Apr 1 2012

#337 “Black Forest Holes”

From David in Siauliai, Lithuania

If you’ve been following this project with any sort of regularity over the past few months, you’ve probably noticed that David from Lithuania has become a regular contributor, and you’ve no doubt been impressed with the quality and creativity of his work. Having come to know a little bit about David through email correspondence, I can safely say that he is one of the most interesting people that I have ever met. As a painter, historian, coin-collector, wolf-enthusiast and modern day philosopher, David is a unique and creative soul, and his most recent work speaks to the truth of this statement. Entitled “Black Forest Holes,” David’s inspiration for this piece sprang from musings about the Third Reich and the Nazis, who were often referred to as wolves.

When I asked David about his inspiration for his work, he had this to say: “I always say, creativity is like a dark water. Imagine yourself in a boat in the middle of a lake, surrounded by dark woods. Look around, you are surrounded by dark water, which means depth. You don’t see what is behind the water, you just feel it. This mysterious feeling should be caused by all true art.”

Thanks, David. I can’t wait to see where inspiration will lead you next.


Mar 27 2012

#332 Music Month (27)

 From CDS

Today’s Song/Video: “Wolves” by Kittie
(This song was suggested by Autumn via facebook. Thanks, Autumn.)


Mar 22 2012

#327 Music Month (22)

 From a stranger in Harrogate, Tennessee

Today’s Song/Video: “The Wolf Hour” by Hunting Lodge


Feb 16 2012

#292 Awareness (16)

From Autumn in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Today’s link: wolfsanctuary.net

Wolf was established in order to improve the quality of life for all wolves and wolf-dogs.

Our mission will be met by accomplishing the following strategic objectives:
Rescue – save captive-bred wolves and wolf-dogs whose caretakers are no longer able to provide for them, for whatever reason.
Sanctuary – provide life-long homes that take into account not only the animal’s physical requirements but also its emotional needs.
Education – teach the general public about wolves in order to foster more realistic opinions concerning their value in the wild and the compromises required of their spirit due to captivity.


Feb 14 2012

#290 Awareness (14)

From Skylar of Signal Mountain, Tennessee

Artists for Conservation: Support Nature through Art

Mission and Vision:

“At AFC, our mission is to support wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability, and environmental education through art that celebrates our natural heritage. Through international art exhibits, collaborative art-science expeditions, publications and cutting-edge online initiatives, we engage, inspire and inform the public, and empower passionate professional artists as effective ambassadors for the environment.”


Jan 25 2012

#270 Less is More (25)

 

From Damien in Phoenix, Arizona

The following is a selection from “Leader of the Pack” written by George Morton, Jeff Berry & Ellie Greenwhich; performed by The Shangri-Las.

Is she really going out with him?
Well, there she is. Let’s ask her.
Betty, is that Jimmy’s ring you’re wearing?
Mm-hmm
Gee, it must be great riding with him
Is he picking you up after school today?
Uh-uh
By the way, where’d you meet him?

I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture? (yes, we see)
That’s when I fell for (the leader of the pack)

My folks were always putting him down
They said he came from the wrong side of town
(whatcha mean when ya say that he came from the wrong side of town?)
They told me he was bad
But I knew he was sad
That’s why I fell for (the leader of the pack)

faf


Jan 23 2012

#268 Less is More (23)

From Jesse in Raleigh, North Carolina

c

“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”

~ Samuel Johnson

f


Jan 12 2012

#257 Less is More (12)

From Phaedra

“Careless shepherd make excellent dinner for wolf.”
~ Earl Derr Biggers


Jan 5 2012

#250 Less is More (5)

From Jessie in Raleigh, North Carolina

This wolf’s ominously pictured jaws served as the inspiration for this post.

FACT: Immense power is concentrated in a wolf’s jaw. It has a crushing pressure of nearly 1,500 pound per square inch (compared with around 750 for a large dog). The jaws themselves are massive, bearing 42 teeth specialized for stabbing, shearing, and crunching bones. Their jaws also open farther than those of a dog.

v


Dec 27 2011

#241 “Red Dawn”

From a stranger in an unknown location

A wolf pictured in his natural environment is always a breathtaking sight, but something about this particular illustration seems to deliver discomfort as opposed to tranquility. I don’t mean to say that this illustration is unattractive or is not artfully rendered. I believe just the opposite is true. Only an illustration that is drawn with great skill could induce an intense emotional reaction, whether it be negative or positive. But what is it that delivers to me feelings of discomfort? Let’s examine the physical environment first. While the landscape in the picture is beautiful, it is also barren and harsh. The craggy surfaces of a rocky mountain face rise up in opposition to the earth below and block out the final rays of the autumnal sun. A few sparse trees dot the landscape, offering little comfort or shade to a weary traveler seeking shelter. The river, the source of life, seems to be not only flowing but running away, fleeing from this land without promise. And then there is the wolf itself. The creature is majestic and dignified, but there’s something in the eyes that sends a message of pain and vexation, something in the ragged fur that speaks of hardship.

However, even though this picture suggests thoughts of adversity and austerity, there is also a memory of one of my favorite films that I have somehow tied to this illustration and that I just can’t seem to shake. The movie is called “Red Dawn,” and like the illustration above, the movie paints a picture of the hardships and trials that are faced when living in an unforgivable natural environment. But at the same time, the movie (like this picture again) delivers themes of perseverance, determination and the magnificent power of a strong will to survive. The obvious disconnect between the two is that there are no Russians taking over the United States in this stranger’s picture, but overall, I still thought the movie was applicable enough to warrant the connection. If you haven’t seen the movie, send it to the top of your Netflix queue today; it’s a true classic. Before you view, check out the trailer below.


Dec 24 2011

#238 “Nightmare Before Christmas”

From RG in Marietta, Georgia

Visions of sugar plums? Ha! None of that nonsense tonight! Feast your eyes on the nightmare fuel that will haunt your dreams this Christmas Eve. Since holiday cheer is in abundance on every street corner, I have decided to dedicate today’s post to creating a haven of darkness from the gaiety of the season. With this fearsome beast on hand, no one is safe this Christmas Eve. So… if you hear a scratching on your rooftop or see ashy flakes drifting down through the chimney, it may not be dear old Santa that has come to fill your stockings with goodies. It may just be this savage beast, slinking into your home to devour you whole. But what is even scarier might be the idea that this wolf is actually Santa, himself. Is Santa Claus a werewolf? The idea might sound ridiculous, but it’s no sillier than the original concept of a man who flies around on reindeer-guided sleigh, etc., etc. If anything, the idea of a werewolf sounds much more plausible. And who knows, sharing this with your children may even result in better behavior next year…

So… try leaving out a plate of raw meat instead of cookies tonight. And while you’re at it, enjoy this song by Creepersin called “Lycanthropy.” Sleep tight!


Dec 8 2011

#222 “Captain Lupis: Werewolf Pirate

From Dr. Elijah Hobblestank in Chattanooga, Tennessee

I received this picture quite a while ago, but taking something definitive from it has proved to be quite a struggle. As such, I have avoided discussing this piece for some time now. In the end, though, the fact that I have had difficulty interpreting the underlying messages of this work doesn’t mean that I believe they aren’t there. Nay, this illustration is not some empty conch shell; it is rather a tightly sealed clam which possesses pearls of wisdom and wonder and is loth to share them with just anyone. The viewer must gently coax the messages out of this piece. It must be treated with respect, much like a lady. She will take you to worlds unknown if wooed properly, but just like a woman, this illustration will only open its legs for those who care enough to spend the time unraveling its secrets. Even at this point, I can’t say that I have discovered all that it has to offer.

What to touch on first…. Let’s start with the characters and move on from there. As we can see, a pirate-werewolf of sorts seems to be serving up a goblet of wine to a seated woman. The lady is dressed in apparent finery, but the supposed captain of this vessel wears disheveled rags to say the least. Also, interestingly enough, neither of the subject’s faces are shown. I think that ultimately this works to send a message pertaining to the illusion of comfort that is often present in the constant struggle between male and female forces. The wolf in this illustration is no doubt in awe of the woman and the beauty that she possesses, and likewise, his rugged features and wild appearance offer the promise of adventure and excitement to the gentler sex. But at the same time, something sinister seems to be at work here; the element of predator vs. prey is equally on the forefront of our minds. Also, though, while the wolf is obviously the dominant figure in the picture (he stands while the woman appears to be seated), he apparently seeks to serve her. Perhaps this is a comment on how even though the masculine sex is viewed as being more ascendant and supreme, the hardness of a man can still be softened by the mystery of a beautiful woman. In many ways, the fact that this piece pictures the man as a wolf supports this idea as well. The very fact that this sailor possesses lupine attributes might be tied in to the idea that the love of a woman is powerful enough to subdue even the most savage of creatures.

But going back to the fact that these characters are not wholly pictured, I believe that this was an intentional decision on the part of the artist to allow the viewer to inject himself/herself into the piece. Art only becomes real and important to us when it is applicable to our own lives. As a result, whether we are female or male, the universality of these “headless” subjects allows us to easily step into their shoes. For the male, he is able to explore his own sense of masculinity and assess his relationship with the fairer sex. Does he offer the finest of wines with sincerity and admiration? Or has he been scorned by the wiles of women to the point where he may have even poisoned the cup? For the woman, does she seek to be the princess that she is treated as? Does she appreciate the admiration that is due to her? Or does she sit in resentful silence, longing to cast off the trappings of beauty? In short, does she desire to be more than a decorative prize?

And finally, the notion that all of this is taking place on board a ship (which is largely suggested by the peg-leg of the lupine subject and the skull and crossbones in the background)- what can we make of this? In many ways, I feel that this contributes to the universality of the topic at hand as well. Since ships have the capability of sailing all over the world, this work of art is for all people in all places. It literally resides in international waters. But at the same time, this pirate-themed setting that causes us to picture the precariousness of the open water leaves the viewer with a sense of danger and uncertainty. And in the end, due to the amount of speculation that went into this analysis, “uncertainty” is a word that sums up this piece all too well. But I do think we can all agree that one thing is for certain: this illustration is totally awesome and all of its mysteries only serve to enhance its overall beauty.


Dec 5 2011

#219 “Coming of Age”

From Mike in Columbia, Missouri (drawn by a friend)

This wolf struck an instant chord with me as soon as I laid eyes upon it, but ultimately it’s difficult to explain why. Even now, several days after receiving the picture, I still can’t nail down what it is that seems to speak to me so deeply. One thing is definitive, though: there’s something about this creature that takes me back to my childhood. In the end, I think this is due to the fact that this wolf appears to be a predator, a “bad” wolf, an aggressor, but there’s also a playful and innocent quality that prevents it from being overtly frightening or disturbing. In some ways this idea was referenced in the subject line of the email that Mike sent, which read “Friend or Foe?” The construction of the illustration with the “fuzzy” lines presents a certain softness, but this velvety appearance is combined with an ominous crinkling of the lip and a slight deviousness in the eyes that seems to say, “I may not be as pleasant a creature as I appear.”

I think that in the end this illustration transports me back to those early childhood story books that first presented the concept of good vs. evil. It seems as if the design of the writers and artists of those Golden Books was to begin introducing the young reader to a world that is not always filled with light and love, but they did so in a manner that was not so abrasive that it would damage the psyche of the child. In many ways, we only know the good when it is presented in direct comparison to the bad, so early introduction to these concepts is key in the development of the worldview of a young person. But ultimately, even though I think that this wolf might represent something sinister, it reminds me of a simpler time, a time of more innate innocence, a time when even the villains in the story were lovable and endearing.


Dec 3 2011

#217 “Death Incarnate”

From Andrada in Romania (perhaps near the Carpathian Mountains)

Sometimes the work of an artist can be so deeply disturbing and so gut-wrenching that we simply cannot avert our eyes. The magnificent horror of what greets us is simply too intense; it pulls us into a whirlpool of twisted sorrow and a beautiful depravity that is simply too gripping to be denied. In my humble opinion, the work of Andrada accomplishes this artistically demonic task.

But please don’t think that my description of Andrada’s art is meant to be uncomplimentary. On the contrary, any work that is able to evoke such an emotional and physical response cannot be labeled as anything but a true artistic triumph. I believe that Andrada purposefully seeks to achieve the macabre, the gruesome, and the morbid, and that she succeeds with flying colors (colors that are in the shades of black and grey, of course). If you view here other work (located here), you will find that you have ventured in a world of unearthly horrors and grotesque imaginings. But simultaneously, it is not devoid of beauty. The ghastly images she creates are rendered with such an amazing talent that the viewer cannot but be moved to wade deeper and deeper into the pool of Andrada’s grim body of work.

Andrada labeled this particular work “mrtyu” which is a Sanskrit word for death. When examining the illustration in conjunction with the title, one is overcome with a sense of morbidity and danger. Although the illustration does not depict an actual death scene, we get the impression that slaughter is not far from this beast’s mind. Then again, maybe this creature is a physical representation of death, itself. Perhaps this creature is death in a bodily form. Seeing how this wolf is frightening but also breathtaking and captivating in its presentation, this might make sense. Either way, this illustration chills me to the bone with a haunting sense of satisfaction.

Thank you, Andrada. I hope that you will continue to bring out the beauty in the macabre.


Nov 27 2011

#211 “Little Pig…”

From Justin at the University of Missouri

A couple of days ago I posted an illustration from a talented artist named Aaron which pictured a four-armed Little Red Riding Hood gunning down a wolf in a strangely urban in environment. In my accompanying commentary, I noted how interesting and fun it can be take a classic tale and incorporate our own twists into the story. I’m not going to rehash all of that here, but I do find that this illustration is well aligned with that same idea and delivers an intriguing new presentation of a classic childhood tale. There is a sense of savagery and violence in this wolf that is nicely juxtaposed with the innocence of the landscape and the apparent naiveté of these little pigs. And furthermore, what is really interesting is how all of these elements combine to form a picture that is more or less believable. It’s very strange in a way: the viewer can obviously tell that his picture is a patchwork of several elements, but they fit together so seamlessly that (although the picture is weird and a bit freaky) it feels natural and not forced.

But since we are on the topic of The Three Little Pigs and are also discussing interesting retellings of vintage children’s stories, I figured that I would share another one with you here. If you have never heard the song “Little Pig, Little Pig” by Green Jelly, you’re in for a treat. The “hardness” of the song shares a similar vibe with Justin’s in-your-face illustration and the stop-motion animation also contributes to that indescribable “natural” feeling that combines strangely with a voluntary suspension of reality. In the end, it’s difficult to describe, but this song and video just seem to fit. Enjoy!


Nov 25 2011

#209 “A Little Red in the Hood”

From Aaron

One of the most appealing qualities of those classic fairy tales from our youth is that they are familiar but fluid at the same time. We know them all, from The Tortoise and the Hare to Cinderella, but since their origins are usually mysterious, there seems to exist a universal sense of ownership that allows us to take these tales and mold them into very personal interpretations. In other words, the framework of the story is familiar, the individual details and embellishments lie completely in our own hands. When we become the story-teller, we have the unique opportunity to experience a certain feeling of tradition and nostalgia as well as a thrilling sense of freedom and individuality. And likewise, the listener is able to encounter a tale that is both recognizable and new.

This mind-bending illustration perfectly represents that innate desire to become a unique and masterful storyteller, even if the tale itself is one that has been heard a thousand times. With a little twist here and a slight bending of tradition there, the artist of this unparalleled work has created narrative art that is both traditional and unique. His work is relatable, but it is also groundbreaking and remarkably rare.

This astoundingly refreshing retelling allows us as viewers to take a stroll down memory lane and enter a new world at the same time. It offers a chance to relive a little piece of our childhood but also allows us to appreciate the truly individualistic nature of storytelling and explore the boundaries of the human imagination. And in the end perhaps these are the two most universal desires that exist within all of us: the desire for the comfort of routine and familiarity and the desire to be seen as a true individual.

So, while Little Red Riding Hood may not have packed a Glock or had four arms, this wild rendition of a classic tale possesses a special appeal that simply can’t be denied.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a classic… with a new twist.


Nov 24 2011

#208 Contest Winner!

From Justin at The University of Missouri

Behold the vision of my wildest dream transformed into reality. The fruition of my efforts in collecting illustrations of wolves from global strangers could be considered complete if I were to hang it all up today and move on; for I have discovered an artist (or rather, he has discovered me) whose intuitive grasp of the power of the lobo is truly unrivaled. With that being said, ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to feast your eyes upon the twisted genius of a man caught in the throws of a wolf-fueled trip like no other. Witness for yourselves the creative grandeur of the “Willy Wonka of Wolves.” I give you… Justin.

Is there any doubt that this piece would be the ultimate winner of Wolves by Strangers’ November Contest? I should think not. This illustration really says it all; the amount of ground covered here is phenomenal. Urban mass appeal is married to the love of nature as wild wolves from deep within primal forests take the world’s cities by storm. Various forms of infrastructure fall beneath their pounding paws; sonic howls topple the tallest buildings; radioactive beasts that were formerly deemed our worst nightmare pale in comparison to these heavenly beasts who rain down a hellish onslaught of all we held dear. But simultaneously, the beauty of their sheer power and the awe that their intrinsic ferocity inspires is pleasantly chilling. Savage or not, the grace and majestic of these creatures is thrilling. They are larger than life, and they will not be denied. These wolves are pictured as you have never seen them before, but simultaneously, there’s something familiar here that just seems to right.

Thank you, Justin, for opening our eyes to a wild world of imagination. Start surfing everythingwolf.com to pick out the new wolf t-shirt that’s coming your way! You deserve it.


Nov 23 2011

#207 “Transcendental Variety”

From Colin in Chattanooga, Tennessee

There are many aspects of this illustration that I find significant and intriguing, but two of the most prevalent features that speak to me are the inherent ideas of transcendentalism and variety that are on display here. Seeing as how the illustration depicts (in some ways) a creature that is a conglomeration of other animals, it seems that the picture comments on the diversity of life in the world around us. But at the same time, when we take a closer look, we see common threads throughout almost all forms of life. We see characteristics and features that are almost universal to all creatures, whether they be wolf, duck, tiger, horse or human.

In the end, as I lay my eyes upon this drawing which is clearly a celebration of life and nature, I am reminded of two of my favorite quotes by some of the world’s leading scientific minds. Ruminate on these thoughts and enjoy!

“I think nature’s imagination is so much greater than man’s.
She’s never going to let us relax.”
- Richard Feynman

“We are all connected:
To each other, biologically; To the earth, chemically; To the rest of the universe atomically.”
- Neil deGrasse Tyson


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.


Nov 17 2011

#201 “Wolf vs. Wolf”

From Andrew at the University of Missouri

The cyclical nature of interest in the wolf is a phenomenon that any true wolf enthusiast will find terribly fascinating. In many ways it seems that we are currently residing in a sort of “Wolf Renaissance” that is reminiscent of that of the early 1980s. I’m not sure about the rhyme or reason behind it, but the early 80s were a time when the wolf was center stage in a variety of media entertainment outlets. Taking just popular movies as an example, all of the following titles were all produced between the years 1980 and 1985: Teen Wolf, Silver Bullet, Wolfen, The Howling, Never Cry Wolf, The Night of the Werewolf, The Company of Wolves, and An American Werewolf in London. Now, in the last ten years, we haven’t necessarily had a full-blown resurgence of interest in the wolf, but there are signs that a fresh rebirth of lupine enthusiasm is rising like a full moon. Notice the following bits of wolf phenomena as examples: The striking success of the “3 Wolf Moon” t-shirt (seen here), the current obsession with the character of Jacob from theTwilight series, the creation of the Teen Wolf television show on MTV, the cultural phenomenon that is Shaun Ellis and the lifestyle he lives, as well as a variety of other pop culture references to wolves that are beginning to appear everywhere from The Hangover to songs by Let’s Buy Happiness, Bon Iver, The Good Natured, My Chemical Romance, and on and on. Also, going back to movies for a second, all of these titles were released in the last few several years: Dog Soldiers, The Ginger Snaps Series, Underworld, Big Bad Wolf, Blood and Chocolate, The Werewolf Hunter: The Legend of Romasanta, Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound, A Mexican Werewolf in Texas, Rid Riding Hood, and the list could go on…

But all of this makes me wonder what might happen if some of these famous wolves and wolf warriors were to meet upon the field of battle. Andrew’s illustration also seems to bring this idea to mind and causes us to speculate would might happen if these characters were to face off. What could one expect from a battle between the preacher/werewolf from Silver Bullet and Selene from Underworld? Who would you place your bets on in a battle to the death between Marsha Quist from The Howling and Sgt. Harry Wells of Dog Soldiers?

But the pièce de résistance of any discussion of wolf battles throughout the ages would no doubt come down to Scott Howard from the original Teen Wolf and Jacob Black from the Twilight series. Andrew really nailed it with this epic match up, and in the end, I’m not sure if there is a clear victor in this battle of lobos. While Jacob may be downplayed by modern wolf enthusiasts for taking center stage in a series that commands mostly teenage girls as fans, no one can deny his physical prowess. Also, in reference to Scott Howard, he certainly has the cool factor in his back pocket, but is this alone enough for him to steal the victory? Who’s to say? Maybe no one could accurately predict what might happen if these two teenage werewolves were to ever cross paths, but one thing’s for sure: it would be a battle you wouldn’t want to miss.

Thanks, Andrew, this epic matchup has certainly given us some food for thought.