Apr 13 2012

#349 “Adventure!”

From Billy

It’s an undeniable fact: Within all of us there lies a deep-seated yearning for action and adventure. No matter how faint, we all hear that call for excitement, and in no illustration is this innate desire for peril and danger more evident than this masterpiece by Billy. With his armed sidekick by his side (or rather on his back), this lupine warrior launches forward on some unknown escape, his breath as hot as fire. Will his journey bring him glory and honor or only disappointment? No one knows for sure, but there is one thing we do know: the call has been answered. The adventure has begun…


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.


Jul 30 2011

#91 “Which will you feed?”

From Steven in Ohio

If you’re like me, your first reaction when you saw this picture was one of shock and horror. Truly this beast brutal. Surely he is deranged and psychopathic. Certainly he is cruel and bloodthirsty. Just look what he has done to those poor men: he has devoured their bodies entirely, leaving nothing but gruesome reminders of his awful strength and savagery in the form of their severed heads. And to add insult to injury, there the evil wolf sits, smiling that victorious and toothy grin in triumph over his prey.

But wait… How is it exactly that we know these things? Yes, we do see a wolf that has apparently eaten two humans, but how do we know it is the wolf who is evil? Could it not be that the men were deserving of death and that their punishment was doled out rightfully?

Since we are only capturing one moment in time by examining this illustration, we may never know the answers to these questions, but this conundrum reminds me of an applicable story. You see, we may not know whether or not this wolf is good or evil, but for our own sakes we must try to analyze the “wolves” that live within each of us. We must explore our own sides of righteousness and wickedness. Ultimately, the end of the moral spectrum that this wolf resides upon is irrelevant, but the end that you are on….. well, that could make all the difference.

Examine this story:

The One You Feed”

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me,  for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

 


Jun 5 2011

#36 Contents: One (1) Wolf

From a stranger in Roanoke, Virginia

I am delighted to share with you one of the most clever pieces of artwork that I have received. This artist has taken the idea of mailing a wolf one step further and has actually drawn a picture of a wolf  mysteriously placed inside a package; this displays an inventive mind and a unique intellect that I think should be applauded. As I studied this picture more and more, I began to ponder the idea of the containment of the noble savage and the impact that it can have on both man and beast. As a result, I am trying something new with this post and am sharing with you a piece of short fiction. I don’t claim it to be great, but it will certainly be different, and I hope that it is well-received.

Note: this piece of fiction was inspired by concepts brought to mind by this picture but is not necessarily “about” this picture.

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The creature radiated energy of an otherworldly sort. Vibrations pulsated from its quivering body like the sonic boom of a jet engine unexpectedly soaring across a clear, springtime sky, over and over again.

Kneeling a short distance away, the man surveyed the drama warily, his eyes wide and breath shaky and visible in the cold.

As the struggle of life and death played out before him, his heart pounded in his chest like a prisoner rattling the bones of his ribcage, stirring his insides into an oily mess. He saw the spray of blood lying gently upon the delicate white surface of the snow outside of the wolf’s radius like a covering of dark red lace. The creature’s forepaw had been caught in the bear trap only hours before. While its resolve was iron, the frenzied eyes filled with rage spoke of a desperation that the man knew would win out in the end. Ultimately, when the wolf had gnawed through its own flesh, grinding the rubbery ligaments in its very jaws, it would be free. But it would die.

Then, he knew, the pup would also die that worriedly trembled near to its mother’s side, offsetting her deep growls with a strained whimper, creating a poignant symphony of pain, fear and anxiety.

The man thought silently. He bit down upon the inside of his cheek and swallowed hard. Then he raised himself from his haunches, lifted the barrel of his rifle and fired. The shot seemed to echo for a long while and the man listened as it died out. Then, pinching the young creature by the nape and cradling it gingerly in his arms as it yelped, he turned and walked away.

In the months and years that followed he questioned his judgment more than most would imagine, crying as he lay awake and whispering his prayers aloud. The murder of the mother was irrelevant. He had known that she would perish. What he punished himself for was not the execution, but the rescue.

Most mornings he would awake in the cold half-light of his cabin to the coarse sensation of the creature’s tongue sandpapering his hand. Often he would simply open his eyes and try with all his might to absorb the beauty of the animal, but no matter how he tried, he just couldn’t seem to drink it in fully. In short, he felt unworthy. The thing was of a godly nature to him. Each claw that clicked upon his battered hardwood floor anchored his guilt and solidified the knowledge that he had no right to contain this creature, to house this embodiment of everything wild and fierce in the natural world. He didn’t know if the wildness of the animal could actually be tamed, but he feared that he done more damage than good, that he had tainted the purity of the creature.

Sometimes, when the days were warm, he would leave the front door open and secretly hope that the wolf would simply trot through it and head back into the wilderness and never return. He would imagine seeing a wisp of the tail cut across his periphery and then all his guilt would wash away like the oil on the highway during a hard rain…

But on these occasions the creature would only stare at the man inquisitively and lie down in the splay of sunshine as it beamed onto the cabin floor. In time the wolf would yawn and lick himself, and the man would walk over to the creature and crouch to pet him. In that moment, as the animal thumped his tail against the floor in approval, the man would wonder if this was the communion with nature that so many had seemed to hope for throughout history or, he questioned, was it still out there floating along on some swampy breeze, buried underneath the needles of some ancient pine, intangible and unattainable?