Alumna's Passion Brings Wolves into Art

Ambassador wolf Cana

Ambassador wolf Cana

Photography alumna Rachel Lauren (CCAD 2010) began photographing wolves as a student, and now her passion for the mysterious creatures fuels Ironwood Wolves, an organization that raises awareness and offers education through art.

"I loved incorporating these beasts, which society sees as dangerous, in my art," Lauren said. "Our goal is to ultimately change people's viewpoints on wolves."

Lauren works with three "ambassador wolves," Lucian, Eddard, and Cana, who were bred as human companions and have been trained to mingle with people and model for artists.

The wolves, which are a mixed breed of Grey Wolf, Arctic Wolf, and Malamute, frequently participate in photo shoots and art classes. They have mingled with people in Columbus' Short North arts district, and have even appeared in a TV commercial for Mountain Dew.

"Our animals love to 'work,' and I feel like it gives them a purpose," Lauren said. "Some people are terrified... others are curious and want to pet them and ask questions."

Ambassador wolf Lucian visited Animation Professor Charlotte Belland's class for students to observe and sketch.

"Not only is he a good model, [but] he is an engaging animal," Belland said. "Having the opportunity to place your hand on your subject heightens the animator's understanding of the anatomy."

Lauren teaches two photography sessions a month with Ironwood Wolves, giving photographers the chance to work with the wolves in a natural environment. The next is Nov. 16 at Highbanks Metro Park at 4 p.m. For more information, click here.