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.