Posts Tagged ‘Second Life Art’

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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Zero StyleEvery so often you come across a location in Second Life that looks stunning in almost every sky setting, and where each subtle change of angle and focus seems to tell a different story. Zero Style is one of those places. I think it’s one of those special locations – like The Far Away – that every Second Life photographer should visit at some point. I’m so glad I made the time to check it out, you will be too 🙂

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Art has all sorts of inspirations – music, emotions, people, scenery – there is no limit to what might inspire you to do that next masterpiece. I often state who or what has inspired my Second Life art. One of the lesser known inspirations for my art comes from a passion my husband has – Magic The Gathering cards. They are “collectable” cards that are used to play a game, it has tournaments with rewards and it’s an international phenomenon – chances are you’ve heard of it. What you might not have noticed though is the amazing artwork on some of these cards.

A recent example got my imagination fired up, a newly released card called “Progenitus“. There is so much I love about the art on this card. It’s ominous subtleties directed inspired this recent picture I shot in Second Life. Don’t ask me to explain what the card’s ability means, I don’t know – that’s fancy pants stuff for great men like my husband. But I love the quote on the card that goes with the picture: “The Soul of the World has returned”. *breathes* I love that! There is a lot to be said for the words that are presented with art: One of my friends, Prad Prathivi, has a real knack for finding the right words to enhance a piece of art, it really makes a huge difference and can take art to the next level.

One of the special aspects of these Magic the Gathering cards is that they need to match the feel and story of the card’s ability (and reading about what would go visually wrong when they didn’t is amusing). I often try to convey a story or a message in my art pieces so this strongly appeals to me. Once you get into an appreciation of the artists who’s talents go into these cards you start discovering their other work too, like this by Jaime Jones who did the card art I showed you above. Tell me you don’t think that’s some amazing work, and this guy is only 22!

I’m considering starting my own collection of this amazing card art because they get my creative juices flowing every time. Thankfully the house is full of literally thousands of the things because of my husband’s existing passion for their game aspect, I’m sure he won’t mind if I take one of his $1000 valued rare cards (I’m not kidding, some are really worth that much o.O) and add it to my collection of pretties…

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My picture used in Vain Inc magazine 🙂

A lot is going on and changing for me right now in my Second Life so I’m using my blog lately as a diary of sorts – keeping track of my days and how my mood moves with the adjustments.

I struggled with the decision of whether to go into SL today, but gave in as I usually do. Crown had a decent crowd of more than decent people. The chatter was fast and constant and funny; the way I like it. I stayed in for long enough to enjoy myself, and take pictures of Nat and Simmi. A lot of the unpleasant weirdness from yesterday was gone, and that was what I needed from today.

Another good thing happened today – Vain Inc, an SL magazine, published one of my pictures in it’s latest issue (picture attached to this post). Every little thank you re my SL art, every bit of recognition, every comment, every favourite, all matter to me. And this was one of those things that made me feel suitably proud and happy that my art continues to improve. Lately I’ve been refining and varying existing techniques in my SL art and this was the encouragement I needed to experiment again and try new techniques.

So all up, not a bad day. Better than yesterday anyway. Hopefully it’s a trend. The way I’ve come to see it is like breaking up with someone you love, when you know it’s the right thing to do at the time, but it still hurts like hell. As time passes you come to terms with the decision and stop questioning it. In time you see the other person as a friend again, and maybe you could even fall in love with them again, but those things remain to be seen. Still, the underlying love of the thing itself – my adoration of the people of Crown and the atmosphere there – remains. That’s how I see breaking up with people anyway, and it helps me to use the analogy for this too.

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One of the old unused pictures I processed today

One of the old unused pictures I processed today

Every Second Life photo shoot I do ends up consisting of around 10 to 50 shots. I normally choose to process only one of those shots for public viewing. The rest sit in my picture folder until I am ready to dump them. I dump them when the picture I chose to process has fulfilled its role – such as the client has accepted the picture as what they required.

More often than not I desperately want to process more than one of the shots; I change the sky and sea settings and angles constantly during the shoot, so the range is wide enough that the pictures can come out very differently. There are two main reasons I don’t process more than one: (1) I like the picture to stand out on my Flickr stream, if there are two similar ones they both lose impact, and (2) it is very time consuming to get a picture to the level that I am happy with. I used to find it frustrating that it took me so long to work on such tiny details, and used to look for a quicker fix, but now I see it as part of my own style and accept that this is the way I do my pictures.

Today I found some time to dig back through my “waiting to be dumped” group of pictures, and worked on bringing out in them something unique or improved – something to distinguish them from the original picture that was published for that shoot. The top three pictures of my stream right now are all in this category, and in the description of each picture I have provided a link to the original shot I produced.

Not only is it satisfying to go back and do what I wanted to do those weeks or months ago, it also brings back memories from the shoots themselves: The people who were present, how long the shoot took, the difficulties, the emotions, the jokes, etc. All my pictures carry some memory for me, it is rare that I explain the full motivation, intent and meaning behind my pictures. But today I realised something new: That processing an old shot resurrects variations of those memories, separate from those encapsulated in the original published picture.

Doing my Second Life photography has been a constantly evolving learning process: I learn new techniques, and I learn new things about my subject matter, and especially about myself. This is just the latest in a long list of ongoing unexpected lessons.

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My Gallery of Light entry from a few weeks back

My Gallery of Light entry from a few weeks back

Do you place limits of what your art conveys – is there a subject matter you would never (or very reluctantly) present? I recently stumbled across the work of a fellow SL Flickr artist, whose work was full of gore, violence, genitals and even urination. I was both repulsed and deeply fascinated by her work, and through all the gore and horror I saw her immense talent, vision, and eye for detail. At the same time though it strengthened for me the boundaries I maintain for what subject matter I’m willing to deal with in my art. There are two core categories here for me; violence and genitals.

Violence is something I see and hear enough about in the world, I don’t feel a strong desire to bring it into my art too. I have definitely dabbled in the subject matter, for example my Water’s Edge picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/landsendkorobase/2859228438/ . But if you read the description I added back then you’ll clearly see my reluctance and apologetic approach to it. And it isn’t even that graphic! Bit of bruising, bit of blood, and I hid most of the body under leaves! I like fluid brushes – you’ll notice I frequently use water in my art but you probably don’t notice the brushes I use on top of it. I have a set of blood brushes that I can use (and have used a few times) but I usually turn even those into a blue variation and use them as water instead. When I do add blood I always feel somewhat uncomfortable and nervous about it. Is this anti-violence attitude for my own art, an un-necessary barrier to my work that I need to “get over”..? Maybe. Which brings me to my next subject matter.

Genitals. It took a long while before I first used breasts in my pictures. In fact I was so nervous about it that I hid them in a wet t-shirt! (I know, prude much). Here it is – you won’t be able to see it unless you have a Flickr account because I tagged it as restricted! I mean come on, how high can one girl’s prude points go! http://www.flickr.com/photos/landsendkorobase/2602981982/in/set-72157603836916877/ I love the curve of the female figure though so it was inevitable that I’d push my envelope and let breasts whole-heartedly into my work. Skin has always been a subject I’m passionate about working with so I’m glad I got over that hurdle. But genitals..? I used to think I’d get “past” that too but I just do not feel comfortable with SL genitalia in my pictures. Sometimes it’s because I think it just looks too damn silly, but even now when I have the skills to smooth things out and add a touch of realism that I didn’t used to be able to, I still feel that strong reluctance to cross that line. If I do decide to put it into my pictures, I will be blogging about why.

Oddly enough I’m OK with sex in my SL pictures – intimate action shots or poses that capture explicitly close moments. You will not however find any of these particularly sexual shots on my photostream. The reason for this is not a hang-up, but because of difficulty finding the right people to pose. I’ve considered posing myself in it but there’s heavy reluctance because I don’t want to un-necessarily cause my husband upset by putting something like that out in the public interwebby. I could take these shots of other people but I’m yet to have someone say “you know what, I’d really love you to capture me doing my Mrs”, and I’m not going to start asking random couples if they’d like to have SL sex for me. Cause… yeah.

So what about your art limitation; is there something you’d never put in your art? Are my limits just hang-ups you think I need to grow out of, or are they reflections of my personal RL limits that I shouldn’t try to surpass..? It’s an interesting topic that I will inevitably return to, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on the issue.

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Bathing in LightThe wonderful enterprising Bailey Longcloth – co-owner of The Crown and Pearl, owner of Angel Square, and generally talented and sweet individual – has invited me to be a regular contributor to her new Gallery. The Gallery of Light is a lovely open aired and welcoming location, situated on Angel Square sim. I’ve been part of an exhibition once before and that was neat, but being given an in-world forum to consistently contribute to like this is very happy-making. The picture attached is my first piece being shown there, under the theme of “Light”. I call it “Bathing in Light”. I’m already looking forward to the next theme ^^

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