Thursday, December 27, 2012

Artist Spotlight- Witchdoctor Utu from the Dragon Ritual Drummers

Hello Dear Readers!

 I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season! I am continuing on with my Artist Spotlight series, in which I get a chance to introduce you to folks who took the time out to answer my query’s about how they are inspired to do their art! There is more to come after this as I meet more folks and get contacts of more amazing people! Not to lose the regular focus of this blog, I am currently working on a personal post that will showcase a happening in the nieghbourhood of Old Louisville during Halloween time! Stay tuned!

The beauty of the internet and connectivity is meeting people from all over the world you may never had gotten a chance too, especially if like myself, have spent the last 20 years doing constant gigging. Because of this one doesn’t often get the time to experience other Musicians (unless you are on the same bill at the venue!) but in my time off from the stage, I have managed to get artwork done and research into other Artists and musicians. Previously, my artists have primarily focused on the visual arts, and this entry will be a treat for your ears.

Getting to “chat” with Witchdoctor Utu was a real treat. His world renowned Drumming group The Dragon Ritual Drummers is coming together of different faiths to honour many Spirits from different Tribes from all over the world. Utu himself is from Scotland, where a bulk of my family is from and honours and drums for African and Native American Deities, something that makes my very own Ancestors proud.

I hope to be able to catch one of their ritual drumming performances just for the sheer joy of being able to express my connection to all my Ancestors. Coming from a Dance Background and as a drummer myself, I couldn’t think of a better way to honour them.

Many thanks Witchdoctor Utu!

 Utu from the Dragon Ritual Drummers
How do you describe what you do? 

Our shows are interactive ritual performances, honoring spirits, deities and cultures that we either serve, or have manifested with in our troupe and its magiks.
How do you receive your inspirations? 
Our drum troupe is composed of members from the Niagara Pagan men’s Circle, and many of the members are also part of the Niagara Voodoo Shrine, as well we are the honorary drum guard for the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple, and also serve as Egungun drummers for the Yoruba Royal House of Rebuja and Prince Bamidele. With a fabric like that to draw from, inspiration is a constant flow here; at times we can barely keep up. But while serving in our various guises, we will as a unit realizes that there is a spirit realm or entity that has manifested or favored us, or needs to be honored. Once we see that happen, we try to then compose something in their honor. At times too one of the members could be sharing their personal magik or workings and a light goes off, and again its clear to us all that we need to go in that direction.
When did you first notice your connection to the Spirit World? 
Me personally since childhood. I was raised very eclectic by my mother, and we traveled much when I was a child to exotic locations, and saw early how different tribal peoples viewed religion and their practices. I was always involved in their ceremonies...that and being from Scotland, the spirit world and ancestors are a big part of our culture.
 As for the Dragon Ritual Drummers, the troupe started by workings that the men’s circle was doing, connecting to an indigenous serpent power that was once placated here in Niagara by the mound builders that once inhabited the region. When they were routed by the Iroquois nation, their water serpent of thunder was cast into a negative light by the conquering Iroquois (something they did throughout the Ohio River valley and the north east, their sky god hero would slay a horned serpent and free a maiden). We were connecting with it the horned water dragon, whose mystical lair is beneath Niagara Falls, and discovered how attainable it was, and decided to create some music in his honor, with no real plans other than one offering. It’s been 12 years and we have never looked back. Despite all the other nations of spirits we drum for, the local horned water serpent is our totem, and the deity we take our name from, and all our music and power comes first and foremost from him.
If you feel comfortable, can you share your faith or path with us?
 Half the Dragon Ritual Drummers are members of the Niagara Voodoo Shrine and our home temple in the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple. The other half are occultists with many paths behind them (none of us are young..anymore :))...But as a collective, we serve the local water serpent and his consort; The Maid of the Mist. That’s the foundation that all our spirituality as a collective rests upon. As half our troupe is also born in Europe, we have such a huge eclectic fabric that would be almost hard to define. We discover new spirit worlds all the time based on who are drumming for, whether that be an elder or temple. We serve with our hearts, make the necessary offerings to appease the spirits we are serving, and then ride that relationship as long as we can or has been ordained.
How does this faith/path express itself through your art? 

Every one of our drum songs is an expression of our faith, everyone one of them is homage to a deity or spirit world. Every member of the Dragon Ritual Drummers, past and present, has a custom tattoo in the likeness of our horned serpent. Our way to dedicate ourselves to the entity that made all this possible, a dedication in blood.
How can you be contacted about your work from interested collectors?
 Our web site is the hub for us, with links to all our social media, CDs, itunes and the likes.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Madrina Angelique : Crossroads Mamma!

Madrina Angelique (along with the very talented Denise Alvarado) are one of my teachers for the online school I attend called Crossroads University. ( ) This is where I and other students learn all about Hoodoo, which is to say a working with the roots & herbs, as well as a good dose of history in the American Indian and African American Traditions. With classes that offer caveats such as kits and online chats to go with these classes such as "Indian Spirit Hoodoo-Working with Black Hawk", "The Spiritual Traditions of Marie Laveaux", "Foundations of Southern Rootwork 1-3", Foundation in New Orleans Voodoo 1-3" and "Doll Baby Conjure"  one can get their fill and then find some more to study. Being in a new town and state and away from all that I know I found this community a fulfilling one in continuing my Spiritual Education. (Stay tuned to that website if interested I saw that they are also adding more classes in the future as well!) I found a home in their online community.

I was lucky to win a beautiful raffle created by Madrina of a portable altar for La Santisma Muerte or Holy Death. She is what some call a "Folk Saint" that is a Saint that people recognize and asked for help and prayers, but is not recognized by the Official Catholic Church.

 Madrina Angelique's etsy page is also a great place where I have purchase great quality Red Palm Oil ( a must for folks with Elegua or Eshu residing in their homes) as well as handcrafted Florida Water that smells so amazing (without that alcohol chemical smell some commercial products have), along with the La Santisma Muerte Oil and Water. I have also taken advantage of various specials in readings when I need some outside advice. I found that by doing these by email is especially helpful as I have the reading to refer back to when I need to and it isn't coloured by my own note taking. If you are interested, her contact information is below.

She also makes custom handcrafted Spirit dolls as well as charged Eleguas' that I know he is proud of!
Devotional Doll

Copper Elegua

Madrina Angelique also teams up with Denise Alvarado to write affordable books in which I highly recommend : Crossroads Mamas' 105 Spiritual Baths for Every Occasion   and Workin' in Da Boneyard. both are available on website below. You can find them on Amazon of course but I suggest going to the source or joining the Creole Moon Book club where you get these in downloadable form (a book a month plus weekly exclusive articles for a $6 subscription!)

Madrina Angelique

How do you describe what you do?
I am an initiated Santera and Palera but I think of myself as a Rootwoman. 

How do you receive your inspirations?
I receive many inspirations from nature, the spirit world and people. 

When did you first notice your connection to the Spirit World?
When I was 2 years old. I saw a skeleton dancing back and forth across my doorway with a top hat and cane. I remember getting a spanking for lying when I told everyone about it. It wasn't until years later that I saw Baron Samedi in a book and knew that was who I saw. 

If you feel comfortable, can you share your faith or path with us?
I see myself as eclectic with some tradition. Spirit is always with us, not matter where it comes from. 

How does this faith/path express itself through your art?
It's all I do. I craft for the spirits. I try and let the world see through their eyes. 

How can you be contacted about your work from interested collectors? and

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Nik Seizure: Cute n' Creepy Success!

I met Nik at a Tower Records in the mid 1990’s, the go to place for a job for musicians, artists and those who loved the freedom of the relaxed dress code. Tower was one of my all-time favourite places to work, a haven or an enabler to those of us who collecting toys, magazines and obscure music were a part of our daily life. He was a coworker of my best friend and spiritual muse Heather Oswald in which the 3 of us had many fun adventures. Foggy beaches and cemeteries come to mind. I remember visiting Nik when he lived in Colma, a city just north of San Francisco, that was literally a city of Dead. It boasted more graves then living people and in fact is where most of San Francisco was re-buried when developers moved many of the original cemeteries in the city itself. 

He is funny and fascinating and I am so excited that he took me up on offering his works and words for my blog. I still have all the little wacky and weird gifts he would always bring me when we’d hang out, lunch boxes full of spooky ephemera and vintage findings that still make it into my pieces today. I am over the moon at his success which I find most inspiring, a true story of artistic success that is so rare these days.

How do you describe what you do?
I'm a fulltime artist and illustrator; I've done over 250 shows and have sold over 3,000 pieces of art. My web comic Mosquito and Spider ( was featured in the Cartoon Museum's Monsters of Webcomics show. I also work on movies, I won an audition to be Milla Jovovich's sketch artist for a film called Clocktower and you can see my Scream Serpent in Scream 4. I produce art books, zines and graphic novels ( and am a regular contributor to WordPlayThursday, Save the Bedbugs and Shlocksuckers. I've shown my work everywhere from adult boutiques to the Moss Library in Norway to The Mutter Museum and you can catch me regularly every 3rd Tuesday at Kaleid Gallery's Two Buck Tuesday in Downtown San Jose.  

How do you receive your inspirations?
When I was growing up in the Bay Area I watched a TV show called Creature Features with Bob Wilkins religiously. I was always interested in monsters, dragons and haunted houses and the movies screened on Creature Features only cemented that there was something else. Monsters existed in a broken reality. They were the things that shouldn't be there but they were. And so my inspiration comes from speculating what could be there in the dark. 

When did you first notice your connection to the Spirit World?
My family was never religious so I sought out spirituality, even joined a punk rock church. I knew there was something out there, something undefined but I could never put my finger on it. I was even a tour guide at the Winchester Mystery House just trying to get close to them. There were little omens that came out of gumball machine prizes, there was always a safety net under me in life. There have been so many times I could have been homeless or dead yet after losing everything again and again somehow everything became right. I was very good about making bad decisions but in the end there was always an invisible wall to myself destruction. I studied the new age, quantum physics, and philosophies only to come to the conclusion that I'm no closer to understanding it than anyone else. There are spirits and they speak in subtlety. I've accepted that they're never going to pop out and go "Booga booga!" but I know they're there every time I have a thought hammering at me.  

If you feel comfortable, can you share your faith or path with us?
I think we exist so that god is consciously aware of itself. Imagine if god was glass and we shattered it into a million pieces, each piece is a part of god and the physical world. One of the reasons we're always aware of a spiritual side is because we're enveloped in it. And it's legion. It's peace. It's unfathomable filled with spirits both holding on and letting go of their egos. 

How does this faith/path express itself through your art?
You know those movies about the psychic shouting at the dead, telling them one at a time? In my head, in my soul they're all talking at once and they don't shut up unless I push them all out in canvas, even cartoonish. It's kind of a reluctant symbiotic relationship. I think creativity is the other side trying to get through, even just to say "It's going to be ok" 

How can you be contacted about your work from interested collectors? 

Anything you would like to add that perhaps I forgot?

nope :> 


Nicolas Caesar was the curator and one of the artists for Scream 4. His webcomic Mosquito and Spider was a selection for the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. His work is collected internationally.

Shop now!

Mosquito and Spider - Daily
Danson with Wolves every Friday!

Other places you can get my work:

I thought that painting looked familiar!! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Evelyn Abston- Modern Day Renaissance Woman

I met Evelyn, through my old job and come to think of it, I wrote about her for our company newspaper as well! I remember when I took her photo, she wore my hat and a long appreciation of her positive nature started that day. We showed our artwork together and recognized a kindred soul in the retail world that often lacks it, a beacon of light for those seeking help AND understanding. One of my favourite days at work is when she told me she could see that I was part Fae. I knew then she could see through all the layers of worldliness I had wrapped like a cloak for my own protection and see the bit of my feral soul peeking out.  I found out, that like me she was more of a Da Vinci type. Some folks may know her for one thing, but crack open that notebook and there are 50 other inventions she is working on and will complete. Instead of lamenting about being a super focus Mozart type, she embraces the ability to multitask her artistic expression whether she is putting out a new cd or a series of mixed media artwork. Below our interview, she included the inspirations behind some of her hand chosen pieces. I love to hear the "behind the artwork" stories of the artwork. Thank you Evelyn for sharing your healing light!

Evelyn Abston, Modern Day Renaissance Woman

 How do you describe what you do?
I see myself as a modern day Renaissance Woman. I sing, I play the Guitar, Keyboard and the Bowed Psaltery. I paint with watercolor and acrylics. I create 3D multi-media pieces with Rhinestones, glitter, metallic paints; I am a TV producer that focuses on topics of the care and wellbeing of animals. I also work with Reiki energy and acupressure and I like to utilize all the gifts that God gave to me. I like to create my art with the assistance of my animal and spiritual guides. They always inspire me helped direct me in my art.                  

 How do you receive your inspirations?
My inspiration comes in different forms. Sometimes I will see a shape or a picture that urges me to work with that image as a starting point. For instance, one of the works I have included is titled “Alchemy Woman”. It is a 3D art piece. The female figure is from an actual marketing postcard I liked. When it is time to do another piece, I will feel a tingling sensation on the top of my head and the current runs through my arms. This is the moment I know my guides are gently telling me “it’s time to work”.  Actually I can also phrase it “it’s time to play”. On a side note many times when I am writing the word job, I have a tendency to spell it joy first. I see anything I do as joy. So it is not really a job, it is a joy.

 When did you first notice your connection to the Spirit World?
My family always had experiences with spirits. I would hear stories from my uncle about his visits with friends who made their transition. My Grandmother on my Mother’s side shared with me a story that her father was visited by his friend who came back so he could tell his friend’s son where there was some money hidden. His friend said that his son would have been afraid if he tried to visit him. When I was 8 years old, I was playing outside and happened to see the neighbor’s wife working in her garden. She was perfectly solid. When I relayed that to my Mother, she said I couldn’t have seen her because she had died 2 weeks prior. I had a brother who had died when I was 5 years old. Until the time I was 30 he would visit me in my dreams to see how I was doing. One time when my husband David and I had taken his Grandmother to visit my Grandfather at the cemetery, Laura couldn’t remember where he was buried. I asked Giovanni, David’s Grandfather to help us and he told me telepathically where he was. I know spirits are all around me and it is comforting. I always feel safe.

 If you feel comfortable, can you share your faith or path with us?
My personal cosmology is that we are all connected to each other whether we are in a human body or a spirit body. There is no separation. We may not always be able to hear as clearly to spirit but that is because we have more dense energy that may filter out our communication. I also believe that what thoughts we focus on is what we create in our world. I was having a conversation with a friend at lunch the other day and said that the more we focus on how we want the world to change you will start seeing the changes. If we aren’t seeing the changes as quickly as we would like, it could be because other things still have to take place before the change is here. The spiritual philosophy I follow is called the Science of Mind. This philosophy was founded by Dr. Ernest Holmes. He wanted this philosophy to be offered in the colleges for people to improve our lives. The basic foundation for this philosophy is “Whatever you think about in your mind is what you will produce in your physical life. I know what I am focusing on by what shows up in my life. If I am having challenging experiences I will take a deep breath in then put my hand over my heart and the first question I ask myself, what am I thinking? Then the second question I ask is how do I want my life to feel like? The answer is usually “Joy”, then I will ask myself what does this Joy look like? And my life becomes joyful again

 How does this faith/path express itself through your art?
When I start visualizing the idea of what I want to create, then I will meditate and see how the stream of thought manifests. If I can visualize it, I can create it.

 How can you be contacted about your work from interested collectors?
I do have a website and it is
People can also contact me by email because I don’t have all my art on my website.

Alchemy Woman:
I got the design of the woman from a marketing postcard. It has butterflies, gold hearts, 3D flowers. I love changing the elements from paper, beads, glitter and metal into something new. We can all change our environment’s, lifestyles into what we wish to create; All we have to do is visualized and focus. It manifests.

Moon is one of our 4-legged kids we adopted when we thought she was 2 years old. The Vet said she older than that. We think she is probably about 13 years now. She has the most amazingly, expression olive colored eyes. When we first adopted her, she did not feel comfortable being held or picked up. She was a rescue who stayed in a cage most of her life when we adopted her. We knew that it may take some time to know she was safe with us. We let her find that out for herself. 3 years ago while I was watching TV she jumped on the couch and for as long as she was living with us I said if she wanted to sit on my lap to take a nap that would be fine with me. I had been saying this since she started living with us. This time she moved her head to one side like she was thinking and then started to get on my lap! Since then she will get on my lap and go to sleep. I can also pick her up now and kiss her on the head and I hear her purr.

My 17 year old passed in 2007; His name was Nicholas, but we all called him Nicki. He was special to me because of how he came into my life. I was in my second marriage and we were contemplating adoption. One of the names I picked out if we adopted a boy was Nicholas. I happened to meet Nicholas when I was looking at the cats up for adoption; his name was Nicholas. I didn't see his face because he was huddled in the back of the kennel. When I told my ex about the cat he said, maybe you need to adopt him. I thought that was strange because he didn't really want us to adopt any more cats we already had 2 cats. But I contacted the rescue group and we picked him up a week later. When the lady presented him to me, I was startled. His eyes looked exactly like my other beloved tabby that died of feline aids. I missed my Oscar. He was my buddy, my pal, my quiet counselor. When he died at 5 years old, I never really stopped missing him I remember saying to him. I know you are still here but I’m still seeing you physically. When I saw Nicholas, I knew this was Oscar. He was my gift.

Woman Buddah:
This painting came to me when I was visualizing colors. I love the oranges and reds they denote Creativity and the spark of life. I added rhinestones to bring out the radiance. She holds the key to abundance and wisdom. When I need inspiration I can look at her and the stream of creative consciousness starts flowing.

The Multi-Colored SunFlower:
A wonderful friend was having a health challenge with the cells in his body changing. I designed the Sunflower with healing colors. I always see the sunflower as a symbol of wholeness. Later I found out this was his favorite flower and he hung it over his bed. In the painting I had added black tourmaline, selenite and blue kyanite. To activate the healing energies, I performed a healing ceremony with my guides and my friend’s guides. 

The Pink Sun:
I had a business acquaintance that was having a heart challenge. I created this 3D wellness card and blessed it with the healing energy of joy and love. The sun was a watercolor design I layers.

The Blue Cup:
I love creating coffee cups whether I am doodling, painting or putting them into my 3D art projects. Coffee to me is a symbol of creative stimulation, abundance, warmth, coziness. I have to admit when i was younger I didn't like the taste of coffee. When I turned 20 I thought drinking coffee would denote adulthood so I learned to like it. My favorite coffee is Peets Major Dickason.