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WOLVES, WONDERMENT & WANDERLUST
STORYTELLER COLLECTION 2022
Read Mark Davies thoughts and behind the scenes inspiration for ‘Fight or Flight’ below:Read moreRead less
Beware, wolves lurk in every guise.
‘Fight or Flight’ is my third interpretation of the intensely dark tale of Little Red Riding Hood, and it is one that is as authentic as possible. Art with meaning, it is how I speak, how I scream, how I bleed. Do you see this as a truly dark piece, or much, much lighter? I’m genuinely really interested to hear your interpretation. Everyone’s minds and stories are different.
The scene is set deep within a forest, and further on than what was shown back in 2015 and my ‘Red Light Spells Danger’ piece. I have taken a bold step to introduce the cloaked figure with the single intention that it truly transforms the emotion that this piece of art exonerates. By being shown from behind, I hope it resonates with many, many people. The moment I placed the figure (I refrain from saying ‘her’ for the reason I just mentioned) it genuinely brought tears to my eyes. I know why I created this piece and that moment when the impact of the image and its narrative just hits you right in-between the eyes.
You see someone who is on a path, a journey, a moment when they walk on, approached by, and flanked by wolves. Each wolf represents another challenge, another beast that needs to be tamed, if not killed. Look closely, a wolf is literally on their back, I did say look closely! Now look at the cloak, look at the sheer depth and richness of that red. With that saturation comes shadows and there lies the problem. Light and dark, very dark.
Blackened, twisting thorns are interwoven with red roses and drive their way through the forest floor. Darkness resides to light in such a way that it can trip you up, the most painful falls are the unexpected ones. Sweetest tongue, sharpest tooth.
Rose petals from their cloak leave a trail of love and kindness reinforcing that the figure is good, wonderfully good yet who’s feet grow tired with the weight of the wolf on their back.
Not every beast can be killed, sometimes it is just the acceptance that it can’t ever truly be slain but it can at least be tamed through the act of love, loving oneself. Keeping one’s wolves at bay can be enough to help you on your path.
A truly beautiful and pivotal detail within this scene is what exists beyond the figure, a clearing, a brief respite. What exists even before that is crucial. A beautiful white deer stands fixated and offers that much-needed guidance. Look upwards, the all-seeing owl offers wisdom in decision making. All hope is not lost. It never will be.
A copse can over time turn into a forest, those trees grow taller, denser, and harder to navigate between. The roots if fed, grow deeper and thicker and turn what was a thin trunk into something much stronger that creates darker shadows. Branches grow outwards and mask the light, to the point that it becomes harder to see the light of day and you become lost, lost in a forest of denial. If left unattended, what was once easily managed becomes so gnarled and claustrophobic that all hope can become lost and the brightest of sunlight is unable to penetrate through. Forests have clearings that offer respite and space to breathe, space to think before you’re back amongst the thick of it but stronger, taller.
Everyone is different, everyone’s reasons for becoming lost are different. We all choose different paths, we deviate off them, we are pushed and kicked off them but with guidance we can, and always must find our way back to our path. That path may then look very different to how it looked when our footsteps were lighter and shadows smaller, or when more walked with us, but it is our path. Keep your head up so that you can see the signs and your eyes open to acknowledge the dangers. How far in do you go before you admit and accept that you are lost? Do you choose a longer way out but it’s your way or do you accept guidance from others? There’s never any shame in that, sometimes the forest is just too dense and dark and you’re tired. With tiredness comes weakness and that leaves you open to attack from the wolves, either those that surround you, those that hide and hunt in packs or from the wolf within. Which has the sharpest tooth?
But please, no matter how dense the forest is that you walk within, remember that every forest comes to an end, and in its place, space to see, space to breathe and with it, the first steps on your path. You hold the axe, make your mark, small, sustained cuts initially or a single blow. This applies to how you enter, and how you leave your forest. The strongest trees can fall. X
– Mark Davies
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