Mar 26 2012

#331 Music Month (26)

From Shannon

Today’s Song/Video: “You’re a Wolf” by Sea Wolf
(featuring clips from various Harry Potter films)

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.