Nov 8 2011

#192 “Battle Ready”

From a stranger in Bend, Oregon.

She-Ra meets The NeverEnding Story and Link meets The Lord of the Rings in the unique fantasy ride of epic, wolfy proportions. If this work is an intentional reference to any particular story or fantasy saga, I am at a loss to identify it, but in some ways I believe the mystery makes this piece all the more appealing. With the backstory left unknown, the viewer is free to fantasize about this magical realm in which sword-wielding, battle ready Amazonian princesses gallop atop pink, vambrace-wearing wolves in a quest for righteousness. The confident gaze of the sovereign warrior and optimistic demeanor of her lupine steed indicate that this pair is surely fighting for the cause of all that is good and just and that they will ultimately succeed. And in the end, perhaps there is a great lesson to be taken from this. Perhaps all of this suggests that if we are assured in our own abilities and resources and have a stable confidence, then we have no need to fear no matter who or what our enemy might be. But then again, this is all speculation. It may be the case that just the opposite is true- that the message is simply an encouragement to indulge our imaginations in a short vacation of pure and utter fantasy without having to search for meaning. Regardless of which of these options is the case, however, this picture is still inspiring and causes the mind to churn with tantalizing possibilities.

But no commentary on this illustration would be complete without pointing out the immense skill that was called upon during the work’s creation. The lines of brush, pen and pastel are frenzied and hectic and give off vibrations that buzz with energy while the unique color palette causes the eyes to exercise their full potential and the mind to reel with wonder at the groundbreaking combination of hues. It’s truly a sight to be hold, and beyond all doubt, the artistry at work here is just as amazing as the unique subject matter.

Congratulations, stranger. You’ve pushed the limits of our expectations, and we have all been rewarded by your efforts. This is one battle with a clear and rightful victor.

Jun 26 2011

#57 “Wolf vs. T-Rex”

From a stranger somewhere in the U.S.

Let’s face it, conflict is a part of life. Whether it be with others (interpersonal) or with ourselves (intrapersonal), we are all engaged in conflict in some way on nearly a daily basis. While we largely claim that we don’t like conflict, it is undeniable that we find it interesting. In truth, we thrive on conflict. We love it. It intrigues us. Not only do we academically discuss why conflict occurs and how to avoid it and deal with it, but if we are really truthful with ourselves, most of us will admit that we sometimes even enjoy stirring up contention in the lives of others; and this includes our friends as well as our enemies.

Additionally, in this day and age, observing conflict has literally become a central part of many forms of entertainment. One of the reasons why we love reality television so much is because it focuses (almost exclusively in some cases) on interpersonal discord. Is this a problem? I’m not really sure, but it certainly seems to be true.

I will admit that I am addicted to conflict in my own life, in some very large as well as very small ways. An example of one of those minor ways is the fact that I have just recently become enamored with a television show called “The Deadliest Warrior.” The premise of the show is not simply about conflict; it actually comprises the show in its entirety. You see, every episode focuses on fictionally pitting warriors from various cultures and time periods against one another and discovering (based on physical prowess, weaponry and skills) which warrior would prevail in a battle to the death.

Overall, “The Deadliest Warrior” can be a bit cheesy and far-fetched at times, but the analysis of much of the weaponry seems fairly accurate. I especially enjoying watching the damage that the weapons experts are able to inflict upon the blood-packed ballistic dummies that are often used during demonstrations. Yes, the love of gratuitous violence did not pass me by.

I mention all of this simply to say that this fantastically creative postcard brings to mind this interesting concept of speculating the victor in a conflict between unusual combatants. The only difference here is that the subjects are animals and not human warriors.

So who would win in a battle between the gigantic Tyrannosaurus Rex and the small but ferocious wolf? The answer may seem obvious, but if there is anything that I have learned from “TDW” it is that brute strength and physical prowess doesn’t always triumph over an advanced skill set of offensive techniques. This was recently displayed in a simulated engagement between a Maori Warrior and a Shaolin Monk. Although the deciding factor in this fight was most likely the use of steel weapons by the monks, I had foolishly assumed that the brute force of the Maori Warrior would prevail. Ultimately, I was disappointed, and the discipline, training and intellect of the monk made him the warrior triumphant.

So once again, who would win in a fight to the death between the terrible T-Rex and the wily wolf? I still haven’t weighed all of the data, but I don’t think we should jump to any conclusions. If nothing else, this piece has certainly given us something to “chew on.”