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Submitted on
August 28, 2013
Image Size
414 KB


1,928 (1 today)
77 (who?)

Camera Data

Canon EOS 7D
Shutter Speed
1/400 second
Focal Length
90 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Aug 24, 2013, 5:16:06 AM
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.1 (Windows)
Second Skin: Wolf Strap Headdress by Canis-Angst Second Skin: Wolf Strap Headdress by Canis-Angst
:star:Photograph by Luis Rojas:star:

This photo represents part of an extremely personal project. Lately, it seems like everyone on the internet feels a deep connection with wolves, and in general the "wolf community" turned me off from how much I love the animals. I didn't want to be just another wolfaboo, but that's when I realized the sad truth: I still cared about what people think about me.

I've grown up having to keep parts of my life secret.

I've dealt with bullying throughout elementary school to middle school, and things didn't magically get better in high school. These things happen. You just need to grow a thicker skin was a piece of advice people consistently gave me whenever I tried to ask for help.

So I grew a second one instead.

Identifying with wolves gave me a source of strength to pull from. In many stories, the legend of the werewolf came from men and women who would don wolf pelts to shape shift, with only their eyes remaining human. This project represents a physical wolf to wrap myself in the same way I wrapped my feelings of helplessness up in an animal that was able to rebound from near-extinction.

The headdress is made from a vintage wolf-pelt purchased third (or fourth?)-hand from a Native at a local Lenape pow-wow. Believed to originally be Canadian in origin, this wolf was taken for population control and then traded until the last owner had no use for him and decided to sell him.

I originally sent him out to be commissioned into a head-dress, but the pelt is in pretty bad shape as a result of a poor tanning job and it wasn't certain that the wolf would survive the process. I ended up giving it a whirl myself (which was nerve-wracking) but he came out okay. I purposely exaggerated the forehead a bit in order to be able to wear him as a mask as well as atop my head. He was ritually purified and was used in a ritual/shapeshifting dance with much success. I also ended up wearing him to Saikoucon, where I truly felt like I'd shape-shifted into another person.

The ReD that walked the floors with that wolf was confident. She smiled and it felt genuine. Luis Rojas helped me snag some photos of that girl to remind me that she--that I-- exist and it doesn't have to be a secret. He's an amazing photographer and an absolute blast to work with, and I'm looking forward to future collaborations.

I will accept comments and questions, but hate will be ignored and blocked. If you disagree with the use of animal parts, I respect your decision and ask that you respect mine by not commenting here. You can use your energy to instead make a donation to the Wolf Sanctuary of PA, where you can make a real difference in the lives of animals that could use the support, not ones that have been dead for years.

I still need to add one more set of straps to the lower portion of this hide to wear anchor him for when I dance, but the temporary straps are working quite well and are practically hidden...with the obvious exception of the chin-straps you can see hanging lose. When tightened, the face narrows slightly to a more realistic look.
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Alextheinsane Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Student General Artist
It was the most interesting costume at the con in my opinion because of the real fur and how it was put together. I felt a little weird watching you once and a while  since I'm awkward but the head dress and the fur was just amazing and you were beautiful in it. I wanted to buy one of the coyote masks but I had little money.
Alextheinsane Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Student General Artist
I'm wearing one of your tails right now. Its so soft and lovely ^w^ I loved this outfit you wore at the con :)
Canis-Angst Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I need to apologize because I am basically the worst person ever when it comes to responding to messages in a timely manner. Your comments really brightened my day and I feel horrible that it's taken me so long to thank you for them! I'm really glad my tails found good homes and that you're enjoying yours; I ended up wearing one of mine to school the other day to help me power through a long, long afternoon.

Thank you for the very lovely compliment as well! Truth be told, people who know me well are a little surprised by me at cons. I'm usually the quiet, awkward person...but that completely changes at cons. I wish being sociable like that was easy all the time, but at cons I don't have to worry too much about people thinking I'm weird xD. It was lovely meeting you at the con and if you're there next year, please don't hesitate to stop by and talk! Or don't talk. You can wave. That works, too! :)

Thank you again!
PatchKatz Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I love wolf headdresses, I've always wanted to have one myself, but it's hard to find anything like that here, and importing one is near-impossible due to customs regulations on organic products.
I'll find a way someday d:
You made a great job with this piece, it looks really natural on you.
Canis-Angst Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much!
I wanted one for years but I was always iffy on where I got a wolf from. There's a lot of controversy over the hunting of the animals right now and whenever I saw one for sale within my price range and from a non-endangered was almost always from Europe, and I can't afford to import from there for the same reasons. I did luck out though and I hope you'll be able to one day as well!

Thank you so much, I really appreciate the comment!
spaz-the-wolf-mutt Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this is amazing! super jealous of you. what pow wow was that? all the ones i go to have either run out of wolf or wont part with any of theirs. (btw i saw you at that anime con in PA hi!)
Canis-Angst Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much!

And I go to a couple different ones--typically I go to the Noxen pow-wows in May/September, and this last year I went to the Benton pow-wow, too. They've had wolves at a lot of them, but it really comes down to price range (I don't really have $900+ to spend on a pelt), so it never hurts to leave a phone-number with any of them and say "I have $X I'm willing to spend, if you find something call me.

I actually wound up with another wolf pelt as a result, but the critter is in my freezer until I can find someplace close to get him tanned. xD
spaz-the-wolf-mutt Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
hmm i should try that, it would make my year if i could get one.

critters in the freezer? GUARD THE ICE CREAM! lul, i cant wait to see what you do with it.
TheOwl68 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is just incredible, it looks amazing. I can relate to your personal background re: the bullying. Oddly enough (or not), I too walked with the Wolf initially to help me find my strength & will to deal with being bullied. I love these beautiful creatures, regardless that they've come into fashion for the moment. Stunning work and more power to you! :heart:
Canis-Angst Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for your comment (and the fave!), it really means a lot to know someone else experienced the same things I have. I'm still not comfortable talking about the bullying--even with my friends, who were in the same position-- but things have definitely gotten better since I stopped keeping all of my life (spiritual, emotional, etc) a secret. xD

I actually ran into one of the girls who made my life absolute hell after months of avoiding a department store because I knew she worked there. Then I realized, "Wait, by avoiding the store, she's still controlling my life!", which was probably a very obvious thought to anyone else except me. xD But things are getting better, and I'm happy to know there are other people who took the same route I did. Thank you again so much for your comment!
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