Dec 30 2011

#244 “Renewal”

From Steven in Vasalia, California

After yesterday’s post which focused on the cathartic nature of saying goodbye to times gone by, I thought it would only be appropriate to examine the flip side of that same coin today and concentrate on the excitement of the future. I can’t help but to feel an overwhelming sense of optimism wash over me when I examine this illustration from Steven. This well-dressed creature seems ready to take on the world and displays a sense of jovial buoyancy which should be a lesson to all of us. With a cheery smile, an upright posture, and a friendly gesture, this wolf is ready to face whatever the future may have in store. Sometimes confidence and a positive attitude can make all the difference in life, and with an outlook like the one this wolf possesses, I think I can safely say that his future will be quite bright.

I’m not necessarily one for making New Year’s resolutions, but with the coming of the new year, I hope that we are all filled with the thrill of making a fresh start. While it’s true that the occasion for doing this may seem a bit arbitrary, any occasion to begin again is a valid one. So, as we prepare to begin this new year, I pray that the good cheer and sanguineness of this wolf will go with and guide your steps aright.

Best wishes,


Oct 2 2011

#155 “Dressed to Impress”

From Maarit in Finland

Is it merely a coincidence that over the life of this project I have received three wolves from the country of Finland and two of them are wearing a suit and tie? I’m not sure, but the one wolf from Finland that is not formally dressed is portrayed as being naked and pregnant, and you can draw your own conclusions from that.

Moving on…

This is the first time that this dignified lobo has been on public display at, but whenever I have shown this suave wolf to friends and family members, he has been received with many enthusiastic “oohs” and “awes” of admiration. Young and old, rich and poor… people simply love this wolf. But what is it that draws such passionate praise and gusto from such a wide variety of viewers? Is it the realistic rendering of the stately beast? Maybe. The soft and welcoming color pallet? Perhaps. But what I believe draws the most enthusiastic esteem from the viewing audience is the fact that this creature is particularly dapper and so fashionably clothed.

They say that you should dress to impress, that the clothes make the man. However, when people toss around these statements loosely, it always seems that there is a judgmental crowd of skeptics laying in wait to claim that sayings such as these come solely from a place of outer judgment and are merely superficial in nature. There are always those who say that judging by the outer appearance is inappropriate and simply wrong and that it shouldn’t really matter what we look like on the outside. After all, it’s what is on the inside that counts.

I used to think this way as well. But I have come to realize that I believe there is nothing wrong with judging by outward appearances. Let’s be honest: our eyes were designed specifically to take in outside information and draw specific conclusions based on the data that they receive. Making judgment calls is healthy and necessary and displays a mature level of adaptation that is essential for survival. We all make judgments based on what we see, whether we want to admit it or not. It is extremely natural to do so.

However, what I do not condone is trusting in these initial judgments so readily that we are not willing to adapt to a new point of view when information that contradicts our original verdict is presented to us. Let your eyes do the work they were designed to do. Let your brain take in this information and reach its own conclusions, but always keep a fluid point of view. Go ahead, be impressed with this wolf’s stately appearance and handsome outfits. Let his respectable veneer lead you to whatever suppositions and inferences come naturally. But realize that this gentlemanly appearance may be deceptive. Realize that behind the soft eyes and gently clasped hands may be a gruesome countenance that is far more than you bargained for. Let your eyes speak to you, but don’t trust everything they say…

Aug 26 2011

#118 “Poker Face”

From D.S. in Chattanooga, Tennessee

When I first began to examine these illustrations, my eye was instantly drawn to the picture in the upper right hand corner that displays the four symbols which mark the suits of a deck of playing cards (spades, diamonds, clubs and hearts). I found this to an interesting addition to the illustration, but I did not immediately associate any importance with it or see how it was related to the other illustrations by D.S. Over time, however, the interlocking theme of all of these illustrations became clear to me.

It’s not just the one illustration that displays this “card playing” concept; this idea runs through all of the illustrations. While the illustration in the upper right may be the only one with any overt reference to card games, all of the other illustrations present concepts that are highly applicable as well. Follow along with me as I briefly examine them individually.

Upper Left: The drooling wolf perched carnivorously over the dead rabbit is clearly a metaphorical reference to the predator/prey aspect of card games, especially poker. The competition in most poker games is extremely fierce, and the natural order of dominance and survival of the fittest is clearly emphasized. Also, as a minor side note, the act of continuing to play out a hand after the winner has already been determined is called “rabbit chasing.”

Upper Right: The inclusion of the traditional card suits is clear enough, but I also encourage you to notice the hectic nature of the illustration. Can you see how all of the elements appear to be thrown together in a whirlwind of confusion? This obviously reflects the unpredictable nature of the game and the fact that although we can play the odds, the cards will ultimately do as they please. We are at their mercy as they blow us back and forth on the winds of fortune.

Lower Left: This illustration is small, but it speaks volumes about the necessity of a solid poker face. You literally have to be speaking out of both sides of your mouth. You must become two people in one.

Lower Right: I believe the suave style of dress presented in this picture is representative of the fact that poker has long been considered a gentlemen’s game, but the head which appears to be on fire pays homage to the fact that even game of skill and class is also emotional and ┬ádramatic. The game is elegant but dangerous, stylish yet treacherous.

So, in conclusion, deal ‘em out and let the chips fall where they may!