A further trip to The Galleries in Second Life

The Galleries Museum

The Galleries, curated by Ernie Farstrider is an extensive gallery complex ideal for those wishing to explore many of the rich facets of art in Second Life. As I last wrote about the complex nearly a year ago, I thought it about time I talked a little more about it, this time taking a look at the Ground level facilities of The Galleries Museum.

Modelled on New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright, the building is very much a gallery space, despite the “museum” in the title, and at the time of my visit had just opened a new exhibition of art by Violetta Carolina, who returns to the gallery for the first time in five years.

The Galleries Museum

The exhibit features Violetta’s 2D the 3D art, the former presented as a series of bold paintings, rich in colour, leaning towards an abstract look, but each piece individually striking in tone and look. With a distinctly modern cast to them, the sculptures offer both contrast and compliment to the 2D pieces,  making this an unusual (in the positive sense of the word) and imaginative exhibit.

Beyond it, in the great atrium section of the building, are exhibition spaces given over to multiple artists,  all of which can be toured by climbing the familiar ramp up from the lowest level (or, if you prefer, but taking one of the elevator teleport to the uppermost level and then winding your way back down).

The Galleries Museum: Violetta Carolina

The atrium provides space for at least eight artists on the ramp itself, with additional space on the lowest level, and the range of large on display mixes images captured in-world and creations from the  physical world uploaded for display in Second Life. I’m not going to offer a cast list of artists exhibiting their work at the time of my visit, simply because I’m not sure how quickly displays change, and all too often such lists can look more like the reading a cast list. However, I did enjoy seeing images by Graham Collinson, and Kayly Iali during my visit, as I’ve always enjoyed their work.

Located outside the front of the building is a teleporter that will carry visitors up to the sky complex of galleries, where a further exploration of art can be enjoyed  – see my review from October 2017, but please keep in mind the artists on exhibition may well have changed.

The Galleries Museum: Graham Collinson

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Georgiana, home of The Galleries, is rated Moderate.

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The autumnal beauty of Zone One

Zone One; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrZone One – click any image for full size

Lam Erin is a skilled Second Life photographer perhaps most noted for his landscape work, which has captured and uniquely accentuated many a region for posterity. Given his skill and eye, it should come as little surprise that were he to turn his attention to region design, he’d produce something equally as eye-catching as his art.

And thus it is with Zone One, the full region that is also the home of Lam’s Soul Identity store and Ohemo. We’ve been watching the development of the ground level of the region since work started in about June 2018, and have made several visits over the last few months to witness how things have grown, which itself has been intriguing to watch.

Zone One; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrZone One

There is no set landing point, so I’ve arbitrarily selected one alongside the landmark giver for the region. This should also double as a teleport to the two stores, but at the time of our most recent visit in September, it didn’t appear to be working. The sign sits alongside a single road that almost circles the land, roughly following the line of an inlet slicing its way inwards from the east side of the region.

Alongside the inlet and along the road sit a number of houses, surrounded by trees that, in keeping with the time of year during our last visit,  are heavy with leaves turning to the colours of autumn. All but one of them are unfurnished, which did have me wondering if more work is yet to come with things. But even unfurnished, each house has its own character, thanks to both its setting and the décor placed around it, allowing each to be used as a photographic backdrop with it’s own look and feel.

Zone One; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrZone One

Follow the road south and west from the landing point, and it will point you to where a little wharf sits just offshore and connected to a cinder beach by a raised wooden board walk stretching over the shallow water. Reached via a short walk over grassland after the road has come to an end, it is the home to, among other things, a ramshackle fish and chips shop where one might assume the fish is super fresh, given the little trawler tied up alongside.

The inlet pushing into the middle of the region offers a pleasant place to tarry. wild flowers grow along the high banks, while on the water swans and ducks paddle and rowing boats offer places to sit and cuddle. A bench has been set with fresh apples to eat and goblets from which to enjoy a drink, but it would seem one of the region’s four-footed denizens appears to have had a little fun on the bench top – possibly in revenge for what he’s (or she’s) having to wear.

Zone One; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrZone One

Zone One is a genuinely peaceful setting, offering plenty of opportunities for photography. You can join the local group to obtain rezzing rights for props, but please be sure to pick them up afterwards. It’s also a setting in which time can just be idled away, and it’s nice to see some of the décor includes sit options for “friends” as well as “singles” and “couples” – a small detail that can make a place that much more welcoming when exploring with a friend.

So, for those looking for an easy-to-explore photogenic location, Zone One is ready for your visit.

Zone One; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrZone One

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Zone One is located on Stargazer Galaxy and is rated Moderate.

DiXmiX: Maloe, Isa and Harbor

DiXmiX Gallery: Maloe Vansant

In September 2017, Dixmix Source opened DiXmiX Gallery (read here for more). Since then, the gallery has run a series of exhibitions, running on roughly a monthly basis, featuring some of Second Life’s most impressive artists from across the grid.

To celebrate the gallery’s first anniversary, Dixmix held a special party on Saturday, September 22nd, 2018, which including the opening of the latest exhibition, featuring images by Harbor (Harbor Galaxy),  Maloe Vansant and Isa Messioptra. All three are making a return to DiXmiX gallery, and between them present an intriguing – some might say disturbing, in places – series of studies, some of which appear to have come as much from the physical world as from Second Life.

DiXmiX Gallery: Isa Messioptra

The majority of the images are close-up studies, rich in emotional content and expressiveness, each with a story to tell. Some do involve nudity, and should be considered NSFW. All and carefully framed to ensure our focus is solely on the subject of the image, and unlikely to be distracted by sundry elements of their surroundings.

Such is the evocative nature of all three displays,that singling out individual images proved difficult; all three artists have sought to convey feelings through their selected images, and each display deserves to be seen in its own right, and the images I offer here are purely to encourage you to pay a visit for yourself.

DiXmiX Gallery: Harbor Galaxy

As a part of the new season – but not yet in use – The Womb, the underground display area at DiXmiX has been re-developed. “It’s now an 8,000 square metre black room,” DiXmiX informed me during my visit. “We will have new installations there,” he continued, “Alo [Aloisio Congrejo] will be first in there, in October, and then Nevereux.”

I look forward to seeing the installations of both, and in the meantime, the current exhibition will run through until into October.

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A trip to Havana, with a little Voodoo In My Blood

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana – click any image for full size

We came across Little Havana as a result of an e-mail suggestion*. Occupying a Homestead region, it is a joint design between Sofie Janic, Fred Hamilton (frecoi), Alexa Maravilla (Spunknbrains) and Lotus Mastroianni. It’s an easy to visit region, offering a seafront location looking out over a sandy beach to where waves suitable for surfers are rolling in on the tide.

As the name suggests, the region takes its inspiration from Cuba. However, rather than trying to recreate anything specific from Havana – such as one of its more famous buildings of monuments, the team responsible for the design have opted to present a setting mindful of the images often seen in photos and postcards of Havana: wide streets, gaily painted buildings with something of a run-down air about them, little churches and, of course, the giant gas guzzlers, equally brightly painted and obviously lavished with care as befitting behemoths that have a design lifespan reaching back to the 1950s.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

The seafront boulevard offers the best vista of the houses, buildings and cars, the street lighting offering opportunities for tourist-like night-time photography for those looking for an alternative to daylight photographs.

With the exception of the church alongside the landing point, which appears to be  a small gallery displaying images by Lotus Mastroianni, none of the buildings are furnished. Some do, however, carry hallmarks of el revolución cubana on their flanks. The heroic visage of Argentinian Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, arguably, and alongside Fidel Castro, a major architect of Fulgencio Basista’s overthrow and the remodelling of Cuba post-revolution, stares stoically outward from the side of one of the taller buildings, for example.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

The northern end of the beach front road ends, quirkily enough, in an odd little helicopter landing pad, complete with a D-Labs helicopter that looks like it has been put together using bodywork from a car. When encountered, it is both unexpected and yet strangely suited to the setting.

A short distance across the water, north and west of this, sits a little sandy island given over to swimming, sunbathing and generally relaxing, a bar offering an excuse to swim over and stay a while.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

The roads on the region also run along the east side of the buildings, where can be found more paintings typical of Cuba on walls, including one of Fidel Castro himself in all his bearded glory. This faces a recording studio sitting on another little island, this one reached via a wooden bridge. With an indoor pool and outdoor sun deck, it suggests a place of easy-going creation of Cuban music.

Ideally suited to photography, particularly avatar-centric images, Little Havana is connected via bridge at its south-western extreme to Voodoo In My Blood, the neighbouring full region. This features a design largely brought together by Megan Prumier, working with Sofi and Fred.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

This is distinctly more run-down America in terms of tone, but equally as engaging visually. A good portion of the region is given over to commercial activities centred on but not limited to the Voodoo main store itself. However, explore southward beyond this, along the narrow, grungy alleys standing between the shells of ageing buildings, and you come to an open beach front setting. Tired it may well, but it is also packed with detail.

Running east-to-west across the southern side of the region, this beach opens out on its western side to become the sandy location of an ageing seaside fun fair. Whether the rides still work is up to you to find out, but the function here seems to have shifted over time: a music stage has been built, and the tents pitched on the white sand suggest there’s recently been a festival of some kind here.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

A set of trimmed hedges and paved paths sit above these tents, presenting a little formal place to take a stroll. On their north side the look towards a finger of rock pointing out to sea and reached via wooden board walks. Seals have claimed this rocky ribbon as their home, and lie resting on wooden piers – although one seems intent on receiving scooter lessons! The piers are also where boats might put in, as evidenced by the pristine yacht moored close by, the affluence it exudes contrasting with the aged look of the rest of the region.

Both Little Havana and Voodoo Blood are finished with local soundscapes – such as music blaring from a car radio as you wander the streets of the former, or the sounds of the seaside when exploring the southern seafront of the latter. This means that having local sounds enable while exploring is an absolute must.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

Taken individually or together, Little Havana and Voodoo Blood make for interesting destinations for Second Life travel bloggers, explorers and photographers. Both had been designed to exude atmosphere and catch the eye, and both are very much worth taking the time to explore.

Those requiring rezzing rights in either region can obtain them by joining the respective groups, and each region has its own Flickr group for those wishing to share their images – see the About Land information within each region for the links.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

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* I’m not offering a name, as the e-mail appears to have originated from a personal account, rather than one linked to an avatar name. If I have this wrong, the sender can ping me with an OK, and I’ll add their name for due credit. Otherwise thank you for the hat tip.

Rainbow Painters in Second Life

Rainbow Painters

Rainbow Painters is an art gallery curated by Timo Dumpling and Patience Dumpling (patience Roxley). Described as “an art gallery for the new artist in SL … a place to show off your skill at no cost to you”, it is in fact open to artists “old” and “new”, with an open invitation for them to contact the curators about displaying their images within the gallery.

Located on a quarter region, the gallery shares its space with a open-air games area (table games and 10-pin bowling) and dance / events space. Within the gallery building, artists are offered a modest amount of wall space in which to display their art – but which is more than enough for visitors to gain an appreciation of their work. There do not appear to be any restrictions on the nature of the art, so long is it is in keeping with the SL Terms of Service / Community Standards, and meets the region’s maturity rating.

Rainbow Painters

At the time of our visit, the list of artists included Jaime Poutine, BittsyBoo, Mistero HifengRage Darkstone, JolieElle Parfort, Xirana Oximoxi, Siobhán Muintir (Qorell),  Fuyuko Amano (Wintergeist) and Callum Writer, to name but a handful of those displaying their work.

The range of art is as broad as the list of artists, featuring images captured both in-world and original art uploaded to Second Life. In what I take to be a respect for the gallery’s title, many of the in-world images offered had been processed to give the impression of being painted, while the uploaded art covered photography through a variety of painting styles. One of these, by an artist from Sri lanka (and provided by Asmita Duranjaya) particularly caught my eye for it modern take on traditional stylised paintings I’ve seen first-hand when visiting that country.

Rainbow Painters

Second Life landscapes  – my preferred form of SL art – were much on display during our visit, but I confess to being particularly drawn to Siobhán Muintir’s display, which featured three avatar studies quite powerful in their depth and presentation (two are shown above), displayed with an image again processed to appear as if painted, and which offers a further captivating view of the model, but in a broader setting.

3D artists need not feel left out, either. The gallery provides space for small displays of 3D art. Mistero Hifeng, for example had a sculpture displayed alongside his 2D art, while Asmita Duranjaya and Faith Maxwell were both displaying their 3D sculptures.

Rainbow Painters

All told, an interesting venue offering space to artists old and new – and a chance for visitors to discover the work of people they might not yet have encountered in SL.

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Tagus Enchanted Forest in Second Life

Tagus Enchanted Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrTagus Enchanted Forest – click any image for full size

I walk away from the world I know,
To a forest were each thing can change
And where the floor is carpeted in seasonal splendour.
It is here I feel magic,
In the enchanted forest.

So reads the description for Tagus Enchanted Forest, a homestead region held and designed by Lady Amalthea (meganwhitlock). As the stanza suggests, this is intended to by a mystical, enchanted place; one given over to woodland in which assorted locations can be found, which lend themselves to a variety of fantasy themes – a hint of elves here, those of a magician or alchemist there; a touch of Game of Thrones along the wall of a crypt or the suggestion of witchcraft possibly lurking in the mists …

Tagus Enchanted Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrTagus Enchanted Forest

It is a wild, free place – a rugged island rising tall from the surrounding waters, crowned by tall trees between whose trunks paths and trail wind and loop, sufficient enough to guide travellers around the various locations to be found here, but with ample twists and turns to possibly confound one’s sense of direction.

From the landing point, lantern-marked steps offer a way up inland or down to the waterside, where further islands, long and thin and equally as rugged, can be seen.  These can be reached via rowing boat offered at a small pier – although only one offers a similar boat for getting back!

Tagus Enchanted Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrTagus Enchanted Forest

It is on the largest of these outer island that the Game of Thrones reference can be found: a wall of faces of the dead waiting to be worn, sitting at the back of a cliff-top crypt. A short distance from this crypt, and situated upon the highest plateau of the island is a small chapel, its organ being played by a ghostly, skeletal figure…

The remaining islands are marked by high waterfalls, one the home of an alchemist, the other featuring the ruins of a tower in which an ancient elven throne resides. Across the main island, to its north-west, another low tower is to be found atop a ridge, the seat of someone fascinated with the movement of the stars and the planets – an astrologer or magician, perhaps….

Tagus Enchanted Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrTagus Enchanted Forest

Finding your way around all of the trails and paths on the island can be an adventure in itself. Some are obvious, others perhaps less so as you climb and descend stone steps – just watch for the lanterns hanging from their ivy-draped poles. Along the way are numerous points of rest: camp fires to sit around, tents to sit within, places to dance, places to rest alongside still waters… All of this given a further air of mystery by the selected windlight.

There are one or two rough points one might journey into: the physics alongside the chapel’s only working entrance can at times knock the unwary sideways, and there are some landscaping elements floating above their peers. However, these do not prevent Tagus Enchanted Forest from being photogenic – and there is a Flickr group for those who wish to add their pictures.

Tagus Enchanted Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrTagus Enchanted Forest

A mysterious, place, Tagus Enchanted Forest perhaps awaits those willing to weave a tale of those who might reside in its towers and buildings.

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