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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Axacon or Bust

So - I get a surprise invite to be a Panel Speaker at the Axacon convention in November in Atlanta. It came out of left field and I am wanting so bad to go. You may ask "What is Axacon?" Well, it is the official convention for Star Trek Axanar - a fan production movie that is being produced. It has been in the works over the past 3 years. It would have been done by now accept for the court issues they had to deal with with CBS and Paramount. All that is past now and the ball is rolling towards the finish line.

All that was to give an intro into why I was invited. You see, I have been following them from the beginning and in an effort to help them raise money to get the project done I had created artwork for them as well as doing some writing to fill in some of the story gaps. I have talked about Axanar and my work here in my blog in the past but now it is building up.

The rub of all this is I need to arrange my flight there and back and some expense money. What with the move my wife and I are making to new home I am tapped out for a while. So, I have created a GoFundMe Campaign to solicit help to raise this money. The Link is below. As Incentive to help I am also offering a print on demand Axanar TShirt. It will have my logo on the front and a Battle Campaign patch design I did of one of the ships involved in the Battle of Axanar - The USS Tecumseh. For the GoFundMe any amount will help. And if anyone wishes to help directly (to skip the fees associated with GoFundMe) please contact me at the email listed at the top of my blog. If you want to purchase one of the TShirts the cost is $25 plus shipping. Again, for the shirt contact me directly through the above mentioned email. the TShirts are Gildand 5000, a durable and soft shirt in Unisex sizes adult small to 5x.

While the invite to be a panel speaker is cool it is the other opportunities that I want to jump on. This will be an chance to meet and network with a VERY group of potential customers as well as a chance to visit with family that live there and to celebrate my birthday (that weekend) and my wife and I's Anniversary (the next weekend).

I will include here the link to the GoFundMe page as well as the Youtube link to what has been produced so far of the Axanar film

Prelude to Axanar


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

All Gave Some

Recently, during my packing to move to a new apartment I have run across some material I had written several years ago that led to other projects. The Image above is one example of a thought (blog) that led to another. I re-post this one to give a look at my thought process.


Being a cold war soldier, during a relatively peaceful time meant, to some extent, a very boring career.  When I first joined up I thought the ARMY was going to be exiting. But, settling into permanent duty it dawned on me that is was just a job. Granted, a potentially fatal job, but still, a job. For four months at the 24th Infantry as a supply clerk, that is all it was. Into my 5th month of drudgery most of the base suddenly went on alert. It was 2nd battalions turn for training, my battalion.  The battalion commander pitted two of our company's against the other two. That was actually fun, however a few days after leaving the field an aviation units was out practicing night excercises. At some point an Apache collided with a Chinook, both falling in the woods at the back of the base.

That night my company was called out to cordon off the area. In the darkness I couldn't make out much accept for the fires that were already being put out. For the entire night we watched as an engineer unit cleared a path, setup generators and floodlights allowing the medics to do their somber task. Investigators from CID came in to pick through the site till the civilian ones from the FAA showed up. As I think back to that night I vividly remember the number of dead was around 20. The gunship had clipped the chinook full of soldiers. No one survived.
As dawn broke we moved our perimeter out to the main road to keep the media away as the dead were being brought out. It was somber work that rocked me to the core. Strangely, though it also gave a better understanding of my job. Yes, I was a supply clerk, but I was also a soldier in the U.S. Army. My job was lowly yet at the same time I was a part of an organization who's job was to protect my country. Some day could find me dead defending it. It gave me a sense of purpose even in being a clerk.

All these years later (2001) as I sit watching the news about the war on terrorism and all those deaths I am reminded of those ceremonies I attended for those lost in that crash. A shiver runs through me thinking about the horrible task ahead. Nothing moved me more then standing there saluting those boots, rifles and helmets I did back in 1987. 

Those 20 and now 4 more. Recently, at the beginning of this war I worked at the Colorado Springs airport for the TSA. One night, near the end of my shift about 20 MP's arrived in several Humvee's and a truck. A couple of them hung around my station and we soon learned they were there to escort the first four soldiers form Ft Carson to die in Afghanistan. By the end of my shift the plane was still coming in for a landing. As I walked to the employee parking lot I could see them unloading the coffins. Knowing they would be passing I decided to stop and wait for them to pass by. It was pouring rain (figures) and I did not care. As the caravan pulled out to the road by the lot I snapped to attention and saluted till they had passed. It was 11:15pm. When I turned to walk to my van I noticed two others on the road doing the same. A policeman and an airport flight line worker. 

That night I reflected on the fact that there would be too many more of these men and women honored in this manner for the foreseeable future. I thought I have to honor these warriors the only way I could. So I created the Soldiers Memorial illustration from the first soldiers at Ft. Carson to have a military funeral.


I have since taken the Soldiers Memorial and added the split serpent and the Phrase "All Gave Some Gave All." I have put this image on a T-shirt and now it will be on Display at the "Burning Man" Art Show called "Camp HellnBack" this July. A show of artwork created by veterans. We are still fighting Terror and I do not see it ending any time soon. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

To Honor Restrepo

   Many years ago I had enlisted in the US Army (1985) to eventually become a combat artist. Well, that never came to pass and I do thank God at times that I did not. But, sometimes it does nip at me that I didn't.
   So I have chipped away at the edges producing artwork for persons who have been in service using snap shots and such. I can live vicariously through those photos because I can understand what is happening in those images because of the time I DID spend in uniform. Granted, I served during peace time so nothing much happened, but I can empathize with them.
   Not long ago I ran across a Documentary about a unit stationed in Afganistan. It was titled "Restrepo". It is the name of a FOB(Forward Operating Base) in the mountains. The Base was named for the first soldier that died there where the base was later built. As I watched I was able to identify with them and their sometimes boring and other times frantic life the year they spent there.

   Watching them do their job and slowly build up their mountain top home reminded me of all the times I went to the field and we all did what we could to make our tiny corner of the world we lived in as personal as possible. Every serviceman I have ever met has done the same. We were placed in some pretty inhospitable places and we took to the job at hand with gusto, because it meant we stood a chance of getting out of those hell holes if we did. However, at the same time, going through those hard times meant we needed, even in that hell hole, some place to try to be normal - to unwind. 

   It did not always work, but we tried just the same. As I watched this movie I laughed at their stupid and sometimes extremely vulgar jokes. The tension was there and it took extremes sometimes break from the tension of their jobs. When they went on patrols I grew anxious as they watched every movement for miles around trying to anticipate all the enemies moves. And when a fire fight broke out my heart raced with theirs as the boring, constant training kicked in and they fought back with TOTAL commitment to ending the fight as quickly as it started. 

   As I watched all this I realized I needed to recreate several of the scenes to honor the Veterans that have been fighting this war on terror now going on 18 years with no end in sight yet. Many of these men and woman have been injured and not not just physically. We will have the emotional scars of this fight to deal with for many years to come. These are just 3 of the several images I will be creating from this movie.