Nov 25 2011

#209 “A Little Red in the Hood”

From Aaron

One of the most appealing qualities of those classic fairy tales from our youth is that they are familiar but fluid at the same time. We know them all, from The Tortoise and the Hare to Cinderella, but since their origins are usually mysterious, there seems to exist a universal sense of ownership that allows us to take these tales and mold them into very personal interpretations. In other words, the framework of the story is familiar, the individual details and embellishments lie completely in our own hands. When we become the story-teller, we have the unique opportunity to experience a certain feeling of tradition and nostalgia as well as a thrilling sense of freedom and individuality. And likewise, the listener is able to encounter a tale that is both recognizable and new.

This mind-bending illustration perfectly represents that innate desire to become a unique and masterful storyteller, even if the tale itself is one that has been heard a thousand times. With a little twist here and a slight bending of tradition there, the artist of this unparalleled work has created narrative art that is both traditional and unique. His work is relatable, but it is also groundbreaking and remarkably rare.

This astoundingly refreshing retelling allows us as viewers to take a stroll down memory lane and enter a new world at the same time. It offers a chance to relive a little piece of our childhood but also allows us to appreciate the truly individualistic nature of storytelling and explore the boundaries of the human imagination. And in the end perhaps these are the two most universal desires that exist within all of us: the desire for the comfort of routine and familiarity and the desire to be seen as a true individual.

So, while Little Red Riding Hood may not have packed a Glock or had four arms, this wild rendition of a classic tale possesses a special appeal that simply can’t be denied.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a classic… with a new twist.

Jun 18 2011

#49 “The Lesson”

From a stranger in Canada.

It is undeniable that the natural order of the world is largely based upon systematic violence and ferocity. The food chain. Predator vs. Prey. These elements are savage and unpleasant at times, but they are natural and necessary. All around us, even in our most civilized communities, just outside our doors, the fight for survival is taking place; but in this day and age it largely goes unnoticed by us. Why don’t we pay more attention to the savagery and carnage of the natural world that pits creature against creature? Well, simply because it IS natural, I suppose.

We know that this is simply how the world works. However, when it comes to the human race, certain “moral” standards and social norms have developed that we believe separate us from the baser creatures with whom we share this planet. But sometimes things do go awry. Sometimes we cast of the facade of civilization that we believe separates from the animal kingdom and we revert back to the savagery that is found in the forests and jungles and oceans surround us on all sides. When this happens, we are disappointed that we have not lived up to our own standards and we attempt to learn from our mistakes. In order to gain wisdom from our own errors, we often tell stories or fables that simplify matters and are easy to remember. Some stories are optimistic about civilization while others are pessimistic, but that is beside the point.

What is really interesting is to examine who these stories often feature as the primary characters. You guessed it: Animals.

Upon examining the illustration above, I was reminded of the wonderful fable by James Thurber that is reproduced below. I hope you enjoy it.

“The Rabbits That Caused All The Trouble” by James Thurber

Within the memory of the youngest child there was a family of rabbits who lived near a pack of wolves. The wolves announced that they did not like the way the rabbits were living. (The wolves were crazy about the way they themselves were living, because it was the only way to live.) One night several wolves were killed in an earthquake and this was blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that rabbits pound on the ground with their hind legs and cause earthquakes. On another night one of the other wolves was killed by a bolt of lightning and this was also blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that lettuce-eaters cause lightning. The wolves threatened to civilize the rabbits if they didn’t behave, and the rabbits decided to run away to a desert island. But the other animals, who lived at a great distance, shamed them saying, “You must stay where you are and be brave. This is no world for escapists. If the wolves attack you, we will come to your aid in all probability.” So the rabbits continued to live near the wolves and one day there was a terrible flood which drowned a great many wolves. This was blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that carrot-nibblers with long ears cause floods. The wolves descended on the rabbits, for their own good, and imprisoned them in a dark cave, for their own protection.

When nothing was heard about the rabbits for some weeks, the other animals demanded to know what happened to them. The wolves replied that the rabbits had been eaten and since they had been eaten the affair was a purely internal matter. But the other animals warned that they might possibly unite against the wolves unless some reason was given for the destruction of the rabbits. So the wolves gave them one. “They were trying to escape,” said the wolves, “and, as you know this is no world for escapists.”

Moral: Run, don’t walk, to the nearest desert island.