Nov 18 2011

#202 “Coco”

From Coco in British Columbia, Canada

Knowing that the name “Coco” is French for “little pet,” one might natural expect that an artist with this moniker would produce an illustration with lofty themes of innocence and purity. Perhaps a mother wolf coddling her young might be appropriate, or maybe even a transcendental vision of a human and a wolf frolicking together in a field of heather, communing with each other in perfect harmony. But as you can see from the illustration above, assumptions don’t always translate into realities, and sometimes our expectations can be shattered so wildly that our minds are left reeling with the difficult task of reconciling our predictions with actuality.

This wolf, although not overtly engaged in any particular scene of violence, is one of the most frightening that I have received. He is not depicted in profile or presented at a distance. This wolf is up close, personal, and in your face. There’s no denying his presence as he locks eyes with the viewer, his fangs and jowls smoking with bloody execution as if he has just finished unseaming fresh victims from the naves to the chops. He is overtly dangerous, chillingly ominous, and certainly menacing.

When considering exactly how I would go about constructing this post, I decided early on that I wanted to pair this illustration with a wolf-related song that was just as sinister and forbidding as the picture. I started researching dark and gloomy werewolf-related compositions and seemed to be having no luck, but all of a sudden the lupine gods stepped in, and with a random youtube click, I had stumbled upon a werewolf melody that was too applicable to be denied. First of all the name of the artist is Cocorosie. I’m sure you can see the connection between the name of the musical artist and the name of the artist behind this illustration. Secondly, this song, entitled “Werewolf,” seems to accurately encapsulate the full experience that Coco offers in her picture. When you listen to the song, you’ll notice a strangely conflicted combination of sweetness and savagery that somehow seems to works all too well. There is an innocence in the voice, tone, and musicality that is very enticing, but the lyrics and theme of the song are undeniably disturbing and fit this illustration like a murderous glove.


Oct 31 2011

#184 “Boo!”

From a mysterious stranger in either Juno, Alaska or Phoenix, Arizona
(It’s a long story…)

Tonight is the night! The infamous eve when ghouls and goblins and all things creepy, crawly and slimy slither from their dank hollows and moldy caverns to wreak havoc upon the world of human mortals. Tonight is a night for trickery, for giggles and chortles of the most sinister kind, for blood that trickles from the corners of young mouths and for shrieks from ancient women in pointed, black hats. Tonight axes will be wielded by children and straw men will find the strength to disengage from their crucifixions and take to the darkened streets. Tonight is a night for black cats whose eyes shine with a mysterious and sinister luminescence. Tonight is a night of indulgence in sweetness and exploration into the extremes of sadism. It is a night of whimsy and fear, of candlelight seances and strolls through cemeteries dotted with crumbling headstones.

It is simultaneously a night to throw caution to the wind and to look over your shoulder at every turn. It is a night of mystery, a night of wonder. And yes… It is a night when wolves stalk their prey with careful cunning and then feast upon the bones of their victims with wild abandon. So, if you find yourself strolling down a dimly lit midnight path and you hear the soft padding of wolven paws and the tell-tale click of claws on concrete, don’t even dare to turn around… Run! Run as fast you can! And if you’re very lucky, you might make it safely home with the cold air still burning in your lungs and your ears and fingers screaming with tingling numbness. And as you press your back against the door frame and breathe a sigh of relief, you’ll believe you’re safe and sound. And then, like the glint from a shiny butcher knife piercing through the blackness of night, the howl of the wolf will cut the darkened skies and then you’ll realize that if it wanted to have you… it could have done so all along.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Enjoy the spooky wolf story below as retold by S. E. Schlosser.

There once was a beautiful girl engaged to a soldier who caught the eye of an evil woodsman who had sold his soul for the ability to turn himself into a wolf at will. He lay in wait for the girl when she was walking home one day and accosted her, begging her to elope with him. The maiden refused, spurning his love and crying out to her love to save her from his advances.

The girl’s cries were heard by her eager fiancé, who had come searching for her when she was late returning to her parent’s home. The soldier drove the woodsman away, threatening him with dire consequences if he ever approached the maiden again.

The furious woodsman lay low for a few days, waiting for his chance. It came on the girl’s wedding day. She was dancing happily at her wedding reception with a group of her friends when the woodsman, in the form of a wolf, leapt upon her and dragged her away with him.

The enraged bridegroom gave chase, but the wolf and his bride had disappeared into the thick forest and were not seen again. For many days, the distraught soldier and his friends, armed with silver bullets, scoured the woods, searching for the maiden and her captor. Once the soldier thought he saw the wolf and shot at it. Upon reaching the location, he found a piece of a wolf’s tail lying upon the ground. But of the wolf to which it belonged there was no sign.

After months of searching, his friends begged him to let the girl go and get on with living. But the soldier was half-mad with grief and refused to give up. And that very day, he found the cave where the werewolf lived. Within it lay the preserved body of his beloved wife. The girl had refused the werewolf’s advances to the very end, and had died for it. After his murderous fury had died away, the werewolf had tenderly laid the body of the girl he had loved and had killed into a wooden coffin, where it would be safe from predators, and he came to visit her grave every day. Lying in wait for him, the soldier shot the werewolf several times as he entered the cavern, chasing him down until the maddened and dying werewolf leapt into the lake and disappeared from view. The soldier sat by the lake with his gun, staring into the rippling waters for hours as the catfish ate the bloody bits of the wolf that were floating on the surface of the water.

When his friends found him, the soldier’s mind was gone. He babbled insanely about a werewolf that had been eaten by a catfish when it leapt into the water, and he sobered only long enough to lead the men to the body of his beloved before he collapsed forevermore into insanity. He died a few days later, and was buried beside his bride in a little glen where they had planned to build there house. Their grave is long forgotten, and the place where it stands is covered with daisies in the spring. But to this day, the people of the area have a prejudice against eating catfish, though no one remember why.


Oct 9 2011

#162 “White Wolf in a Snow Storm”

From Joy in Brewerton, New York

In an effort to allow the commentary for this illustration to truly mesh with the picture, I have decided to display the accompanying text in a manner that is as enigmatic and mysterious as this piece of art. Trust me, the text is below, but can you find it?

If the viewer of this piece chooses to only undergo a cursory analysis of the artwork displayed here, he will probably walk away with a misguided assumption about either Joy’s skill or her dedication to the creation of true art. Some might simply think that Joy wanted to submit a picture but decided to take the easy way out by only drawing a partial outline of a wolf’s head and a pair of eyes and then calling it “White Wolf in a Snow Storm.” I present to you, however, that there was a much deeper level of thought applied in the creation of this portrait and that the significance of this illustration is actually quite substantial.

After the viewer moves beyond his initial confusion in regards to “not being able to see the wolf,” he is no doubt struck with the eery realization of just how alarming it would be to actually find himself trudging through a Rocky Mountain snow storm and see a pair of piercing, yellow eyes staring at him through the biting wind and blinding snow. Try mentally putting yourself in this situation. Imagine the unsettling loneliness that would descend upon you, the true vulnerability that would creep into your bones. 

Ultimately this piece of art is not so much about the specific visual aspects that make up the picture but about the mood that it inspires in the viewer. And when a picture is able to transcend these artistic boundaries, well then… that is something truly special. 


Sep 8 2011

#131 “The Big Fun Party”

From Hannah in Orange, California

It doesn’t get wilder and wackier than this, my friends, but it also doesn’t get any more lupine. For most of you, the last word that you would use to describe this wolf illustration would be “traditional.” I won’t disagree with this; this picture truly isn’t a conventional rendering of the wolf, but it certainly does encapsulate many aspects of the lobo very accurately.

Let’s examine some of the elements of this picture and discover how they relate to the idea of the wolf as a whole.

The burger: This fleshy delight truly represents the carnivorous nature of the wolf, but the fact that this wolf is dining on what appears to be a traditional cheeseburger also represents the fact that we are linked to the lobo by our own carnivorous nature. We don’t necessarily view ourselves as being carnivores because our food is presented to us on classy glass plates. But this doesn’t change the fact that what we are eating is still just a hunk of meat, sometimes still dripping with blood.

The ribbon/hair: While much of this wolf’s coat seems a little straggly, the bow adorned across the top of its brow accentuates the fact that the wolf’s appearance is both beautiful as well as raw and sometimes even crude. The animal is the perfect combination of natural beauty and inherent coarseness.

The feces: Nothing suggests the primal nature of the wolf more than this steamy, stinky pile of refuse. It suggests a nomadic nature and an unrefined and unabashed lifestyle. It suggests that the wolf exists clearly outside of human social norms and suggests and a raw instinctual nature to simple follow the body’s urges to the utmost degree. The wolf does what it wants, regardless of what others may think. It is its own master, and follows the urges and impulses of its own body.

The spots: This aspect of the wolf’s appearance represents the fact that each wolf is unique. With the birth of each creature, the mold is broken. The spots could never be recreated the same way on any other creature. Each one is special. Each is a snowflake of individuality.

The skull mask: This item is indicative of the fact that the world the wolf resides in is one of constant struggle and hardship. Literally, everyday the wolf must make choices, the results of which will result in either life or death. The wide eyes set inside this morbid disguise clearly are meant to point to the stressful toll that a life of daily survival must take on an animal. It’s true that the being is one that is created and equipped with the necessary mindset to handle such pressures, but with the ever increasing encroachment of man into wolf territories and the increased prejudice against the animal, who can blame this particular creature for his apparently worrisome outlook?

Overall, this illustration has to be one of the most beautifully twisted and creative that I have received thus far over the life of this project, but trust me, this picture isn’t the only trick that Hannah has in her bag. If you check out her website here, you will be transported into a world of warped wonder in which you will be introduced to fantastic and whimsical creatures of all shapes and sizes. It’s a “Big Fun Party” of magnificently perverted beauty that will suck you in and dig its claws deeply into you, but trust me: I think you’ll like it just the same.


Jul 31 2011

#92 “The Doctor is in”

From Dr. Clyde Grouser, Jr.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The doctor is in…

Even though my lupine knowledge realistically approaches only a level of green-horned apprenticeship at best, I have always prided myself on being a “wolf expert” of sorts. This probably comes as no surprise, seeing as how the wonderful world of lupine wonder is one that I spent a good deal of time wandering through. Yes, I have explored a variety of dark dens and mountain canyons of wolf wisdom and have collected trophies of lobos knowledge and keepsakes as I went, snatching up these beauteous jewels of knowledge and wisdom like so many piles of wolf droppings serendipitously found on the forest floor. As time passed and I delved deeper into lupine lore and wolfly scholarship, my pride somehow surpassed my knowledge, and I became puffed up and arrogant without reason. I say this with a fair amount of embarrassment, but this is a vice that I have struggled with fairly recently. Yet this is also why I am so pleased to offer you the amazing artwork and commentary which is on display today. For the illustration that makes up today’s post and the commentary that accompanies are provided courtesy of a man who has truly put me in my place. He is the leader of the pack, the alpha-male, and I must submit to his dominance. The man behind the artwork calls himself Dr. Clyde Grouser Jr., and I can truly say that the force of the lupine is strong with this one. Examine his picture above and his commentary below and see if you do not agree.

Greetings,

Canadian wolves are of a special breed. They are much stronger, faster, handsomer, and-dare I say!-awesomer than american wolves.

There are a few key differences between American and Canadian wolves. Canadian wolves, for instance, have powerful razor sharp claws made from adamantium due to a series of experiments in the 1920s. Also, Canadian wolves are much like hydras. If you cut off a Canadian wolf’s head, three more grow in its place (in this way, Canadian wolves are also better than hydras). Canadian wolves are also capable of breathing fire, and some accounts state that some can also fly (I have yet to personally witness this myself.) Most Canadian wolves grow to be ten feet tall at the shoulder.

Some people ask how it is we live day to day in the shadow of such fearsome beasts. The answer is actually rather surprising in its simplicity. Most Canadian wolves do not have opposable thumbs, and thus we have decided to serve them as slaves. In return, most Canadian wolves maintain strict vegetarian diets.

Yours Truly,
Dr. Clyde Grouser Jr.


Jul 18 2011

#79 “The Mutant”

From Johanna in Sweden

I received this illustration from Johanna several days ago, and ever since that time, my mind has been reeling with the possibilities of what to say about this very unique picture. In her email, Johanna informed me that this mutant wolf and small anthropomorphic kitten are characters from a roleplaying game called Mutant: Undergångens Arvtagare. So, I know that these creatures exist in a world that is outside of our reality, and as a result, I’m not necessarily surprised to see a 4-armed wolf with regenerative powers playing catch with a kitten wearing a dress and a cardigan. I accept these elements of this picture without question.

However, beyond these obviously strange and intriguing elements, there is still something about this picture that sends chills down my spine. This scene is very artfully rendered and displays a great deal of skill, but… there is something unsettling here. Something unnerving that causes my heartbeat to quicken ever so slightly and the small hairs on the back of my neck to stand at attention. In the end I can’t quite put my finger on this mysterious element that has evoked such an intense reaction from me, but I believe it is related to the physical environment in which these creatures are portrayed. Here we have these two being playing together, but the landscape that I can see appears somewhat dark and almost barren. On the one side of the illustration is a lone hill, darkened with overhanging clouds. And to the left there appears to be a city, but the feeling it gives me is a cold and impersonal one, almost as if it exists in some post-apocalyptic world. And where are the characters in relation to these other elements of setting? I’m not sure… but they appear to be in some gray, ashen field. And yet there are smiles upon their faces.

Perhaps this is where the strange feeling inside me arises from: in a world that appears so dark and foreign, so scary and mysterious, so filled with creatures beyond my understanding, there is still a sense of joy and even innocence. Perhaps the juxtaposition of these elements is simply too much for my brain to comprehend.

Thank you Johanna for this wonderful illustration. It is both beautiful as well as intriguing and it certainly set my mind to work.

To see more Johanna’s skilled artwork, visit her deviantart page here.


Jul 14 2011

#75 “The Wolf Flag Unfurled”

From Matt

The day that private citizens and world leaders alike have feared for eons is finally upon us. Today is the day that wolves demand their independence. This revelation comes not with a formal declaration, but with the unfurling or the great flag of the newly formed Wolf Nation. Behold the banner of the State of the Wolf. Notice its alternating dark and light yellow hues. These two shades of the same color represent two separate aspects of the animal. The first, brighter shade represents the exuberance and joy that is associated with this beautiful creature, but the second, darker shade is representative of progress, change and transformation. Additionally, you’ll notice that the flag here is divided into eight distinct sections. Needless to say, each division represents a separate aspect of Wolfdom. These are Pride, Strength, Solidarity, Wisdom, Courage, Oneness with Nature, Compassion, and Responsibility.

Although the wolf in the center of the banner may not seem to be of a particular species, do not be deceived into thinking that this is some mistake on the part of the designer. In fact, just the opposite is true. This wolf was drawn in such a way as to represent wolves of all species and draw them into a single, unified rendering of all wolves throughout the world. For you see, this creature possesses the snout of the Dire Wolf, the haunches of the Arabian Wolf, the eyes of the Tundra Wolf, the forepaws of the Golden Jackal, the ears of the Maned Wolf, the fur of the Grey Wolf, the teeth of the Alaskan Tundra Wolf, and the tail of the Alexander Archipelago Wolf.

The flag is being raised. The winds of changes begin to blow.

While some of us may be taken in and shown mercy by the newly formed Council of the Wolf, others of us shall surely fall in the countless battles that will rage for years to come as the Race of the United Wolf fights for equal rights in a world in which human ignorance and infrastructure have stripped the creature of its lifeblood. Make no mistake- although I am indeed a human and do not desire the destruction of my own species, I cannot deny the likelihood that we all shall stand on a bloodsoaked patch of soil, staring up at the noisily flapping lupine pennant as hundreds, thousands, nay, millions of howls ignite our ears in a furious victory call.

The dawn of the day that will spell the end of human dominance race is at hand. Decide for yourself what action you will take: Stand and fight, tuck tail and run, or join the wolf and accept a place of submission by his side…

The choice is yours. Quickly, though…. here they come!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!


Jul 13 2011

#74 “Acquainted with the Night”

From Jen

I am convinced that Mother Nature can offer no image that is more soul-stirring than that of the lonesome lobo, perched triumphantly upon a monolithic promontory while the silver moon anoints its fur with a shimmering glaze of light. There is so much emotion tied to this one image, so much longing and regret, so much desire and sadness, all of it intersecting at this one point. It’s enough to capture the deepest reaches of the human soul that have yet to be explored by introspection and dredge them up to the light of day that resides inside the conscious mind. Laying eyes upon this creature is like tangentially connecting to a universe in which we are merely strangers and yet we know that in some far away time and place, in some distant history that was never recorded, this was our home.

As much as we long to belong to this wild and wondrous scene, we must be content to exist in a world in which we have taken our own selves as prisoners. We may admire the wolf at a distance, but we are not of the same breed; yes, we are all made of the stuff of stars, but in some different formula. Only the wolf knows his own world, and disappointing as it might be, this must be accepted. We may touch this wild and strange world of wonder every so often, but we are not wolves, ourselves. We are not the fearless, wandering conquerers of the moonlight skies.

We are not “Acquainted with the Night” as they are….

“Acquainted with the Night”
By Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain — and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
A luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.