Mar 16 2012

#321 Music Month (16)

From a stranger in Virpi, Finland

Today’s Song/Video: “Wolfpack” by Syd Barret


Jan 17 2012

#262 Less is More (17)

From Ulla in Finland

Many people can boast about receiving a few Christmas cards from close friends, but how many can say that they received one from a stranger half way around the world? Thank you, Ulla. I hope this new is full of blessings for you. (For more information about the manufacturer of this card and its accompany artwork, visit amusantti.fi)

“Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways
it can change someone else’s life forever.”

~ Margaret Cho

j


Dec 22 2011

#236 “Big City Wolf”

From Kusti in Finland

The wildness of nature takes on the hustle and bustle of the big city in this composition by Kusti, and to put it mildly, the results are simply breathtaking. While it takes a fair amount of imagination to dream up images of an untamed wolf leaping about on urban rooftops while cars race below and city lights flash in a crazed blur of color, there’s just something about this picture that feels so right. As humans we long to belong to both of these worlds, and through this ingenious piece of art, Kusti allows us to interact with these two conflicting sides of ourselves simultaneously. We don’t have to choose between the mystery of the deep forest or the excitement of the city; we can have them both.

What this wolf is doing in this environment isn’t entirely clear, but the viewer gets the sense that this animal is on a mission. There’s an urgency in his movements and a determination in his eyes that says that this wolf didn’t just wander off and find himself in the big city at random. Something has been risked. Something is at stake- something large and important. To sum it up in a single word, this picture contains drama. From the moment that I first laid eyes on it, my heart began to beat a little more quickly, and when an artist accomplishes this task, you know that he/she has truly made an impact. In this end, this image may just be a still picture on a screen, but it delivers a wild ride that will leave your head spinning.

Thanks for adding some excitement to my day, Kusti…


Dec 9 2011

#223 “The Cave”

From Kusti in Finland

The cave. It is the very embodiment of fear and mystery. It is the truest representation of adventure and danger. But in the mind of the famous philosopher Plato, it is also a symbol for ignorance and naivete. If you have never read Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” I highly recommend it. Taking just a quick glance at this picture of a handsome wolf standing proudly at the mouth of this chamber instantly reminded me of this classic story with a lesson for all of us.

Here is the gist of the tale, courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia:

In the “Allegory of the Cave,” Socrates describes a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Socrates, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

The Allegory is related to Plato’s Theory of Forms according to which the “Forms” (or “Ideas”), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. Only knowledge of the Forms constitutes real knowledge. In addition, the Allegory of the Cave is an attempt to explain the philosopher’s place in society: to attempt to enlighten the “prisoners.”

As the perpetrator of this project, I have been tempted at times to deem myself the great philosopher who possesses the wisdom and knowledge to lead the uneducated masses from the cave of ignorance. But in the end, I know that this self-assessment is just the result of self-centered pride and is truly inaccurate. It is not me who holds the key to enlightenment, and I hope that you will take no offense at this, but it also not even the artists whose works are collected here that are the cultivated philosophers. No, my friends, it is the wolf itself. It is the lonesome lobo, the master of the wilderness, the furry fountain of enlightenment.

Thank you, Kusti, for leading us to this conclusion. For while it is the wolf who is the true leader of the pack, it is you who have made this fact known to us. Best wishes.

To see more of Kusti’s work, check out her website.


Oct 2 2011

#155 “Dressed to Impress”

From Maarit in Finland

Is it merely a coincidence that over the life of this project I have received three wolves from the country of Finland and two of them are wearing a suit and tie? I’m not sure, but the one wolf from Finland that is not formally dressed is portrayed as being naked and pregnant, and you can draw your own conclusions from that.

Moving on…

This is the first time that this dignified lobo has been on public display at wolvesbystrangers.com, but whenever I have shown this suave wolf to friends and family members, he has been received with many enthusiastic “oohs” and “awes” of admiration. Young and old, rich and poor… people simply love this wolf. But what is it that draws such passionate praise and gusto from such a wide variety of viewers? Is it the realistic rendering of the stately beast? Maybe. The soft and welcoming color pallet? Perhaps. But what I believe draws the most enthusiastic esteem from the viewing audience is the fact that this creature is particularly dapper and so fashionably clothed.

They say that you should dress to impress, that the clothes make the man. However, when people toss around these statements loosely, it always seems that there is a judgmental crowd of skeptics laying in wait to claim that sayings such as these come solely from a place of outer judgment and are merely superficial in nature. There are always those who say that judging by the outer appearance is inappropriate and simply wrong and that it shouldn’t really matter what we look like on the outside. After all, it’s what is on the inside that counts.

I used to think this way as well. But I have come to realize that I believe there is nothing wrong with judging by outward appearances. Let’s be honest: our eyes were designed specifically to take in outside information and draw specific conclusions based on the data that they receive. Making judgment calls is healthy and necessary and displays a mature level of adaptation that is essential for survival. We all make judgments based on what we see, whether we want to admit it or not. It is extremely natural to do so.

However, what I do not condone is trusting in these initial judgments so readily that we are not willing to adapt to a new point of view when information that contradicts our original verdict is presented to us. Let your eyes do the work they were designed to do. Let your brain take in this information and reach its own conclusions, but always keep a fluid point of view. Go ahead, be impressed with this wolf’s stately appearance and handsome outfits. Let his respectable veneer lead you to whatever suppositions and inferences come naturally. But realize that this gentlemanly appearance may be deceptive. Realize that behind the soft eyes and gently clasped hands may be a gruesome countenance that is far more than you bargained for. Let your eyes speak to you, but don’t trust everything they say…