Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

This is a current list of my top ten Second Life places to take pictures. Slurls are attached to the names of each place. Each description also contains a link to a picture I have taken of it previously on my own stream, feel free to click through to get a feel for the place. Also consider dropping in donations to the tip boxes on site, or to the land owners directly, to keep these places alive 🙂

Here they are, in no particular order:

(1) Chakryn Forest: Any list without this place would be incomplete. One of the most popular places on this list too (the popularity was no doubt boosted when Torley Linden decided to use it in a recent tutorial.) It is an amazing forest, with little (and big) wonders hidden all over the place – you should be prepared to wander around to find the best it has to offer. There are existing pose-balls but you can also rez whatever you might need there for your shot, so make the most of it. Suits tranquil or magical shots in particular. I’ve written a  previous post specifically about this place as well.

(2) Zero Style: One of those places that almost any lighting and angle will create amazing and memorable pictures. It has more than one attraction on site but the one you’ll come across most often in others’ pictures is the house in the field. Thankfully it’s not too popular just yet and even when people are hanging about you can usually avoid them appearing in your shot due to the long grasses. This is the one other place on the list that I’ve also done a previous post about.

(3) The Far Away: One of the most well-known picture locations of Second Life – seen people on a train-top, or standing in an endless field of wheat? That’s this place. Even my current header picture of this blog is shot there. This place is hardly ever empty, expect to have to come back a few times before you’ll get the chance to shoot yourself on the train (right click sit on the train will put you in the train-top pose). There are other special options here though too – the flying through the wind-mill (pose ball in its lower ruts), and the desk set-up off to the side with the flapping plastic bag caught in the barbed wire. Even though your background is provided for you here, lighting will still very greatly effect the end image, so remember to experiment.

(4) The Nameless Isle: Beautiful eerie place, with the generous option of being able to rez on site. To get the most out of this place you’ll need to fly to the base circling the island, look for the glow and have a good wander around the coves and whirlpool areas. Quite a magical place that will effect your mood. Dark and beautiful. I often find there’s people in the way of the shots I want to take here though due to its popularity, so take your patience with you 🙂

(5) Silvanus Forest: Sister forest to Chakryn forest. Lesser known and used (in my experience of going to both), but still quite popular. Particularly noteworthy for a giant statue of a “knight”, and an amazing waterfall area with a very special tree beside it. Explore around that waterfall area to find the hidden cavern which is also lovely. Quite good for fantasy-style shots. Overall has a similar feel and beauty to it as Chakryn does. Ability to rez here too.

(6) Templum Ex Obscurum: Be prepared to investigate little nooks and crannies to get the most out of this place. You’ll need to get into the heart of the underground temple to get the best shots. Lovely use of light, and a sense of fantasy and forgotten places. Explore the rest of the island to find other good potential shots too – like the light-bushes, and well placed trees on cliff edges.

(7) Rez: Another place you’ve no doubt seen pictures of: The train tracks that run through water, the broken bridge, and the ruined house (also sunk in water). My recent experiences here have been unfortunate ones – of people leaving behind items that griefed me, and an oddly increasing number of men going there to pick women up, which manages to ruin the special tranquil and lost feel of the place. Even as I write this from the location someone is begging me to give them lindens to buy something, and won’t leave me alone even when I said no (ending in a tirade of verbal abuse in IM after I left the sim, great). Besides that growing down-side though, still worth a visit. The picture for Rez is attached to this post, but here’s a link to the original location on my stream too.

(8) Error: One of my new favourite places. Good for dead / deserted shots. Beautiful islands even from a distance. Lovely locations across the sim, including bridges and piers. The owner is often on site and is very friendly, so remember to thank him for his amazing creation!

(9) Kowloon: Fantastic for street and city shots. Lots of good alley-ways and roof top locations. Dark, dirty, real. Have a good scout around to make the most of it, but be mindful of the fact that some people live on the sim too – I’ve received the “private residence” warning unexpectedly more than once in my wanders.

(10) Lost World: Beautiful location with many worthy backdrops. In the eerie / fantasy / magical category. Made up of well laid-out forest, water-ways, and interesting buildings and ruins. The location name says it all.

Please feel free to let me know what you thought of these locations – the good things, and perhaps the problematic aspects too. I’d love to see links to any pictures you take as well 🙂

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Another special art thing I want to share. It’s a long list of photos but they are very clever, some of them are simply magical. Enjoy 🙂

Kudos again go to Stoo for showing me this link 🙂

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Urban Art Camouflage

Another fun little link to some awesome art – this time to “urban art camouflage“. The third one from the bottom – the woman wrapped up in words – particularly touched me, but the rest is very clever and well-done too 🙂

(Thank you to Stoo for the link.)

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I discuss art quite a bit on my blog, artistic expression and products interest me greatly. Very rarely do you come across a new form of artistic expression, which is why this 5 minute video from a local breakfast program today caught my eye. It’s of Adam Saaks cutting up a t-shirt. Aha. After seeing that piece I did a wee search on YouTube and found another shorter clip which is a bit more glitsy for those of you with short attention spans. Oh, and it’s more than a little sexy too 🙂

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As Michael Jackson returns to the spotlight, so does that old controversy: Does it matter who creates the art, or is the art an independent entity that should be judged purely on its own merits? I think the answer comes in two parts.

The first part is recognition that great art can come from horrific people, and to deny it is great art is to distort the process of assessing art and is quite deceitful. It would be artificial to insist on seeing a biography of the artist before passing judgement on the art itself. There is no doubt that how much you enjoy or appreciate a piece can be effected by your opinion of its maker, but it’s far more common to hear people say “that’s amazing despite the person who made it” than “that would have been amazing but for the person who made it”.

However this distinction between supporting the art and supporting the artist appears to weaken or arguably break-down when it comes to them profiting from it: It is one thing to acknowledge something is great art despite the artist, it is another to buy it and thereby provide income to someone you think is a bad person.

I don’t expect these two intuitions to be the same as everyone else’s; I can easily conceive of reasons that people diverge from them. For example it could be argued that the first part of the separation of the art’s value from the artist who made it is ignoring some important ideas that art is always part of or an expression of the person who made it. The second part of my stance can also be attacked, and perhaps more convincingly than the first because is arguably goes against the recognition of the inherent value of art independent of the artist.

I am not unwavering in my dedication to this two part approach to the relationship between art and the artist, and I would be quite interested in hearing what you think of my approach, and how you view the issue yourself.

[And, to all you Michael Jackson fans who jump to defend him at the slightest hint of impropriety, this post does not assume he is guilty or innocent, it is just the recent catalyst which got me thinking about my stance on the issue.]

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Facing RespectA couple of weeks back I did a picture for The Gallery of Light, under the theme of “respect”. It was a subversive picture, and one that requires a bit of explaining, so here’s the explanation if you were wondering what the hell the picture’s about (and even if you weren’t).

It’s called “facing respect” because it is a face (duh) and because it’s about facing the truth of what it means to demand respect from people for beliefs that are actually dangerous and based on false-hoods. It is a comment on the modern use of the term “respect” to tell you to leave people’s beliefs alone and unquestioned – which to me is a perversion of the term and does a lot of harm.

The right side of the face is the “public face” of these requests for “respect”: The white doves in the eye is the vision of peace, the tears are for others’ suffering – everything about that side of the face is meant to suggest purity, innocence and good intentions.

The left side is the truth behind what it means when people demand respect for things that shouldn’t get it (as so often happens): The eye sees the truth of fire – the destruction caused by granting “respect” to ideas that should be exposed and revealed for their false-hoods. The lips are shut by barbed fire to symbolise the way people use the term “respect” to tell you to keep your mouth shut instead of exposing the truth. The hair line is fractured since the brain is ordered not to evaluate, not to criticize, but to quietly – “respectfully” keep it’s thoughts to itself. Where the right side had rose-petals the left side is scarred by thorns – just because something is pretty to the eyes (“respecting every one and everyone’s beliefs equally”), doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.

The light radiating from the body is representing the fact that the beliefs we carry are not just “internal” – that what we believe does matter and impacts others and ultimately reality; the way we treat other people, the politics we vote for, the laws we create. We should care what other people think and be ready to discuss and if necessary criticize it, instead of letting people tell us to not do so, in the name of “respect”.

I’m pretty sure it’s the last picture I’m ever doing for the Gallery of Light – even though I intended to keep up my art in Second Life, I have a feeling my personal exodus from there is going to be a bit more all-encompassing than I originally planned. Maybe I’ll get back into Second Life art with a passion at some point but I don’t know when, and it won’t be soon. It’s a shame that my last picture for the place was a tad dark but that’s the point of the picture itself isn’t it: The truth isn’t always pretty roses, sometimes it’s thorns, but the deeper beauty of knowing the truth is worth more than superficial aesthetics.

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PradI’ve often considered doing a post solely about Prad, but the same problem kept coming up: When do I write it? He keeps doing new awesome things for me and I knew if I wrote one he’d just do something else awesome and I’d have to write another post. My whole blog could have ended up being an ode to Prad, and I really don’t like looking like a fan-girl / stalker. Finally though the time is right.

It’s so hard to know where to start, might as well go from the beginning. He was a DJ at Three Lions when I first got to know him, and I loved going along to his sets, they were a huge crowd favourite, with good reason. I just thought of him as some nice funny popular guy. Which actually sums him up really well to this day. It wasn’t until the pub closed and we all started hanging out on his roof that we started chatting a lot more and I got to know him better. And every new thing I found out about him just made him more real and more interesting.

Once Crown & Pearl started up, I knew it would be my home base, mostly because I knew Prad’s presence and influence would bring to it all the best people and aspects of Lions. It became so much more though. God I’m going to miss that place so very much, more than I ever missed Lions.

My friendly attitude and own popularity got noticed overtime and they made me an official greeter there. Then security, then manager. It was such a huge deal to me to be considered staff at Crown. And the first half year of being manager was the happiest time in my SL existence. The place’s existence, and my promotion to those positions, wouldn’t have happened without Prad.

And then there’s the art. I would be nothing in the art field without Prad. I only even noticed Flickr because of him and his own talents. I started my own Flickr account soon after and started taking my own pictures. He saw my potential and gifted me a year’s pro subscription to Flickr for my RL birthday last March. He offered me the use of his studio at his home, he gave me the pose ball script I ended up using everyday, and he gave me encouragement and support. I don’t hesitate to say that I became one of the well known SL artists in my time; I was included in exhibits, I won and got placings in many contests, I had my picture included in a well-known SL magazine, and I had a steady stream of paying clients. I also don’t hesitate to say that it couldn’t have happened without Prad.

Even this blog wouldn’t exist without Prad – I only noticed SL blogs because of him. So all the hits I’ve had (which recently went over 5000, yay!), all the people I’ve met through blogging, and the joy I’ve got from this experience in itself, again wouldn’t have happened without his influence in my life.

Prad’s been there on so many important occasions for me – one of my favourite SL memories is the day I became a mentor and Prad’s alt was there becoming a mentor too at the same session. I laughed so damn much and everything was hilarious, because he was there sharing it with me in IM the whole time. What could have been a very boring hour turned into one of my favourite hours. And that is the influence Prad has had on my SL life as a whole – when things should have been horrible or unbearable, he made it all OK and helped everything turn out alright. When I thought I stood alone, he always had my back. When I thought I couldn’t keep going, he let me know I had it in me to be great and helped bring that out in me. In every part of my Second Life he has helped me become so much more than I thought I could be and so in leaving SL I feel like I’m letting him down.

Yet even now he stands beside me and supports me. Even when I’m leaving so much behind he hasn’t gotten angry or indifferent towards me, he is still my friend today as much as he was yesterday. And hopefully years from now I will say the same.

Even though I won’t be in SL (except every now and then in the smallest regard – only for pictures), I will always do whatever I can to look out for him back. For his SL self, and his RL self. For everything I managed to achieve in SL, my RL persona is more successful and powerful, and those skills I have will continue to be at his disposal for him whenever he wants or needs them. In the same way that he has always been there for me, I will continue to do whatever I can to support and help him.

Of all my friends, I will miss him the most. I still have him on external message systems, but I’ll miss the way it always made me smile when he came up on the mystitool radar, and how the mood in a room always shifted for the better when he appeared, and his DJing, and his drunken singing, and just his very distinct avatar. There aren’t many people in either worlds like Prad who can make the world a better place in so many ways. He’s not just a builder, a DJ, a photographer, a bar owner, a blogger, he’s my friend. And that transcends pixels, even on ultra high graphics 🙂

Thank you Prad. For everything ❤

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