Raglan Shire, Second Life’s Tiny community, has once again opened its doors to people from across the grid as participating artists and visitors are invited to the Raglan Shire Artwalk 2022.
This year, the the event runs from Sunday, May 15th, through until Sunday, June 19th, 2022. It offers an opportunity not just to appreciate a huge range of art from both the physical and digital worlds, but to also tour the Shire regions and enjoy the hospitality of the Raglan Shire community.
A non-juried exhibition, the Artwalk is open to any artist wishing to enter, and has minimal restrictions on the type of art displayed (one of the most important being all art is in keeping with the Shire’s maturity rating). All of this means that it offers one of the richest mixes of SL art displayed within a single location in Second Life, with 2D art is displayed along the hedgerows of the Shire’s pathways and tree platforms overhead and 3D art among the community’s parks.
Each year attracts well over a hundred SL artist – and this year is no exception. The depth and range of art on display is guaranteed to keep visitors exploring the paths and walks around the through the hedgerows – and if walking proves a little much, there are always the Shire’s tours to ease the load on the feet.
Also, teleport boards are provided to help people find their way around the exhibition spaces. However, given this is an opportunity to visit and appreciate Raglan Shire, I do recommend exercising your pedal extremities and doing at least some of your exploration on foot – just keep in mind people do have their homes in the regions as well.
Given the number of artists involved, there isn’t a published list of participants, but anyone interested in the world of SL art is bound to recognise many of the names of the artists here. The Artwalk is also a marvellous way to see art from both our physical and digital worlds and for catch artists both familiar and new to your eye. Just don’t try to see it all at once; the Artwalk is open for a month, which gives plenty of time for browsing and appreciating the art without feeling overloaded.
All of the Raglan Shire Artwalk regions are rated General)
The Raglan Shire Artwalk is one of the staples of the SL art calendar, and for 2022 the 15th Artwalk will take place between Sunday, May 15th and Sunday, June 19th, inclusive.
A popular event among artists and residents, the Artwalk can see over 150 artists displaying their work – 2D and 3D – across the regions of Raglan Shire. All the displays are open-air, with 2D art is displayed on hedgerows in and around the regions, while sculptures and 3D art is displayed in a number of designated areas, all of which allows visitors to both appreciate the art and explore the Shire regions.
A Call For Artists for the 2022 event has been issued for those wishing to participate, and key points about the exhibition are as follows:
It is a non-juried show.
Artists can display more than one piece if they wish.
2D (“flat” art pieces will be awarded a maximum of 15 LI, and individual pictures should be 1 prim, including the frame.
3D art (sculptures, etc.), will be awarded a maximum of 500 LI for up to three pieces of work. Artists are requested to state the LI per piece in their application.
Sales of art are allowed.
Types of art supported by the show are: representations of RL photography, painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, and digital fine art that can be displayed on a prim; and SL photography, manipulated SL photography and SL sculpture.
Pictures of RL crafts, such as beadwork, leatherwork, etc., are not part of the show’s definition
All the above art forms are welcome, but should be rated PG / G – so no nudity, please!
Group membership will be required in order to display work.
Tip jars and floating text are not allowed.
Questions and enquiries should be forwarded via note card to Artwalk Director Karmagirl Avro, or Artwalk Assistants Kayak Kuu, Linn Darkwatch, or RaglanShireArtwalk Resident.
In December 2021, I wrote about Eskol, Morlita Quan’s art and event space in Second Life (see: Eskol: music, art and sound (& a photo contest) in Second Life). Within that piece, and as referenced in its title, the review also included information on the Eskol Photo Contest Morlita was running through December to the start of January.
On offer was a single prize of L$5.000 to be awarded to a single winner, as judged by a panel of three judges – Morlita, Lanjran Choche and myself. To enter, photographers could submit up to two images taking using one of the six photo booths Morlita had set-up specifically for the contest.
In all 12 photographers submitted entries, comprising Mo Trill (1 image), Mystera Bloodbane-Ragnarok (Mysteria0402 – 2 images), Lucid (Photodoll77 – 2 images), Rya Santana (2 images), 4pril Resident (1 image), WuWai Chun (2 images), 04Noir (C1haos Resident- 2 images), 01NoirA Resident (1 images), Allanpoee Resident (2 images), Cielo Negro (Cielonegro Avril – 2 images), Néstor (NestorXX Resident – 1 image), and Iono Allen (1 image).
Each of the six booths offered its own setting in which pictures could be set and framed, and photographers could dress them as desired, and entrants submitting two photos could either take them in one of the booths or use two booths.
Unsurprisingly, most of the photographers opted to concentrate avatar-centric studies for their entries, with only a couple avoiding avatars entirely. Not that focusing on avatars lessened any of the entries; rather the reverse in fact: several presented very unique uses of the avatar and / or unique perspectives on a particular booth and avatar (as is the case with WuWai Chun’s Eskol 1 entry). whilst Iono Allen chose to offer a moment from a certain iconic 1969 motion picture (or as the director referred to it, “the proverbial good science fiction movie”).
While I cannot speak for the other members of the panel, I approached judging the submitted pieces on a set of criteria I’d settled upon before seeing any of them: composition (use of space, colour, lighting), framing, originality and narrative. However, given we all three each came up with a selection of seven initial finalists that were somewhat similar, I’d say we all used similar criteria. And certainly, the winning entry, C1haos Resident’s Eskol 2 was a piece we would all agree on as being a worthy winner.
Currently, all of the entries are on display at Morlita’s main Eskol Gallery, and will be until early February, so why not pop along and judge them for yourself?
In November 2011, I wrote about an intriguing exhibition of images by Guille (Antoronta) entitled Unseen Beauty, held at the Annexe of the Limoncello gallery. It was one of the the most unusual, engaging and informative exhibitions of photographic art I’d witnessed during the year, taking us as it did on a journey into the world of the microscopic (see: The art and beauty of the microscopic in Second Life).
While (at the time of writing) that exhibition is still open), I’ll delighted to say that the Desiderartum Gallery, managed by Peru Venom is hosting what might be regarded as the “part two” of a display of Guille’s work, in the form of Invisible Beauty, which formally opened on January 10th, 2022 (and my apologies to Guille for not being able to attend the opening in person).
The virtual incarnation of Antonio Guillén, Guille is a doctor in Biology and professor of Natural Sciences, whose background is as fascinating as his art, given his research projects span the environment, microbiology and astrobiology. He also has a refreshing – almost holistic, one might say – perspective on art and science in which the two interact with one another sans borders, informing one another and helping to jointly educate students and the public at large.
In particular, and given his professional focus on the microscopic, he has become a noted photographer-artist who captures the tiny worlds of micro-organisms – bacteria, fungi, archaea and protists – in all their exquisite beauty. And by “noted”, I mean precisely that not only has his photography been exhibited across his native Spain – including the National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid -, it has also garnered awards such as Spain’s National Prize for Scientific Photography and the Giner de los Ríos Prize, the country’s most prestigious educational award. In addition, his project The Hidden Life of Water received the first world award at a Google Science Fair (2012).
As I noted in November 2021, Guille’s work doesn’t just present images of these incredible, tiny and diverse living organisms, it takes us on a journey into their worlds, the images revealing them individually or collectively in the the most amazing detail, while the texts he has supplied to go with the images (obtained by clicking the title card either below or to the right of each image) reveal more of the realities of these micro-organisms – and not in in dry, scientific terms that are starved of emotion. Rather, Guille’s descriptions are wonderfully fluid, descriptive and in places poetic. It thus offers further life to the tiny creations his microscope has captured in still form, whiles also underscoring his belief that art and science should freely interact.
Like most of the algae of the desmids family “Euastrum” it seems to look at itself in a mirror creating a pair of green Siamese joined by the same heart in a game of symmetry in which survival today and that of the future are bathed of this simple and intense beauty.
A thick transparent layer, adorned with winding valleys, spines or sculpted buttons and made with cellulose and pectin protects the body from these beautiful algae and helps them to float and move slowly both floating and on the bottoms where they live.
Guille’s sparkling description of the supernova-like Euastrum Verrucosum
Split across the two levels of the gallery building, Invisible Beauty mixes some of the images seen within Unseen Beauty with those specific to this exhibition, providing a natural overlap between the two, and making a visit to both a natural experience.
In addition to the journeys into the worlds of prokaryotes and eukaryotes presented by Unseen Beauty and Invisible Beauty, more of Guille’s work can be found on his Flickr stream, whilst in-world, his has – with the support and assistance of Kimika Ying – created El Universo en una Gota de Agua (“The Universe in a Drop of Water”). There, visitors can see more of Guille’s photography as well as learning about the history of the microscope and about the study of micro-organisms – and even enter their world, where a human hair offered at a scale to represent its magnification by a factor of 10,000 helps put all of this tiny life into perspective.
In September 20221, I visited Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat art hub to witness The Falling Leaves, a series of watercolour paintings by Fly Kugin (FlyQueen), uploaded by the artist for presentation in Second Life (see: The Falling Leaves: Fly’s watercolours in Second Life). At the time, the tone of the notes with the exhibition and Fly’s own Profile gave the impression she was taking a possibly extended leave of absence from Second Life. I was therefore surprised – and delighted – that just before Christmas, I received an invitation to visit a further exhibition by Fly, which is once again being hosted by Chuck and Jewell, this time on the Sinful Retreat adjunct region, Angel’s Rest.
Silent Beauties features Fly’s second collection of watercolours to be displayed in-world, and it is one that continues her exploration of watercolour painting as a means of expression through the creation of pictures depicting flora and flowers. However, where The Falling Leaves focused more on the former, Silent Beauties presents twelve simply gorgeous paintings of garden and wild flowers.
Offered as individual pieces for one-time sale (no copies), with each flower simply presented on a white canvas, the fifteen pieces in this collection are genuinely captivating – as is the setting for their display, which should be seen as a work of art in its own right, as I’ll come to in a moment.
The majority of Fly’s pieces are individually hung – the exception being Rose Effect, a group of four paintings of a rose presented in a single frame. Most of the paintings are offered with a single dominant colour / tone that reflects its title and / or emotional essence, including the four paintings of the rose to be found in Rose Effect. Taken individually or together, they demonstrate that Fly has, in the 6 months since she commenced her experiments with watercolours, become an accomplished and expressive artist in the medium (a further proof of which is the fact that all of the pieces have already been sold, and the exhibition only opened on December 21st).
The space in which Silent Beauties is being exhibited is The Cathedral, a build that might be said to be a piece of Second Life artistic history. Originally designed and created in 2009 by Patch Thibaud, it was textured by by DB Bailey utilising alphas to create its distinctive crystalline look. In 2020, Djehuti-Anpu (Thoth Jansen), an immersive, multi-media artist whose work I’ve long appreciated and admired, joined with DB to add media textures to the build, magnifying its depth and richness.
The frames for Fly’s art are displayed along the columns of the cathedral’s knave, one or two per column. These columns also feature some of the media surfaces Thoth has added to the Cathedral. To witness them in all their glory, together with the rest of Thoth’s artistry, (which blends well with Fly’s paintings), enter the Cathedral and enable media playback (click the movie camera in the top right corner of the viewer, alongside the media stream button and those for camera and graphics presets). The image below offers a sample of what you will see.
The holiday period is often a time for sitting back and enjoying a film (or six!), and networks and streaming services tend to offer us an especially good mix of genres to enjoy – including a drop or two of sci-fi. I mention this because Ricco Saenz and Randy Firebrand are currently presenting a pair of exhibition at their 22 ArtSpace Gallery in Bellisseria that mix the subjects of sci-fi and film quite naturally.
Within the main gallery space – occupying one of the Victorian style houses within Bellesseria – is a further pairing of artists in what might be seen as a continuation of the gallery’s “duet series”, with Electric Sheep featuring a series of images by Wicca Merlin and Ricco himself.
For his pieces, Ricco follows-up on the exhibition title with pieces that could be said to be inspired by Ridey Scott’s Blade Runner films (and those that are stylistically similar). They offer us a series of images set within a city, focusing on an assortment of individuals; setting and subject forming a whole in scenes which it is easily possible to imagine Philip K. Dick’s Rick Deckard – as personified by Harrison Ford – walking or running through, or Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty from the original Blade Runner film standing and observing – or calculating his next move in his quest for continuance.
Wicca Merlin, meanwhile, offers images very much focusing on the individual. Some of them would not look out of place in Dick’s / Scott’s Los Angeles, others of whom could equally be found in the likes of the Alien franchise – or the imagination of H.R. Giger. Others offer a touch of fantasy, whilst all are expressive and make rich use of colour and tone, with more than enough within them for us to form our own stories around them without undue prompting.
Reached via teleport, the second level of the gallery – and, I believe, new with the current installations – is a skybox that is home to an exhibition of images be Huckleberry Hax.
Waarheid: Truth Hunter offers a series of 14 images focused on the character Waarheid, first seen in Hax’s 2020 sci-fi machinima STÖMOL (which I reviewed here), played by Caitlin Tobias and who is due to lend her name to Hax’s follow-up to STÖMOL, due for release in 2022.
These are images that, outside of the context of Hax’s films might be hard to grasp. Drenched in a bloody red, dark in other tones, their focus / meaning isn’t that easy to comprehend sans the introductory notes Hax provides, and the descriptive elements added to each picture. These provide insight to the character, helping to round-out her background from before STÖMOL and lay a foundation for the character in readiness for the next film.
Both Electric Sheep and Waarheid are small exhibitions, easily seen as a pairing, joined as they are by their sci-fi themes. As such, they make for an easy, enjoyable visit for the holiday season, although both will be open to visit through until March 19th, 2022.
Note: updated following the comment, below, from Huckleberry Hax on his Waarheid exhibition.