Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

The Green Man

March 9, 2014


osirisI’ve been thinking a lot about plant people and will probably sit down to draw them soon. One of my favorite plant buddies would have to be the Green Man, god of the forest. I’ve already painted him a few times over the years, but yeah, he is starting to play in my imagination once again. This week, I’ve decided to post a few pictures of him throughout history.

2012-ZL-Greenman-WEBI’ve read that the first incarnation of the Green Man (that we know of) may have been the Egyptian god Osiris.  His body representing the land of Egypt as it goes through the winter months when he is murdered, dismembered, planted in the ground, only to rise again for harvest (with his skin a nice shade of green). The Green Man has certainly evolved since then, and has been represented throughout Europe, and even India and Asia to represent the guardian of Nature. Even the Catholic church couldn’t get rid of the Green Man, and his image can be found inside and incorporated into their medieval cathedral’s architecture, columns and stained glass.

green-man-bambergI love the Green Man. Branches and bark on his face and skin, leaves as his hair, with flowers and foliage growing out of his mouth.

I remember being very happy as a kid if he’d show up in one of the books I’d be reading. I may have initially encountered the Green Man the first time I read Tolkien, where the he was embodied by the Ent, Treebeard. I’ve come across him many times since, in comics (Yay Swamp Thing!), literature, artwork, sculpture, and out in the wild wood. He shows up all over the place, and if you keep your eyes open you will see him everywhere!

Some books and things:

The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest

Green Man: The Archetype of Our Oneness with the Earth

A Little Book of the Green Man (Little Books)

The Earth Has a Soul: C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology & Modern Life

Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book 1

The Green Man Tree Oracle: Ancient wisdom from the greenwood





"Fall" by Todd Powelson

“Fall” by Todd Powelson

"Green Man" by Todd Powelson

“Green Man” by Todd Powelson

Göbekli Tepe

December 22, 2013


254952-aIts the winter solstice as I write this post today, and I have decided write about Göbekli Tepe to celebrate that fact. Partly because I want to learn more about the ancient site myself, partly because these monoliths are usually built recognize and record celestial events like the solstice, and also because ancient history fascinates me. There is another reason too… I’ve been reading, watching some documentaries, and listening to a lot of  podcasts on history, archaeology, astronomy, and religious texts lately. I’ve been coming across information on this ancient site quite a bit and it sure seems to be inspiring a lot of people, including me.

vincent-j-musi-an-angry-beast-eyes-a-boar-on-a-pillar-at-gobekli-tepe-the-oldest-known-templeGöbekli Tepe was first discovered in Turkey in the ’60s, but it wasn’t until 1996 that work was really started by archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, and he has been there with his team ever since. What they’ve uncovered is considered to be the oldest known temple, dating back to approximately 10,000 B.C., making it almost 6,000 years older than Stonehenge. Apparently, they’ve only excavated a relatively small portion of the site, and can see through geological surveys that there are still a huge number of structures buried under the ground. Its thought that what is still buried may be even older.

63640-gobeklitepe-de-kamerali-onlemThe site itself is made up of a number of  T-shaped sculpted 20 foot tall stone pillars, each weighing somewhere around 20 tons, and these pillars are arranged in circles.

Human beings and our instinct to create just amazes me. And also our instinct to destroy. Its weird but, after being used for thousands of years, the site was deliberately buried. Its not really known why… | nationalgeographic | when god was a girl | bbc





“East Meets West” in Ghost Town Cisco

October 7, 2012

It must have been as far back as the summer of 1996. Not all that often, but occasionally that summer I’d travel down to the ghost town Cisco to do some weekend work in the surrounding area and earn a little extra cash. It was kind of nice to get away from time to time. Cisco is a small rusted out and dilapidated town located in the desert about 50 miles east of Green River, abandoned years and years before I ever arrived. The work I was doing wasn’t hard at all, but it could be kind of spooky because there was absolutely no one else around. There was a little trailer set up among the abandoned buildings that I was able to spend a night or two in as I got my work done, but not much else going on except maybe a bird flying overhead, or maybe a tumbleweed rolling along. The truth is, I didn’t mind much at all. I kind of like and find peace in solitude, and the landscape and sky down there are inspiring. Still, it is easy for my mind and imagination to wander, and I can really spook myself sometimes.

Earlier that year, some artists had come down and taken over one of the abandoned buildings. They built sculptures, painted and hung photos, and turned the place into a remote art installation and sort of gallery, and then left town to find their next project. I was always aware of their building, because one of the sculptures was made of strung up twine or wire and, when the wind would blow, the piece would whistle and create these very weird and eerie sounds. And the wind blew down there a lot, pretty much all the time.

Of course, I was interested in that building. I had to check it out. Crossing the field behind the building I came across a rattle snake, which was maybe an omen of some kind, but I just moved around it no big deal and made my way to the door. I remember the sky was sunset red, which isn’t all that important, but it seems somehow significant now and really stands out in my mind. As soon as I entered the building, I saw rattlesnakes again, crawling in all of the corners. They seemed to have a place to go though, and quickly disappeared into the floor or retreated around corners. I’d already come into the building by then and didn’t feel especially threatened, although the floor did feel kinda “soft”, and I imagined myself falling through it into a rattlesnake den or something. Since I was already in the main room, I looked around. There was a smashed TV, old abandoned toys and dolls, some broken furniture, weird old cowboy boots mounted on shovels or something, and hung along one of the walls was a row of photos. It was a row of portraits, but they showed the back of peoples heads. I checked it all out but didn’t stick around in there too long, because it was a creepy scene, and I did like the sculpture out front a little more. That noisy one. Then I went back to the trailer, read for a while, fell asleep, and haven’t thought about Cisco much since. Except maybe I have…

The only reason I bring it up now is because I dreamed I was there again last night. I dreamed I was in that room with all of those snakes, the broken furniture, looking at photos of the back of peoples heads, a sun-burnt sky glaring through the shattered windows, with these bizarre and spooky sounds blaring in my head. The actual real-life experience was nowhere near as freaky as my dream. It wasn’t pleasant, but I guess that experience meant something, since it woke me up in a panic in the middle of the night some 16 years later.

When I got up this morning, I did a quick search to see if I could find any more information on the art installation. I guess Time Magazine did a write-up on it the next year, and I have posted that below:

Beautiful Canyon Home for Rent

April 10, 2012

San Francisco meets Jackson Hole in the heart of Salt Lake City. Located at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, this unique home is like living on an island of wilderness inside the heart of a city. Within a short walk of the new City Creek Center, this quaint cottage is filled with personality and craftsman details.

Stainless appliances and custom built in cabinetry add convenience to any lifestyle. Austrian stairs leading to a cozy loft, vintage brick floors in the dining room, and a clawfoot tub are just a few of the many charming custom characteristics of the home. This home features a pair of bedrooms, bathrooms and patios as well as a single loft, dining room and sauna. Three skylights and south facing bay windows fill your days with sunlight and the location in a tight knit community comes with friendly neighbors, as well.

  • 1800 Square Feet
  • Loft, formal dining and vaulted study
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Pets considered
  • $1,400 per month
  • Located 1.5 blocks from Memory Grove, in the heart of City Creek Canyon, and 2 blocks from the heart of downtown

123 East 4th Ave., SLC, UT.
Travel to intersection of State and N. Temple, head East. East on N. Temple, which turns to 2nd Avenue after State Street. Take immediate left on Canyon Road. Travel North to 3rd Avenue, continue straight. Travel North to 4th Avenue, turn left. Second house on North side of road. Grey with Orange door.

For more information please call or text 801-505-8223, or email

Affordable Westside Farmhouse

September 29, 2011

For this month’s architecture post, ArtDuh visited the affordable west side of Salt Lake City, where urban farming and agriculture is growing like crazy.

We fell in love with a huge (looking) white shingle home. It needs a paint job, but with 3 stories, a quarter-acre yard and a great location, directly across the street from the International Peace Gardens park and skate park, this 1907 home seems like a keeper.

According to Zillow, the home is only 1,480 square feet, but from the outside it looks double that size. It boasts 4 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. Zillow estimates the monthly cost for a 20-year mortgage for the home at $600, at least half the price the home would be if it were on 900 east instead of 900 west.

I’m a little unsure how to describe the architecture of the property, which just looks like an awesome old farmhouse to me. If you know more about the style of the home, please drop me a note or a comment, I’d love to pick your brains.

Human-Eagle-Lion-Bull Hybrid. Attack!

September 18, 2011

Imagine walking through a great hall. A giant chamber lit by fire and torches, filled with sculptures of strange and powerful animals, flanked on all sides by menacing guards and soldiers. Before you finally make it to your king, you are forced to walk between two strange giant stone animals with bodies of a bull, the wings of an eagle, one with the feet of a lion and the other’s are hooves. Both of these giants wear the face of your king.

I have stood next to the nine or ten foot tall sculptures pictured above and, even though the only guards on duty now are old and out of shape, the towering sculptures remain intimidating. They are also very incredible to look at. These sculptures are an interesting mix of realism and stylized pattern. It is easy to get lost in the geometry and decoration of the beard and wings, while at the same time you might find yourself appreciating the artist’s understanding of natural form.

These beautiful Assyrian pieces of art are currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but I want to place them in front of my house as soon as possible. | Human Headed Winged Bull and Winged Lion Lamassu

Springville Art Museum

September 1, 2011

We are making it a full week about the Springville Art Museum by blogging about their beautiful building as well as their quilt show.

The museum was finished in 1937, and was designed by architect Claude Ashworth, in a Spanish Colonial Style. It is home to curving stair cases, terra cotta floors, archways and beautiful doors and windows. Whenever I visit I’m unsure if I’m there to see the quilts, or just the building, which is an old friend from my childhood.

It was dedicated by LDS Apostle David O McKay, who said it was a “sanctuary of beauty and a temple of meditation.” It was originally funded with a partnership between the Works Progress Administration, Nebo School District, City of Springville and the LDS Church. It is now owned by the City of Springville. The high school offered drama and art classes in the museum to lucky students at one time.

The museum is naturally noted for a collection of LDS and pioneer works. They also own a fair-sized Russian collection. Todd and I always check in with the Utah artist’s self portraits on the second floor. Many of the self-portraits reveal a distinct 1970s western fashion sense, along with ornery facial expressions that we make us feel we are acquainted, but don’t particularly like each other.

The Elgin Marbles

August 19, 2011

There are certain Greek sculptures that I consider perfect. They leave me in complete awe, and completely inspired. Of those, the Elgin Marbles are perhaps the most important and controversial.

Around 1800, Lord Elgin removed over half of the sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens and put them on display in London. For people outside of Greece, these were probably the first examples of Greek sculpture they’d seen. But today, one of the main questions behind the Elgin Marbles is whether or not they should stay in London, or be returned back to Athens. Of course, Greece thinks they should be returned, and the British Museum thinks they should remain in London. Honestly, moving the sculptures is probably what helped them to survive as long as they have. But today, hundreds of millions of dollars are going into the reconstruction of the Parthenon. The Elgin Marbles, which used to surround the top of the temple, need to be considered during this restoration.

In ancient times the Parthenon was a powerful national symbol for Greece and, even now, it still is. The Parthenon sculptures portray both Grecian myth and daily life. The inspiration behind these sculptures, and for the building in general, was to achieve perfect proportion, harmony, and balance. The Parthenon itself was a temple dedicated to Athena, and was built on the Acropolis in the center of the city. Originally, in the heart of the temple, was a statue of Athena herself that was made of gold and ivory. Later, the temple became a treasury, used to finance Greek defense against the Persians. Hundreds of years after that it was used as a Christian Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. And still later, a Turkish Mosque. I think it was sometime around 1670 that the Parthenon was used for munitions storage, until one fine day they exploded, causing the majority of the damage to the structure.

Originally, marble sculpture was everywhere, and it was all painted in reds, blues, and gold. These surrounding sculptures portray all sorts of battles. Between gods and giants, centaurs and soldiers, Athenians and Amazons. This isn’t a surprise, because in the ancient world, Athens was constantly at war. The sculptures are relief cut, but almost free-standing. The human figures themselves stand somewhere around 4 feet tall. Most of the surviving statues have been significantly damaged.

I love this artwork. I’m fascinated with these sculptures. The folds and drapery in the clothing, the gestures and posture, the figures and war-horses. So nice! Probably my favorite though are the fight scenes between the centaurs and the humans. There is something nice about seeing a man punching a drunken centaur in the face.

POW! | video

The Wasatch Springs Plunge

August 2, 2011

840 N 300 W, Salt Lake City, UT

Long before white man and calico-wearing white woman crossed the plains to Utah, swimming was a very popular past time in the territory now called the Beehive state. A favorite swimming hole of the native Utahns was the warm springs at what is now 800 N and 300 W. The Mormon pioneers quickly caught on and believed the sulphurous water had healing powers, building several different half-assed structures there. That’s why, in 1921, Cannon and Fetzer (an architecture firm), built a sturdy building, a Spanish Mission-style swimming pool and rec center in the same area called The Wastach Plunge.

The building has stuccoed walls, a red tile roof, curving walls and arches. This style was common in old Catholic missions, and was then adopted in California and slowly spread across the U.S.

In the early 1980s, after other swimming pools became more popular, and the homeless people of SLC adopted the warm springs for themselves, the swimming pool became The Children’s Museum. A handful of years ago, the Children’s Museum moved to the Gateway and left this treasure of a building empty.

I have always loved the building and I hope someday it will be used again. If I had the bucks I would open a yoga studio for homeless pets there – or something like that.

Bank-Owned Castle Needs a Little Love

June 30, 2011

Fire escape and addition

Fire escape and addition

This property needs a little love, but would be worth it considering you could live in one unit, rent out two, and have the whole of Liberty Park as your backyard, as well as a lot of cool neighbors, including artists Dave Borba and Cory Bushman who live in the area.

Based on my field guide, this house appears to my untrained eye to be a Victorian Eclectic home, with several additions, including a cool fire escape. This style became common in American Architecture between 1885 and 1915, and was especially popular in Utah’s Ogden, Provo and Salt Lake City. Many of the homes were built from plans found in low-cost pattern books. The Victorian Eclectic style is irregular (or asymmetrical) in shape and highly decorated.

For more info about this property, which unlike most of the homes we blog about is for sale and bank-owned, visit


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