophisticated as they come. While anthropomorphic wolves are almost always pictured in a male form and are typically in pursuit of a young sex-kitten on which to work their wiles, Rachel turns this cliche on its head and presents us with a sensual and alluring depiction of a lupine Jayne Mansfield that is every bit as chic and elegant as a male wolf is ravenous and rapacious. All things being said and done, I can’t help but to howl when I lay eyes on this classy creation!
If you’re a frequent visitor to wolvesbystrangers.com, you’ll no doubt realize that I posted a submission from WBS artist in resident a few weeks ago that was inspired by the Ellie Goulding song “Lights.” Well, on display today is another soul stirring illustration by the very talented Paige Barton that influenced by the same tune. What I love most about this piece is the soul-stirring marriage of beauty of strength. The majesty of a wolf with wings is almost too beautiful to bear, and Paige captures quite superbly the ethereal nature of all things fantastical with this soulfully profound illustration. This piece is a testimony to universal creativity and the beauty of art, itself. The fact that two talented artists can find inspiration in the same song and produce two very different yet beautiful images is nothing short of miraculous. Thanks, Paige. I can’t wait to see what you’ll wow us with next.