Apr 11 2012

WBS Birthday Contest!

On May 1st of 2012, the Wolves by Strangers project will celebrate 1 year of continuous posting! That’s one new and unique illustration by a stranger everyday with no repeats. To celebrate this momentous occasion, WBS is offering a very special contest during the month of April. Any and all letters/emails postdated on or after April 1st will be eligible, and the winner will be revealed on May 1st. I’m keeping the contest prize a secret, but trust me, you don’t wanna miss out on this chance to win a supercool, wolf-themed prize to call your own. Submissions will be based on general uniqueness and creativity. Go wild!

Email with questions: wolvesbystrangers@gmail.com

Sep 17 2011

#140 “For Dad”

From Brennan in Mission Viejo, California

The aspect of this illustration that speaks to me the most is not the fantastic use of shading or the keen sense of texture, nor is it the impressive realism or the power of the black/white color scheme. No, the feature of this picture that calls my name and pulls at my most tender heartstrings is the juxtaposition of innocence and ferocity. Notice for yourself the intensity of the wolf’s gaze in the upper portion of the illustration. Examine the bared teeth and the powerful body language. Why is this wolf composed in such an aggressive stance? Why, because he is watching over his own pup, of course. The innocence of the young wolf cub is protected by the aggressiveness of its father. The very life of the small creature is held in his father’s paws, and you can clearly see by simply taking a quick glance into the ferociously watchful eyes of that paternal creature that he would do anything to shield his youngling from danger, even if it meant sacrificing himself on an alter of pain and death.

But even so, why is my emotional attachment here so strong? Why does this illustration inspire such catharsis? The answer is simple: Today is my father’s birthday. As a child, my dad was my hero, and I cannot help but to look upon this picture and think back to the day’s of my youth when my father was as watchful and protective as this wolf. He shielded me from danger, supplied me with a strong masculine role model and taught me how to navigate this world of wonder and danger with maturity, optimism and a thirst for life. Simply put, he was (and still is) a great father.

Dad, even though I did not draw this illustration myself, I dedicate today’s post to you. I hope that I have made you proud to be my father… I know that I am proud to be your son.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

May 6 2011

#6 “Happy Birthday Jared”

From Jared

Recently, as the Easter holiday began to approach, I took it upon myself to advertise WBS by placing miniature flyers inside of small, colorful plastic eggs and hiding them in strategic locations about town. I began placing the eggs a couple of weeks before Easter Sunday, but I was especially excited about the ones that I had distributed on the actual weekend of the holiday because I believed that many unsuspecting individuals would find an egg on the very day of Easter. What I hadn’t considered, though, was that certain people might discover an egg on another day of importance, such as a birthday.

This exact scenario did in fact happen with a boy named Jared. After receiving Jared’s email and artwork, I was especially pleased and grateful to also see that he mentioned this project on his own personal blog which you can access here. I will openly admit that I am a huge fan of this illustration, and one of the reasons why is because it inadvertently brings up an interesting issue: the idea of whether or not animal aging is linked to notions such as maturity, progression and accomplishment.

As humans it seems that we tend to value another person’s birthday because that person is not just another year older but also another year wiser, another year “better.” We congratulate the individual for enduring the hardships and struggles of life and for making it through another 365 days on this earth unscathed. We view this as an achievement of sorts, and we inherently believe that when a person ages one full year, something substantial, although perhaps intangible, is gained.

My question is not whether this notion is true or false or whether we are fooling ourselves into accepting our forever declining vitality with conical hats and sugary icing. My question is whether or not animals share any semblance of this same concept. My gut tells me “no,” but for some reason I want to believe “yes.” But perhaps I’m just trying to humanize the animal. Perhaps it’s best if the question remains unanswered.