Apr 15 2012

#351 “Twilight”

From a stranger in Chattanooga, Tennessee

For the record, this is the first illustration featuring a Twilight character that I have received from a college student enrolled in a sophomore level history class who likes to doodle on her notes. I just hope she waited until after the test to send this in…

Mar 23 2012

#328 Music Month (23)

 From Ol’ Bird in St. Louis, Missouri

Today’s Song/Video: “Werewolf Blues” by Guana Batz

Mar 13 2012

#318 Music Month (13)

 From Deb in Ringgold, Georgia

Today’s Song/Video: “Falling in Love with the Wolfboy”
by The Magnetic Fields

Mar 10 2012

#315 Music Month (10)

 From a stranger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Today’s Song/Video: “Full Moon Fire” by Walter Egan

Mar 7 2012

#312 Music Month (7)

From a stranger in Michigan

Today’s Song/Video: “Werewolf” by Cat Power

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.

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.

Aug 19 2011

#111 “Teen Wolf”

From a stranger in Chattanooga, TN

You just can’t top an outlandish 1980s teen comedy flick. And there’s no better example than the perennial “Teen Wolf.” Overall, I think this illustration serves as a great accompaniment to the film. As you can see, this drawing appears to be inspired by the movie masterpiece, but it is not necessarily “about” the film. We can see the inspiration in the flashiness of the color which simply screams 1980s and the wildness of the strokes with which this drawing is composed. Nothing says 80s indulgence and excess like pop art with unusual and random angles that reach out towards you like lightning bolts.

Just in case you haven’t laid eyes on this piece of cinema gold in a while. You can check out the original trailer below.