From Arantxa in Colombia
Perhaps the greatest attribute of true art is that it defies any sort of definitive description or analysis. Keeping this in mind, we may examine a work of art and spend hours pondering its mysteries and eventually walk away empty handed, but if nothing else, we have at least had the experience of a short session of deep thought. And truly any time spent pondering, thinking, and analyzing is not time wasted. Any time that we don our thinking caps and set our brains to work is time that is spent most productively, even if the answers to our questions always seem to reside just outside of our grasp.
Such is the case with the illustration on display today. The observer will probably reach for transcendental themes of a cosmic connection that runs through all creation. This idea would be based on the depiction of the mighty planets swirling in a celestial soup which is then juxtaposed with the simplicity of the howling wolf and the evergreen tree. But there’s no real proof to back up this assessment, and even if this notion is true, it still only refers to the subject matter and not necessarily the message. Who knows what’s being said here? Maybe this piece is a commentary on our desire to explore the furthest reaches of the universe while still remaining rooted to this planet we call our home. Maybe the goal is to produce a feeling of unity between heaven and earth or to call into question traditionally held views of man’s place in the grand scheme of things.
Who can read the mind of an artist? It seems at times to be a pleasantly impossible task, for the mind of an artist is a thing capable of producing great beauty as well as images that are so disturbing that they may keep us from sleeping at night. The mind of an artist may be a place of playful whimsy or great seriousness. It may push boundaries. It may comfort us. It may teach us lessons or cause us to question. And in the end, the variety of its powers is the truest representation of its strengths.
In a short email conversation I have had with Arantxa, she told me that she had used the music video below for the song “Six Wolves” by Let’s Buy Happiness as an inspiration for some of her pieces. I think that the video is a fitting accompaniment for this particular illustration and is just as mysteriously appealing.