The Uncanny X-Men

May 25, 2014 by

XMen111

When I was a kid the Uncanny X-Men were my thing. I remember reading one of their comics for the first time, I musta been at around age ten. A friend had a copy of X-Men 111 (I just looked it up). Written by Chris Clairmont and penciled by John Byrne, the X-Men were trapped by Magneto in some big top circus. I thought it was the absolute coolest.

Colossus was my favorite, and if I could have picked any superpower back then it would have been the ability to change my flesh into indestructible steel. I don’t know if that would still be my first choice, but I wouldn’t mind having that super-power today. Wolverine was a close second, of course, but yeah Colossus ruled. And together, their fastball special would warm my nerd heard. Really, the whole team was great (except maybe Cyclops. I always thought he was kind of a weenie. But even he had his place, you betcha! Zapping people with his eyeballs!).

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I followed their comic through Junior High and into High School, which is when my interest in comics in general started to wane. I still loved em, but was just busy with other stuff I guess, plus I was always broke haha. I’ll be honest, the X-Men did kind of wear me down at the time too though. Even though some great characters like Apocalypse and Cable were introduced around the same time and in these alternate history story-lines, there just started to be too many of those alternate histories, with too many of Jean Grey and Scott Summer’s children coming back from the future (or past!) to the present to set things right. I mean, I love that sci-fi stuff… but in moderation. I clung on to them for as long as I could, but by the time I went to college and they were trying to get me to buy all their metal foil covers, I was out. I pretty much quit buying comics for over ten years.

But I have always had a soft spot for the X-Men.

Back in maybe ’04 or so I came across Grant Morrison‘s “New X-Men” for sale and I decided to pick it up. Illustrated by Frank Quiety, I guess these issues kind of got me back in. Not as fanatically as I was when I was a kid, but I did read more of the series, along with related titles like X-Force. So damn good. I’ve gone backward and forward in time since then to get caught up.

Anyway, I am writing about the X-Men because the new X-Men: Days of Future Past came out this weekend and I just saw it earlier. Great movie, and brought back very fond memories!

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Artwork for HawkWatch International

May 18, 2014 by

hawkwatch2014

Last year HawkWatch International used some of my artwork to promote their annual event, “Wings Across the West“. I also made a poster for HawkWatch using my artwork. Well, this year they asked me if I could make another piece, and you can see that new piece above. Any opportunity to draw a beautiful bird is a good opportunity, especially if it helps promote raptor preservation.

hawkwatch.org

Let’s Rap With Cap About Conspiracy!

May 11, 2014 by

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First off, I should say this post has spoilers for the new Captain America movie, so quit reading if ya don’t like that sort of thing. Second, this post contains a number of “real life” conspiracy theories that were addressed in the new Captain America movie, so quit reading if ya don’t like that sort of thing.

The new Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an entertaining movie, which is the most important thing in the end. Its just a movie. A superhero movie. But I’m kinda partial to superhero flicks. Turns out, this has easily become a favorite.

In addition to it being a great film though, I saw a whole lot of what many people believe to be real-life conspiracies being played out on the screen. I don’t necessarily buy into all of the good old conspiracy theory stuff, but I don’t dismiss out of hand either. At the very least, I think it is important to stay informed and be able to see the issues from multiple angles. And its plain to see that there is a whole lot of bullshit going on in the world now.

Anyway, seeing these conspiracies play out on the screen was kind of like a slap in the face the first time I saw the movie. When I saw it again, I decided I’d write about it.

The main plot has Hydra infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. and that is a good place to start. In Marvel Comics, Hydra begins as an arm (or hydra-head) of the Nazi party during WWII. Hydra begins to take on a life of its own over time, but it has its roots with the Nazi. In the movie, Hydra infiltrates S.H.I.E.L.D. through coercion and deception in order to take over the US government. Okay, so that is Marvel’s history. In our real world, it could be said that something similar has been going down.

Its well established that during his rise to power, Hitler got a huge bulk of his funding from many American corporations and banks. It is a historical fact that some of these corporations were involved with eugenics research, gave money, support, provided raw materials and weaponry to the Nazi party and Hitler. A side note, but it also well established that George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush (former President George W. Bush Sr.’s grandpappy and father, dis-respectively) helped Hitler rise to power. Another side note, it is also known that Prescott Bush helped plan a government coup in 1933 meant to topple President Franklin D. Rossevelt, because Bush believed that fascist policy would get America through the Great Depression.

Fast forward a little bit. In the movie, after the end of WWII, a number of Nazi scientists were brought over to America where they were allowed to continue their research. Well, in the really-real world this also happened. Hundreds of Nazi scientists were brought over to work with the American military under Operation Paperclip. Many of those (former? current?) Nazis rose to positions of power in our own government, probably most the famous being Wernher von Braun, who went on to become a director of NASA. I’ll leave it to you to imagine how deep their influence went.

Alrighty, back to the movie where S.H.I.E.L.D. is run by a world council which decides the fate of nations. Well, that looked a lot to me like the much anticipated New World Order back here in our world. Or maybe the Bilderberg Group? Actually, the whole Captain America movie seemed to be a story about how the New World Order might rise to power.

I’m kind of skipping around, but back to the movie and how it begins. Cap and a bunch of agents are sent to free hostages and recover stolen data from a hijacked warship. As the film progresses they discover that the kidnappings were part of a government sanctioned operation. Back in our world these are known as False Flag operations, and there are many people who believe our government uses these False Flag operations to manipulate the People into giving away their freedom. This is, to my mind, where you have to tread very lightly and keep a healthy dose of skepticism.

I personally am not one of those people who buy into “9/11 was an inside job” hook line and sinker, but there are many people who do, and it is easy to understand why. There are so many unanswered questions and things that were covered up. Whatever you think about the tragedy, its plain to see that our world is completely different since that infamous date. Unending wars against an undefined enemy, post-traumatic national fear (there is a terrorist under your bed!), the self-proclaimed “Patriot” Act, economic collapse (in spite of what we’ve been told, we can’t afford all of this war. Can’t afford it financially or morally), Citizens United, government surveillance… and on… and on.

That paragraph above reminds me of Arnim Zola‘s point about how we have traded in our freedom for security, comfort and convenience. Sounds about right to me.

Speaking of Zola and government surveillance, didn’t Arnim Zola’s monitoring of American citizens in the film sound very similar to what Edward Snowden revealed about our own government?

And didn’t those new S.H.I.E.L.D / Hydra helicarriers sound an awful lot like government drones? Granted, they were fancy drones, but their function was the same. That is, anonymous death. Killing people from the sky.

I thought this might be a long post, but this has gotten L.O.N.G.

Another observation about the Winter Soldier himself. Didn’t his conditioning sound a lot like CIA sponsored MKUltra? Oh yeah, George Bush Sr. was a CIA Director. Haha, go figure.

One last thing… We should all remember what Italian fascist Mussolini said: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” Sound familiar, ehh? I guess Mussolini would know. With government bailouts, the Fed, Corporate Personhood, Citizens United, and many of our new policies written down by lawyers on little scraps of paper stink of fascism. Its plain to see that corporate interest and big finance trump the People pretty much every time. Can you say “Hail HYDRA”?

Anyway, it is great to be a skeptic. And I am skeptical about conspiracy :) Very much so. But its also good to remember, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you!”

Geek Out!

The Vegetative Universe

May 4, 2014 by

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A quick post today, with some words that keep rolling around in my head. An excerpt from William Blake‘s poem Milton:

The Vegetative Universe, opens like a flower from the Earths center:
In which is Eternity. It expands in Stars to the Mundane Shell
And there it meets Eternity again, both within and without

Beautiful Canyon Home For Rent

May 2, 2014 by

CityCreek

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
  • $1,600 per month
  • Located 1.5 blocks from Memory Grove, in the heart of City Creek Canyon, and 2 blocks from the heart of downtown

This utterly unique Memory Grove home will be available June 1, 2014

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 artduh@gmail.com.

Thoth

April 27, 2014 by

Hierophant-Crowley

crowley-ace_largeI don’t have a whole lot more to say about tarot here on ArtDuh for now, except the Thoth deck is mindbogglingly beautiful! Created my Alister Crowley (spooky! haha) and illustrated by artist Frieda Harris. These images and symbols are very rich and meaningful, and the way Harris has portrayed them is pretty much perfect.

Like I say, I don’t have a whole lot more to add about oracles, but I do want to post and look at these beautiful pictures!

adb655bf1709753f2bd754bc56e11815I’m no expert by any means, but a quick note about Crowley. I know that he has a questionable reputation with a lot of people. Its understandable, I guess, since he was so unconventional. Even though I do think he was brilliant, I won’t even try to defend him. Not my place and he did a lot of shocking things. Plus, I don’t claim to relate to or like everything he said and did (although this Thoth deck is one of the things he did very well!). I’ve come to understand that a lot of the things that were so “controversial” are, most lot of the time, just theatrics (but not always, to be sure). He had many profound insights, but I kind of think of him as a performer to some degree. He liked the public eye and played to that as well.

lustaAlso, about Thoth… an amazing historical teacher. Considered to be the one who taught the Egyptians magic, science, and how to write, he is also thought to be the author of the Emerald Tablet. He is also often associated with the Greco-Roman god Hermes/Mercury, the messenger of the gods. It is also accepted by a number of people that Thoth and thrice great Hermes Trismegistus are one and the same person. I have even read before that Thoth and the biblical Enoch were probably the same person too. Thoth has a very rich history, which make for extremely powerful symbols.

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QueenOfDisks

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Prince-of-Swords

universe

Wildwood

April 19, 2014 by

ww_shamanWWT-III have a very strong interest in oracles and omens and I think if we can keep our eyes open, we’ll realize they are everywhere. I know, in this modern world that isn’t very well received, but I don’t care. If I come across a certain animal, bird, tree or rock… well, sometimes those encounters have very deep significance for me, even if I can’t explain why at the time. The synchronicities of everyday life, knowledge gained, an action, a conversation or casual comments… these everyday things can really fire my imagination at the very least. This is a pretty amazing place!

It is hard to put into words, but I feel a deeply spiritual connection between myself and pretty much everything else I share this world with. And even beyond this world. Even though I love science very very much, I instinctively feel like we share connections with each other and the rest of nature that science cannot easily measure. I’m probably starting to sound pretty woo-woo, and I usually try to avoid that at all costs, but I guess I also feel like I’ve got to explain so I can also understand…

pageofarrowswrenI have a very strong interest in and am amazed by divination. I think, if you’re open to it, divinatory systems can give glimpses into our shared physical, mental and spiritual connections. Ancient books like the I Ching are, quite simply, beautiful to me. The history behind the Sibyl and other prophets fascinate me. But on a personal level, what I relate to the most would be the Tarot. As an artist, my eyeballs devour this world, and then I express my thoughts and feelings about it visually through symbols. I find the artwork and symbolism on some tarot decks to be extremely powerful and moving. Its goal is to represent visually the different aspects and experiences we all go through, symbolically, on separate individual cards. Even if you’re not all that open to these symbols as a divinatory system, I think all of us can learn by examining them. Maybe it’ll help at first to think of the pictures as a very complex Rorschach test. Check it out, see what ya see.

KingBowsI don’t have many decks by any means, but if I see one I like, I will pick it up. My personal favorite deck is my Wildwood Tarot. There is something about its primal and animal characters that speak directly to me. With beings like the Green Man, the Ancestor, or the Son of Life running through the deck, how could it not?

As if this post wasn’t already long enough, I have a little side-tangent I’d like to explore.

I don’t know why, but it seems like most of my life I have been drawn to stone-age and bronze-age mythology and magic(k). Not that I practice it really, I don’t think of myself as a pagan or Wiccan, but maybe I lean that way a little bit. I suppose maybe the biggest reason I am drawn to the Wildwood is because it portrays that primitive and primal mythology instead of a medieval court (like many other tarot deck do).

WTT-7SI’ve explored a lot of different religious beliefs. I am very drawn to Hinduism especially, but what I relate to most are the ideas of ancient (i.e. pagan simple country folk) Europe. Nature is magic to me, and spirits move through it. Animals are my friends and trees and rivers whisper secrets. I’ve felt this way for a very long time. The wind cries Mary. I like the city and technology quite a lot too and, even though in a lot of ways it is now, I don’t think it needs to be incongruent with the natural world. Its all a part of Nature I guess. When I was younger running around under starry-skies and tree canopies I used to think to myself that modern man simply cannot relate to ancient customs and thought. Even though I felt a longing for them in my heart, I also felt like an outsider to those customs. I thought the animal in us had died. I think I was right, to some degree. We have changed. But I have come to see more and more that we are all still a part of Nature, and she has evolved with us, and (hopefully) we with Her. These ancient symbols and beliefs still have relevance, and returning to respecting Nature, trying to understand Her language and symbols (and also our own symbols at the same time) are perhaps some of the only things that makes any sense to me anymore. Not that we need to go live in caves, but we need to realize we are a part (not apart) of Nature too and respect that.

thewildwoodtarot.com

I should mention that the Wildwood Tarot was created by John Matthews, Mark Ryan, and illustrated by Will Worthington. Great job fellas!

WWT-IV

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5 The Ancestor

 

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… And More New Drawings

April 13, 2014 by

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Dragon Dancing

Crowd of People

Crowd of People

Here are a couple of additional new drawings I just finished. Really only one piece, a diptych, over two pages.

Jan van Eyck’s Last Judgement

April 6, 2014 by

Jan_van_Eyck_-_Diptych_-_WGA07587

I’ve been looking at a lot of old religious artwork lately, and have been enjoying the work of Jan van Eyck especially. One piece in particular stands out, and that is his Last Judgement, pictured above. This incredible piece is really a part of a diptych, made up of two panels, called Crucifixion and Last Judgement. The truth is, it is the Archangel Michael in the middle of the Last Judgement that I just keep looking at (I just realized that I wrote about another painting of Michael not too long ago. So there ya go). With his peacock wings filled with eyeballs, holding hell at bay with his shield and sword. Pretty sweet!

"Last Judgement" detail

“Last Judgement” detail

New Drawings

March 30, 2014 by

"Taurus" - by Todd Powelson

“Taurus” – by Todd Powelson

"Leo" - by Todd Powelson

“Leo” – by Todd Powelson

This last week or two I’ve been doing some drawing, and here is what I’ve come up with. I often just let the drawings kind of reveal themselves to me as I go along, and with these four pieces I started drawing and pretty soon I saw the bull, so I went with it. Then a lion started to appear, so I let that one come on out too. Then I knew what I was drawing, although I wasn’t completely sure why.

The bull, lion, eagle and man often represent the fixed signs of the astrological zodiac… but more than that too. They are also the four different faces of the angelic cherubim, one of whom was the angel who kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden and stands guard over the Tree of Knowledge with his flaming sword. Also, in Christianity, these four animals also represent the Four Evangelists. Thats what came out of my pen this week, although I can’t really say why. I guess I do love symbols, and these are ancient and powerful. Think the three different traditions and their usage of these symbols are connected? I’m pretty sure they are somehow :)

"Scorpio" - by Todd Powelson

“Scorpio” – by Todd Powelson

"Aquarius" - by Todd Powelson

“Aquarius” – by Todd Powelson


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