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.

May 29 2011

#29 “Big Brother is Watching You.”


From Michael and Paula

The speedy pace of our society’s technological development is one that frightens as well as excites me. In general, when I look around and notice cameras on street corners, or type my name into various search engines, or when I really start to think about consumer profiling, I become concerned that we are possibly racing towards a not-too-distant Orwellian future. While some may argue that modern technological advancements are the very things that safeguard us from this unfortunate scenario, my fears are just the opposite. I believe that a steep decline in personal privacy paired with a sharp increase in global technological voyeurism could possibly be very dangerous. While the ease of finding information may increase, so may also the ease of disseminating propaganda.

On the other hand, it is thrilling to ponder the multitude of communication options and growing speed and ease of connecting with others from all over the world. Surely, if it were not for the technological advancements made in fairly recent history, I would not be in possession of the thriving wolf collection that I own today, nor would I be able to share it with you so freely and effectively.

This brings us to the pictures that are on display today from Michael and Paula. Contained in both the subject line and the body of the email that these wonderful artists sent to me were references to the fact that these illustrations were created on iPads. Now, I do not own an iPad, myself, but I would certainly love to have one, especially if it means that I would be able to create masterpieces such as these. But there is something about that notebook-sized magical tablet that gives me the willies. There’s just something about it that creeps me out. I wonder… will microchips crawl out of some hidden portal and wriggle up my arm and into my ear like something out of The Wrath of Khan? Will it fuse itself to my hand and become simply another appendage that I could not live without? Will it exert some sort of radio-frequencied mind control and order me to murder my family?

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this line of questioning is that I may not know the answers until it’s too late….