Monday, July 7, 2014

Deer Headed Shaman design (a backstage look)

Before moving to northern Arizona, I spent a lot of time venturing into the area for recreation.  On one adventure, I noticed a metal sculpture of a deer headed man at a gas station in Flagstaff.  After that, the image seemed to jump out at me every time I came to the area.
  Since moving northward from Phoenix, I have seen this fellow quite a lot.  Finally, while visiting a gem shop in Cottonwood, Cristina inquired about one of the metal sculptures of the deer headed man with the shop owners.  They explained that he is a shaman and that is why you will always see him with a medicine bag around his neck.  
  After doing some research, I found that this particular motif of shamanism has been common around the world since ancient times; mostly occurring within tribes of people who, not surprisingly, sustain themselves by deer hunting.  This is yet another example of the curious connection between cultures with supposedly no contact and separated by oceans yet doing the same things... 
  I decided to create my own hand drawn version of this character for a t shirt design.  Here is a sneak peek at the finished product:

Below are the various stages of the creative process through completion...

I began with a reference image and found this one to suit my needs nicely.  I like the look of this deer and the 3/4 turn on his head will work well for a drawing.

I like to work with a .5 mechanical pencil for most all of my drawings before inking.
I begin with the deer head since it is the main focus of the piece.

  As I began to work on the body, I decided to give him a staff to aid him in his magical endeavors...
You can see that I started out giving him two of them but thought better of it.

I then added more detail with the fire resulting from his conjuring, the essential medicine bag, and lots of folds in his rough robe.

Once satisfied with my pencil sketch, it was time to do the inking.  For this I use a waterproof india ink and calligraphy pen. 

The final stage was done by scanning the drawing at a high resolution and adding some cool tribal elements to create a background to make my shaman stand out.

Get the shirt here:
Ladies' Deer Shaman Tee
Men's Deer Shaman Tee

 Click to go to Etsy Product listing Click to go to the Etsy Listing

Thanks for visiting!  Be sure to follow the Closet of Mysteries Blog for the latest and greatest in magical, mystical, etherial, and always mysterious happenings from the shop.
- Scott

Monday, June 30, 2014

Gardening projects around the Closet

In Between printing shirts, designing shirts, and chasing children, we are learning how to grow a lot of plants.  It is our goal to one day know enough about growing to sustain ourselves, but we have much to learn... you have to start somewhere.  Here is what we are up to...

Some organic garlic from the grocery store sprouted so we just went with it...

Some house plants and a Buddha

Purple Nightshade grows all over the place around here.

The Prickly Pair from the front yard has yellow flowers

A collection of herbs and veggies...

a young pedro forrest...

Steel trough is now an herb garden.

the Barndywine before she went outside...

Growing green onions from green onions.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Closet of Mysteries inside look at the new shop

The Closet of Mysteries has a new home in the Verde Valley of "northern" Arizona (It's actually the middle of the state but we call anything north of Phoenix "northern" AZ).  I have set up my screen shop in a shed behind our little house.  This is our phase two in a three part plan to live an independent and sustainable life "off of the grid".  I will explain more about that in later entries.  For this phase, Cristina and I have rented an inexpensive, small place where we can print shirts and grow plants to work towards our goal of building our own sustainable community.
It has been nearly a month since we moved and we had almost no time to get settled before work's demand required us to be production ready.  The first couple of weeks were a flurry of unpacking and printing shirts but now we have a lot less unpacking occupying the days.  Life is never slow enough to say things have settled down, but we will call them settled down for convenience sake.  I found some time to take some pictures while printing in my new shop.
We have started a bunch of seeds and I will share about those next time...
This is my shop! 
The screens are made with UV sensitive material so here is some of my very state of the art cardboard construction employed to protect unexposed screens.
I only use the most environmentally friendly professional water based screen printing inks.  The Gen IV are awesome. 

The painting in the background is a copy of a Francis Bacon painting that I did for a painting class at ASU (a long time ago).  The thing is huge but I always have found it a home.  I am going to hang it up later... 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

13 of the creepiest old Halloween pictures I could find

With Halloween approaching, I thought it would be fun to share some of these creepy old photos that I found around ye olde internet.  Most of you probably know that the tradition of Halloween as we know it goes back quite a ways into our history.  The Catholics adapted the Pagan traditions somewhere around 800 A.D. and ever since then, the europeans and their descendants have been adorning masks and coercing treats from their neighbors with threats of tricks.  Compared to the costumes from generations past, today's seem quite mild.  If one of these showed up at the door today, most people would sit quietly behind their peep hole hoping to whatever power they subscribe to that the thing would go away and quickly...

I think this guy is a side of beef...?

How could I not include a creepy gnome and a pair of amanita muscaria?  Not the scariest, but certainly my favorite....
There you have it!  Taking a DIY approach to Halloween costumes could prove far more effective in scaring off the evil spirits than buying some injection molded plastic outfit from the super stores... Happy hauntings!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Celebrating the Autumn Equinox and Ancient Cultures

Today is the Autumn (Fall) Equinox.  On this day, the sun passes over the Equator and the day and night are of equal length.  This is a time when, in the northern hemisphere, the night becomes longer than the day and the seasons are dominated by the moon rather than the sun.  Of course, the opposite is true for the southern hemisphere as their summer begins.

Throughout history, cultures around the world have celebrated this crossing through many traditions and holidays.  It is curious to note that the cultural practices around the world bare striking similarities to one another.  One most notable way should, which should not be overlooked, is the building of colossal stone structures that align to the sun marking this important date.  Main stream historians dismiss this as some sort of coincidence which, when considering the evidence, is truly absurd.

On the equinoxes, if we could travel all around the world, we would be able to see this incredible feat of astrological engineering working its magic at hundreds of ancient stone sites.  One of the most famous is, Angkor in Cambodia where the sun rises along side the main pyramid spire and gracefully sits atop the tower.  Teotihuacan, In Mexico is another pyramid site at which the setting sun “touches” the top of the giant stone structure as it sets on the Equinox.  A lesser known structure is in Connecticut in the US called Equinox Calendar Chamber at Gungywamp.  This site is home to what is known as the American Stonehenge and on this day, the setting sun will create a beam of light through a tiny window of the ancient stone chamber and illuminate a calendar wall.  Other equinox alligned sites include: Chichin Itza in Mexico, Loughcrew in Ireland, The Sphinx and Great Pyramid in Egypt, and Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.  There are too many to list here but I encourage you to research these sites on your own.

Loughcrew, Ireland
It is clear that ancient people all over the globe found it greatly important to mark the changes of seasons.  We would be a bit naive to think that this practice was due to the need to keep track of planting seasons since many of the structures predate agriculture.  Rather, the ancients believed that there was a spiritual significance to the connection of humans to the celestial.  The transition of the daytime dominated season which brings life and growth into the nighttime dominated one which brings about death and rest, marks the part of the cycle which makes life on this planet possible.  It also represents the spiritual path of the soul.  It is through the cycle of birth, growth, and death, that rebirth can bring our spirits closer to enlightenment.  

I live in the low desert of Arizona which means, for me, this is a time where life can begin again.  Here the sun brings death to my plants and the heat of the endless summer keeps me hidden indoors.  As the rest of the hemisphere begins a decent into winter, we desert folk can return to the outdoors and enjoy a mild winter which I will spend growing food, hiking, biking, and camping.  To celebrate this occasion, I am going offering a special price of $15 on my "Year Wheel" T shirts in the Closet of Mysteries Etsy store until SEPT 27th!  Happy Mabon!

Ladies' "Year Wheel" t shirt
Men's "Year Wheel" t shirt

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Design for Higher Consciousness

I tend to draw influence from a lot of ideas when it comes to designing a print for a shirt.  In the case of my "Schaubirdcageshroom" t shirt, this is certainly no exception.  This design was created to bring together empowering ideas for higher human consciousness.

I refer to the work of Viktor Schauberger because he proposed ways of creating energy that are non-destructive.  The lotus flower mandala is a symbol of eastern religious practices at which meditation is the center of conscious development.  The birdcage is a container in which people hold something precious caught from the wild - in this case, the magic mushroom which is a powerful tool of self-realization.

When we open our eyes, we can break free of what we are taught by culture and find our true purpose through higher consciousness.  We are, after all, human, not robot.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rupert Sheldrake - The Science Delusion BANNED TED TALK

What we have been told is scientifically concrete, like so many other topics, really doesn't seem to be the case when put under scrutiny.  In this banned TED talk, Mr. Sheldrake gives an overview of some of the reasons he feels that the science that wraps everything up into neat, explainable little packages is insufficient to explain what is observable in the universe.
TED is has been practicing a lot of censorship of speakers with whom they do not agree with based on ideas that challenge modern dogma.  This, to me, really limits their credibility as a reliable source for information.  By sticking to the status quo, they refuse to break any new ground but, rather, just commit to churning out old and often mistaken concepts.  But hey, who wants to learn anything new anyway, right?