This artwork is titled “Volk” (Russian for Wolf) and was created by Yuri Shwedoff working out of Moscow Russia. It was featured on his artstation page sometime in 2015. The image is of a young man standing before a golden moon. There's a gold leaf in his ear, and a gold glint in his eye. In his hand he's holding a volk.


Above the horizon, the background is a kind of featureless plane with maybe a few shallow impressions of clouds drifting by. Beneath the horizon, the land rises out of what might be a beach and spikes into jagged boulders, and a steep cliff in the left distance. From the jump, It’s an odd contrast, the ambiguity of the sky above matched against the almost photo realism of the jagged rocks below. 


There are three major figures in this image. The first, the young man, is wearing a grey sweater, black jeans and a pair of tennis shoes,  He’s centered in the frame standing atop one of the jagged rocks with his left foot planted and the right foot, heel up so only his toes are touching the ground. Most notable about him is the gold leaf behind his ears and the ways his eyes shine with that same color. In his arms, he’s carrying the second major figure the wolf. It’s hanging there in his hands seemingly helpless and certainly incapacitated. Its body is large and covered in matted grey fur. Together, the guy and the wolf are the two most photo-realistic elements rendered in the picture. The moon on the other hand, as the third and final major figure, has a different quality about it. The texture of its surface is jagged almost like the rocks below, but it gives the moon a quality of being paper thin, like a golden wafer in the sky. It's an incredible source of light within the reality of the artwork, but it lacks the photorealism that the other figures embody. The three figures together are composed in a kind of harmony where the guy is bisecting the moon vertically, and the wolf in his arms, is doing so horizontally (though in a less than perfect way.)


Per Yuri’s style, most of the image is either grey or a muted cousin of a more identifiable hue. For instance, the sky is completely grey and so is the cliff off into the distant left. While the young guy is wearing black jeans and black and white shoes, Both the shirt the guy is wearing as well as the fur of the wolf are grey. Closer to the foreground a few modest colors start to appear. There’s a blue tint to some of the rocks, while others retain a natural brown color. The major contrast in color though is emanating from the dull gold of the moon.  Like the moon, the leaf shape behind the guy's ear is also a dull gold, and it looks like the glint in his eye is that same color as well.


Meaning & Being: Projecting onto the Unknown

“Man realizes his insignificance in the face of uncertainty and the power of non-material world. but at the same time, he is looking for his place, and to understand the significance of his mind and the ability to see and feel.” 

This is a quote from Yuri, where he's talking about the themes of his work and for me its a key to understanding this work in particular. Most of his work takes place in a surreal world where strange things are juxtaposed. Here it feels like the juxtaposition was between the viscera and tactility of the world beneath your feet, the realness of the world - and that you belong to it - against a world too mired in clouds and ambiguity to penetrate. But here the moon tries to bridge that gap. It's like the projection of an individual mind onto a world we don’t know. Like how people created stories about the reason for lightning before we could understand deeply the nature of lightning for real.  And projection onto the unknown can be as illuminating as a dull light shined on ourselves, but it’s also hard to shake the fact that it’s just a projection. A myopic creation of an imagination dealing with the uncertainty that permeates life. It’s useful and brilliant in its own right, but it is still paper thin when compared to the reality beneath it, and the dark depths behind it. 

But I’m not even certain about that, maybe that’s just my projection, The moon of my imagination. I can also imagine that it’s a love story.