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 1 2011

#154 “Under the Influence”

From Curt in Vancouver, Washington

Just in case you have difficulty reading the attached note, I have transcribed it for you. The message says, “Here’s a wolf on a boat who is rocking out and who also has a unibrow. I drew him when I was drunk.”

Now for a short contemplation on the creative powers of alcohol in relation to this illustration:

Since alcohol is a depressant that alters one’s motor skills and normal brain functions, most artistic creations that are produced under the influence of the drug can reasonably be expected to suffer. When I look upon this particular piece of artwork, I am inspired by its creativity and uniqueness and I love the unusual concept; however, I can’t help but wonder what heights the artist may have been able to reach if he was not impaired during the birth of this piece. In other words, if Curt can produce something as awesome as this picture when he is thoroughly sloshed, just imagine what he could create when he’s sober.

At the same time, though, while alcohol often does impede the physical senses as well as negatively alter our judgment, it also has the capability of inspiring the mind and can lead us into unforeseen realms of philosophical contemplations and theoretical observations. Sometimes these thoughts and impulses are misguided, but this is not always the case. So while I might lament the fact that Curt could have possibly accomplished an even greater artistic feat if he had been sober, I must admit that if he had not been lead by a certain amount of liquid courage, he could have possibly lacked the conviction that seemed to be the inspiration for this venture in the first place.

In the end, I suppose it is left for the reader to decide: Is alcohol an artistic deterrent that causes creations to suffer? Or is it a sacred muse that leads the artist into new realms of creative genius?

Either way, here’s a toast to you, Curt. Cheers!

Jul 9 2011

#70 “Hermann der Wolf”

From Matthias in Austria

When I was in college I had several friends who used to brag that their pet dogs loved the taste of beer and that they (the friends) would often allow the animals to drink alcohol until they became intoxicated. To be honest, I’m not sure if I actually saw this happen in person or if the images that I have in my brain are simply imaginings that emerged  over time. Anyway, I don’t think that I could really verify whether or not these tales of drunken dogs are true, but ultimately I suppose that I believe them.

Regardless of the truth or falsity of these tales, though, I still haven’t made up my mind as to whether or not I agree with this practice. On one hand, there appears to be nothing overtly “wrong” about it, but at the same time, it seems unfair for an owner to feed a substance to his pet that may affect the animal in a way that it cannot anticipate or understand.  I think, though, that what is even more interesting than trying to decide whether or not this is right or wrong is exploring whether or not these alcoholic animals actually enjoy the altered reality that accompanies excessive drinking.

Oddly enough a very similar question was asked and partially answered in the April issue of Maxim Magazine in the “Ask Maxim” section. Here is the question and the answer:

Do any other animals get high?
Randal Trannel, via email

According to a recent pharmaceutical journal, yes! And on purpose. Researchers concluded that reindeers eat fly agaric mushrooms during long and boring winters. In humans the fun fungi produce the sensation of flying. So if a reindeer asks you for five dollars, you know, because he needs bus money to get back home- Do. Not. Believe. Him.

So there you have it. Take it or leave it. But before signing off, I must say thank you Matthias for this incredible illustration. I raise my glass to you Matthias. Cheers and best wishes!