Dec 15 2011

#229 “I am…”

From Monica

In the whole of the English language, the articles are probably the most overlooked words. In fact, some of you may not even know what I mean when I refer to “the articles,” but we all use them all the time. These words are as follows: “a”  ”an”  &  ”the”. Now, at first an article may seem like some sort of “filler” word, just a slight transitional expression that is dropped into a sentence or phrase to help it flow more freely, like a sort of oil for the vocabulary. But articles do much more than this.One major feature of articles is that the inclusion or exclusion of them is often a signal as to whether or not the noun that follows is common or proper. Common nouns are typically prefaced by articles while proper nouns are not.

So what does all of this have to do with this illustration? Well, by simply leaving out an article from the sentence in her illustration, Monica is able to make a larger statement about the significance of the wolf in her own life or at least her outward view of the wolf. To Monica, the wolf is not simply an animal; it is not just another creature that shares this same planet with us. It is a concept, an idea, an entity that exists in both a concrete as well as an abstract sense whose significance is far greater than what the average person might realize. It is both common and proper.

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. And then… sometimes simply leaving one simple word by the wayside can make a huge impact on all who hear and see an artist’s work. Thank you, Monica, not only are you a talented artist, but you have a way with words that is just as moving.

Nov 19 2011

#203 “Beautiful”

From Chen in Israel

For those of you who aren’t aware, the name “Chen” means “beautiful” in the Hebrew language.

Chen and I met randomly as I was playing around on the Internet, looking for strangers to contribute their original wolf art to this project. If I remember correctly, she was a bit apprehensive at first, citing the fact that she did not consider herself to be a very talented artist. Well, as you can see (and as is often the case with the humble), Chen’s level of self-awareness and her own analysis of her skill level are clearly inaccurate. This wolf is the very namesake of Chen herself and can only be described as truly “beautiful.”

But what is even more beautiful than the artistic rendering of this marvelous creature is the spirit of benevolence with which it was offered up. The Internet is a often a refuge for depraved predators seeking innocent victims. As a result, Chen’s willingness to hear out my request displayed a natural trust and goodwill that is hard to come by in this day and age and offers a fresh breeze of relief in a world that often times feels like a ship on a stormy sea in a world blown clear of love.

Thanks for offering up your “beautiful” spirit, Chen. As I often say in the email replies that I sent to contributors, this project has become a true passion of mine, but it is only possible because of the kindness and generosity of talented strangers such as yourself.

Thanks very much, and God bless.

Aug 31 2011

#123 “Ignis Lupis”

From “Iginis Lupis” in Monterrey, Mexico

Proud. Stern. Fair.

Ignis Lupis: The Wolf of Fire.

The beauty of this breathtaking illustration is not lost on me, but what intrigues me even more is the choice of pen name of the artist. I obviously love the fact that the name reflects the passion and spirit of wolf, but what about the fact that the phrase is in Latin? What connections can be made here?

There are some, in their naivete, who might claim that since Latin is a dead language, it is an inappropriate language to serve as a moniker for a wolf-related artist who is supposed to represent the vitality and virility of the lobo. I, however, would beg to differ. Latin is not dead, but very much alive. It flows through ancient texts and works of art like a beautifully artistic river of history. It is aesthetically pleasing both in its sound and in its lines on the page. It is regal. It is stately. It embodies everything the wolf stands for in a lexical form.

“Ignis Lupis.” The name rolls off the tongue like honey and tastes just as sweet in your mouth. Say it with me. Say it aloud: “Ignis Lupis,” The Wolf of Fire.


Aug 6 2011

#98 Stranger Danger!

From Brian

The English language is a mind-boggling entity in many ways. Its rules are often irregular and confusing. The pronunciation of certain letters when used in conjunction with others may vary without rhyme or reason. Grammatical topics are constantly up for debate but rarely solved, and to make matters worse, the language as a whole has the brazen audacity to simply swallow entire words from other languages and incorporate them into itself, further complicating its already glaring problems.

While the preceding paragraph might indicate that these issues are exclusively frustrating and troublesome, it cannot be denied that some the nuances of the English language can also be quite humorous. Case in point is the illustration that is on display today which plays upon one of the oldest tricks in the language book: the homophone. For those of you who have long forgotten the lessons of your elementary language arts instructors, here is a quick review courtesy of our faithful and trustworthy friends at Wikipedia: A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning. The words may be spelled the same, such as rose (flower) and rose (past tense of “rise”), or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or totwo, and too. Homophones that are spelled the same are also both homographs and homonyms. Homophones that are spelled differently are also called heterographs. The term “homophone” may also apply to units longer or shorter than words, such as phrases, letters or groups of letters that are pronounced the same as another phrase, letter or group of letters. 

Although I had never really considered it before, the word by is actually a homophone. This is true because the word can be used to refer to attribution of creation as in “The Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh; but it can also indicate proximity or closesness in phrases like, “The citrus zester is on the counter by the KitchenAid mixer.”

And so… This once again brings us to today’s illustration which is was drawn by the hand of a stranger but also features wolves in close proximity to strangers. It seems that I should have figured all of this out when I first examined the illustration, but no, I successfully made quite a fool of myself by inquiring to Brian about the identity of the two cloaked men in the drawing. He simply replied to my query by saying, “Those would be the strangers.” As you can imagine, I instantly felt my face blush with embarrassment at the realization of my imbecilic misunderstanding.

You will notice that Brian’s work features a wolf defensively poised next to two shifty-looking characters suspiciously clad in long, ominous trench coats. Who are they? What do they want? Will they cause harm? Spread terror? No one knows for sure, and thus the nature of their strangeness is born. In conclusion, I feel that we simply cannot conclude this post without a serious warning about “Stranger Danger” and a quick reminder of a few essential safety tips. 

Parents, run and fetch your children. If you care for them at all, please have them watch this informative yet entertaining video and complete the stranger danger quiz below.

And stay safe out there, everyone!

You can access the “Stranger Danger” quiz here.