Oct 27 2011

#180 “Love Me…”

From “Go Girl” in Memphis, Tennessee

First off, in reference to the note in the corner of this picture, I feel that I must tell “Go Girl” that I truly do love this illustration. It is like no other picture that I have received, and it certainly shows a rarely seen side of the wolf: the cute and vulnerable side.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this picture takes me back to the days when local newscasts would feature pets that were housed at the neighborhood animal shelter and would plead their case for adoption. Maybe it’s the oversized, almost pitiful eyes or the somewhat tentative stance. Maybe it’s the name, “Cody,” which seems so much like one that I can hear rolling off the tongue of Paul Barys as he tenderly strokes Cody’s fur as he sits shivering atop the WRCB news desk. It might even be the overt sentiment expressed in the statement, “He loves you all” or the tattoo that seems to say “LOVE ME.”

But no matter what it is, there is a message of vulnerability and love expressed here that is nothing if it not touching. We all yearn for acceptance. We all seek to belong. And at the end of the day its wonderful to know that someone is taking care of us.

But the question is… Who will take care of the wolf? Who will protect it? Who will speak on its behalf when others speak out against it?

Will you?

Oct 19 2011

#172 “Innocence”

From Meagan in Chattanooga, TN (8-years-old)

The wonder of childhood artistry can become a bit mysterious at times. It seems that when we assess or analyze an illustration born from the mind and hand of a child that we tend to polarize our reactions. We either gloss over the details of the work rather quickly and don’t give the piece much conscious thought at all or we peer deeply into the supposed meaning of the work and turn each detail over in our brains with painstaking detail. The problem with the first scenario is that doesn’t adequately address any part of the work, and the problem with the second is that meaning is searched for so fervently that the nature of the art itself often becomes completely lost.

In my opinion, the proper analysis of childhood art is one that is both external as well as deep, and ultimately I feel that the best way to accomplish this is to sets our sights first and foremost on an appreciation of the innocence of the childhood imagination. I fully believe that adults can be just as imaginative and creative as children, if not more so. But over time there seems to be a certain level of innocence that is lost in the imaginative power of adults. Our creative ideas often seem tainted with a hint of depravity or perversion. As we grow older we somehow think that in order to be imaginative we must be twisted, creepy, and perverse. But the beauty of the childhood imagination is that it is creative but also pure and clean.

So in conclusion, when I lay my eyes upon these wonderful illustrations by young Meagan, I don’t gloss over them without a second thought, nor do I try to break down the significance of every line and mark. I simply appreciate it for what it is: imaginative, fun, creative and refreshingly wholesome.

Keep up the good work, Meagan. You’re going to be a great artist someday!