“We’re trying to show new people much of what is possible in Second Life,” Damian Zhaoying informed me. “As part of that, we want to promote art and music. We’ve already held recitals by Latin singers – Merkabah Oh, for example.”
“Art must be present in the new user experience,” Mona (MonaByte) added, “It’s an important strand of Second Life.”
We were standing in the foyer of one of two galleries spaces hosted by the Ayuda Virtual Community Gateway, which has been designed specifically for Spanish-speaking people around the world, and which is part of the Lab’s Community Gateway programme. Both Damian and Mona are prime movers behind the project, and our conversation came about after I dropped into the region to see the art space – which is curated by Mona – after artist Storie’s Helendale (GitterprincessDestiny) pointed me towards it.
Two artists are currently on display within the galleries: LeMelonRouge (LeMelonRouge Onyett) – aka Francesc Palomas – and Desy Magic. They present very contrasting exhibitions which illustrate the breadth of 2D art potential in Second Life, whilst also touching on 3D art in-world as well.
In one, LeMelon displays BCN, LON, NYC, a selection of his physical world paintings of the cities of Barcelona, London and New York. Presented in bold, striking colours, the paintings show street scenes, parks, public walkways and café views, their rich colouring perfectly capturing the vibrant nature of all three cities. For me, and having spent more time in them than I have Barcelona (which I’ve only visited the once 😦 ), both London and New York are instantly recognisable, and not just because of their respective taxi cabs! I’ve wandered through Camden Market often enough to instantly identify it, even without the sign, while Piccadilly Circus and Brewer Street are unmistakable, as is New York’s Times Square.
The second gallery space is exhibiting Desy’s art, which features both 2D and 3D pieces. The former are primarily avatar studies presented in a range of styles and finishes, from “straightforward” portrait style studies through nudes to abstract works. Again the use of colour is vivid and striking, with the images amply demonstrating what can be achieved when using SL as a medium for artistic creativity. Also on display are a number of 3D works, at least two of which are prim-based, with all of them further demonstrating the versatility of the platform for creating / displaying sculpture-based art.
Including art within a Community Gateway is a welcome idea, and I was pleased to hear from Damian and Mona that Ayuda Virtual consider art – visual and performance – as an important aspect of Second life which should be showcased to new users. Which should not be taken to mean the Ayuda gallery spaces and these two exhibitions are intended just for new users coming into SL through the gateway. Both are richly expressive, are open to visit by anyone – and are worth taking the time to see.
I’ll be covering more on Ayuda Virtual at a future date, as there is a lot to see within the region.
Ayuda Virtual Galleries (Ayuda Virtual, rated: General)