Jan 20 2012

#265 Less is More (20)

From K. in Evanston, Illinois

 

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

~ Anatole France

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May 11 2011

#11 “Cheshire Wolf”

From a stranger in Chicago, Illinois.

I have always been intrigued by the concept of genuinely fearing something while simultaneously enjoying it. Some people would argue that this is inherently impossible, but I would beg to differ. Otherwise, how would one explain the continued success of writers like Stephen King or any form of entertainment labeled as “horror”? Most people who are patrons of this type of art genuinely enjoy it. They actually like the fact that these things are creepy and scary, and the truth is that there is a little bit of this within all of us. I don’t know why this is (I suppose it has something to do with catharsis), but I do know that it is true.

I also remember my first experience with this complex combination of emotions. I was a child, and I was watching the animated Disney film Alice in Wonderland. No single image in the entire movie stood out to me quite as much as the Cheshire Cat: the insane toothy grin, the floating and disappearing appendages, the darkly wild color combination of purples, reds and those yellow eyes. Then, after I took in the creature visually, it spoke in that ominously playful tone, and it said, “Why, we’re all mad here.”

At that young age, I honestly could not decipher whether this creature was something out of my wildest dreams or my most terrifying nightmares. I was dumbfounded. I loved that cat, but it scared the crap out of me. When I look at this particular wolf image on display above, I’m transported back to that childhood experience. I’m not sure why this is, really. I don’t find the this picture particularly frightening, but it somehow encapsulates an element of the surreal that is difficult to grasp but is also genuinely appealing and certainly imaginative; and in the end, that was the appeal of the Cheshire Cat all along.