Chuck Clip has perhaps been most widely known as a tireless promoter and curator of art in Second Life through his Sinful Retreat regions, which have housed a stunning mix of personal art as well as exhibitions and a home for both 2D and 3D artists from across the platform and the world at large. However – and as I’ve noted in the past in these pages – he is himself an accomplished artist in the physical world and in Second Life (where he has also exhibited widely, if often quietly), working in a range of digital mediums, including prims, which he still sculpts today in preference to using mesh and external-to-SL tools like Blender.
I’ve long been attracted to Chuck’s work, particularly his 2D art, because of its powerful expressiveness, and his ability to take and mix a range of digital techniques to create pieces of art that are visually captivating and impactful whilst carrying messages of social conscience either directly or through more esoteric means using the surreal, the fantastic and the dark – elements which may be born in part out of his own life path – to offer insights into the human psyche, love, life, death, religion, and the (my term here) ambivalent nature of the human condition.
I went to Rochester Institute of Technology initially for medical illustration. After set backs with mental illness, I returned to school, graduating from duCret School of Art for graphic design. Aside from a few small shows in local galleries, mostly I freelanced to make ends meet … My 2D work is created mostly digital using a variety of methods, from photography, to digital painting, to compositing, and more recently, using artificial intelligence to enhance and evolve these pieces into something entirely new.
– Chuck Clip
Many of these aspects of Chuck’s work can be seen and appreciated at Elven Falls Art Collective, owned and operated by operated by Ant (AntoineMambazo) and Aires Hax, where the main gallery is currently given over to an extensive exhibition of chuck’s art across its two floors and which opened on November 18th, 2022.
Starting with the two pieces facing visitors as they enter the gallery’s foyer and progressing right throughout the seven halls (three on the lower floor, four on the upper, reached via the foyer elevator) this is a veritable tour de force of artistry at its finest. Each and every piece is layered both in terms of its physical composition and its meaning / interpretation. Some aspects of the pieces offer might disturb the sensitive; other might upset the deeply religious – but all will challenge and give pause for thought as to the statements each carries.
The narratives found within the offered works may be as direct as highlghting the role of formalised religion has often played fomenting war, death, and destruction (the entire upper rear hall of the gallery); or more subtle reflections on human nature – such as the mindset setting behind the avatars we encounter in Second Life (Behind the Avatar, within the lower floor, right-side hall) or the fact that as evolved as humanity might appear, we are as a race still prone to the drive of the primeval within us (Modern Man, within the lower floor right-hand hall).
Each of the seven halls in the gallery also offers a 3D sculpture by Chuck. Each offers something of a reflection of the core themes to be found within the 2D art presented within it (perhaps most powerfully through Holy War, again to be found in the gallery’s upper rear hall); however, they also stand as a statement to artistic expression in Second Life, as Chuck also notes in his biography:
As a prim sculptor I’m largely self taught. I learned by trial and error and by going to places where the works of the old prim sculptors are still shown, examining them for hours on end just trying to figure out what they did to achieve certain effects. I am forever indebted to the old prim sculptors, for they paved the way for people like me. It is their legacy that I try to perpetuate as prim sculpture slowly but surely becomes a lost art in SL. Second Life has provided us with this wonderful medium, and it is my hope that one day it becomes recognized again for the greatness it can achieve.
Bold, emotionally-charged, rich in narrative and marvellously enfolding digital and virtual artistry, Chuck Clip is a genuine maestro of digital art, and his exhibition at Elven Falls Art Collective stands as a powerful underscoring of this fact.
- Elven Falls Art Collective Landing Point (Elven Falls, rated Adult)