Selen’s Gallery in Second Life

Selen’s Gallery, December 2020

Selen’s Gallery, owned and curated by Selen (Selen Minotaur), opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020, offering visitors the chance to appreciate her photography and art. A long-time resident of Second Life, the gallery is a further step in Selen’s evolution as a Second Life artist, coming a year after she decided to create a Flickr account, which has (rightly) been building a following among other Second Life users  on that platform.

I have always been passionate about art in general and therefore, like many of us, I appreciate the beauty and all the opportunities for creativity that this amazing virtual world allows.
I started photography years ago and did more than 500 photos before daring to open my own Flickr account in December 2019. I like to explore many different styles depending on the mood, playing with Windlights or setting my own lights (I use Lumipro), adjusting or creating some poses (with Anypose) and post-editing each image using several editing tools (Kvadphoto+ pro, Photoscape, Photoshop express and a bit of Gimp).

– Selen on her art

Selen’s Gallery, December 2020

Offering two floors in which to display her art, the gallery presents as its opening displays two selections of Selen’s work: Dreams, Moments and Desire on the lower floor, and a series of black-and-white on the upper. Unsurprisingly, given Selen’s own description above, these are predominantly avatar studies, although some feature within the lower floor display are focused on the sculptures of Mistero Hifeng.

Whether monochrome or colour these are all expressive pieces, offering individual studies  – some touching on the risqué -, some touching on fantasy, and others offering a marvellous sense of period within the black-and-white studies, with many offering a hint of narrative to them, making both collections a richly rewarding visit.

Selen’s Gallery, December 2020

As well as working with 2D images, the gallery is home to 3D art – some by Selen herself, other pieces by some of the artists she most admires, all of them further increasing the depth of art to be appreciated.

In addition, and as well as using lighting to good effect within her 2D art, Selen also uses it for further visual effect within the gallery – so when visiting, be sure to make sure you have Advanced Lighting Model (ALM → Preferences → Graphics → check Advanced Lighting Model) and, if your system will support it, shadow rendering enabled to add to the overall lighting effects.

Selen’s Gallery, December 2020

Engaging and rich in content, Selen’s Gallery is a welcome addition to the Second Life art community.

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The Dickens Project 2020: call for artists

The Dickens Project 2020

Since 2012, The Dickens Project, organised and run by Caledonia Skytower and the Seanchai Library team, has presented an end-of-year seasonal celebration the life and works of Charles Dickens.

Running throughout December, the Project presents a range of events and activities that include live readings, music, dancing and more, all of which takes place in a special Victorian themed region and culminates in a week of readings of one of the most popular of Dickens’ stories A Christmas Carol. It’s an event that now attracts some 3,000 unique visitors annually, with some 44% of those visiting in 2019 returning more than once to explore the region and participate in activities.

This year, The Dickens Project will be opening its doors to the pubic on Friday, December 4th, and I’ll have a special preview later in the week. However, ahead of the opening, the Project is presenting the opportunity for Second Life artists and photographers to particulate in the first ever Dickens Project (non-juried) Art Show.

Specifically, artists are invited to submit up to two pieces of art that include one or more of the following:

  • Scenes taken at,or inspired by, The Dickens Project over the years.
  • Scenes depicting a Victorian Christmas.
  • Scenes of natural winter beauty.

In addition, the Project has limited space for suitable 3D pieces of art that can form a part of the show.

Note that submitted pieces cannot be offered for sale, but all artists will have to opportunity to provide information about themselves, their art and where it might be seen / purchased.

Exhibition Dates

  • Applications: Tuesday, December 1st through Sunday, December 13th inclusive.
  • Set-up: December 14th / 15th.
  • Exhibition opens: Wednesday, December 16th.
  • Opening celebration: 14:00-16:00 SLT, Friday, December 18th, with DJ Gabrielle Riel, broadcasting live on Radio Riel Main Stream.
  • Exhibition closes: Sunday, January 3rd, 2021.

How To Apply

Applications should be made via note card to Willow Moonfire (Starlight Despres). Please include the following information:

  • Your full SL  user name (not your Display Name).
  • Your time zone or best Second Life times to contact you.
  • One of the following:
    • A low-resolution thumbnail “preview” of the piece(s) you wish to submit.
    • An on-line link to where the image(s) or similar samples of your work might be viewed (e.g. Flickr).
  • A brief description of your art & biographical notes on yourself.
  • If relevant,links to any website, Flickr stream or other on-line portfolio you use and any SLurl to your in-world studio / gallery.

Please note that display space is limited, and if the event is over-subscribed, the number of artists able to participate may be capped.

3D artists wishing to participate in the Art Show should contact Willow Moonfire (Starlight Despres), who will also deal with general enquiries on the Show.

A Moonlight Dancer’s story in Second Life

Moonlight Dancer, November 2020

Currently open at the Third Eye Gallery curated by Jaz (Jessamine2108) is Moonlight Dancer, an interactive exhibition by Jaz and Harry Cover (Impossibleisnotfrench). Now, to be honest,this is another exhibit I’m getting to somewhat on the late side (again due to RL commitments), and so it may not be open too much longer – but I do recommend a visit before it closes, as it is something very unique.

The focus of the installation is the story of a young girl who is suffering from Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP).  This is a genetic disorder that causes a decreased ability for the body repair DNA damage such as that caused by ultraviolet light. Visible symptoms include a severe sunburn after only a few minutes in the sun, freckling in sun exposed areas, dry skin and changes in skin pigmentation. These can also occur alongside physical and nerve-related issues such as hearing loss, poor coordination, and loss of intellectual function, while complications can include high risk of skin cancer (with around 50% of young children suffering from the condition developing skin cancer by age ten without preventative measures), cataracts / corneal blindness, seizures, and the potential for sufferers to develop additional cancer, including brain cancer.

There is no cure for the condition, and treatment (outside of cancer treatments, should these occur) comprises protective clothing and sunglasses when outdoors,remaining out of the Sun for as much as possible and vitamin D supplements. The average life expectancy of those diagnosed is around 35 years if no neurological complications occur, or around 28-30 years should neurological complications occur.

Moonlight Dancer, November 2020

Moonlight Dancer presents the story of the girl as nine interactive chapters, each contained within its own display area. Chapters initially appear as an open magazine lying on a bare wood floor that can be read “as is”, but if touched will invite the reader to rez a scene that matches the chapter, creating a 3D scene. Included in this scene is a larger version of the magazine (for easier reading) and a headphones icon.  Chick the latter, and you’ll be able to hear the chapter as read by Fionn Bookmite – just click the offered media play button.

Set in India – where XP has one of its highest incidences – 1 in 370 – and life expectancy is at the shorter end of the range  for those suffering from it, the story follows a young man, Raj who encounters the young girl (Priya), as she dances by Moonlight. Intrigued, he strikes up a conversation with her, and thus starts to learn about her condition. Thus a relationship is struck between them, and we are able to witness its growth whilst simultaneously learning about XP ourselves, and the life those who are afflicted must live, their world a place where not only sunlight can be lethal, but in which just about any source of UV radiation can take its toll: television, computer and mobile ‘phone screens – even electric lights.

I’m not going to give the entire story away – people should visit Moonlight Dancer and follow it for themselves. What I will say is that the story and the installation is exceptionally well done – and quite moving as it builds towards its ending. I’ll also say that it is not merely an info dump about XP: it is also a story of strength, love, hope and light shining within a (quite literal) darkness.

Moonlight Dancer, November 2020
I come from India. I was shocked to learn the high degree of prevalence. We always think that because we have darker skin, it will handle the sun better, but that is not the case. Harry and I were looking at XP casually when I read about the cases in India and it is sad. The heroine in this story is fairly well off, but when it is in the poorer sections of the society it is even worse … And most people are not aware that something like this exists, so Harry and I wanted to make people aware of it.

Jaz, on developing Moonlight Dancer

I understand that Moonlight Dancer will remain open until the weekend of the 5th / 6th December 2020 – and I do recommend you stop by; you can also find more information on XP, including world-wideorganisations helping to treat those affected with it, via Google.

With thanks to Jaz for the invite, and Cale for the reminder to visit.

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Around the World with Trinity Yazimoto and friends

Hoot Suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

Trinity Yazimoto is an artist who at one time featured quite regularly in this blog after I came across her art. However, I’d managed to lose track of her in recent years, so it was with a good deal of pleasure that I received an invitation from Owl Dragonash to drop into her Hoot Suite Gallery to see a selection of Trinity’s work on display.

Having joined SL in 2009, Trinity started as a merchant-creator making women’s apparel “the old fashioned way” – using textures, system layers and flexiprims. Teaching herself GIMP and PhotoShop, circumstance saw her expand her skills to photography in  2013, as she started visiting regions and recording them via images.

As she candidly notes, the computer she was using at the time didn’t have the horsepower to allow her to use (what was then called) Deferred Rendering and shadows – but this didn’t deter her. Instead, after taking her pictures, Trinity turned to PhotoShop, adding the necessary shadows to her work as a part of her post-processing work – at least until she was able to provide herself with a computer with the power needed to allow her to use shadow rendering in-world.

Hoot Suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

Gaining confidence, Trinity started exhibiting her work, first at her own gallery and then via invitations to display her work and through participating in various charity events, although more recently, she hasn’t – sadly – had the time to remain as immersed in SL art as she once was.

In Around the World With My Lil’ Friends, Trinity offers us a series of images  – some new, some from her existing portfolio (although never previously published) –  captured around Second Life that feature, as the title of the exhibition suggests, Trinity’s little animal friends enjoying various activities.

I started this project a few years ago. I always loved the lil bears from “Boogers” and the idea is to take them with me around the world.  They are good company, you know?
P.S. There will probably some more pics to come in the future….

– Trinity on Around the World with My Lil’ Friends.

Hoot Suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

This is a set of 11 pieces split between the two floors of the gallery that show Trinity’s bears and other little friends engaged in everything from a first romantic dinner for two through to racing go-karts and splashing around in a swimming pool or sitting in quiet contemplation, admiring nature – and more.

Each image offers a little story of its own, charmingly framed and easy to follow. Some of these actually spill out of the frame and into the 3D world of the gallery, with several little vignettes of these “lil’ people” set out in the various rooms and on the balcony, in either a continuance of a particular picture or in reflection of it.

This is a genuinely delightful selection of images, complete with engaging audience – and for those who want to see more of Trinity’s lil’ friends, make sure you wander the garden of the gallery.

Hoot suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

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Sisi and Michiel at Kultivate in Second Life

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

Currently open – for a while longer, at least, given I’m getting to this piece very much on the late side! – are two exhibitions by artists I both appreciate and admire: Michiel Bechir and Sisi Biedermann, who between them present two very different, but equally captivating selections of images for visitors to appreciate and, if they so wish, purchase.

Anyone who is familiar with my coverage of the arts in Second Life knows I am enormously inspired by Sisi’s work, which I categorise as some of the most unique and captivating in Second Life. A  digital mixed-media artist, Sisi’s subject matter tends to be wide-ranging, covering everything from the natural world through in-world settings to the fantastical and even touching on the abstract and the near-surreal. This is enough to make her work attention-holding, displaying as they do a richness of imagination, style and colour.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

However, what, for me, makes Sisi’s work doubly captivating is her ability to layer her pieces such that whilst each is a static piece, it has a sense of being alive; there is something inherently tactile about it that makes you want to run your fingers over it and feel the life within.

All of this is very much on display with her selection of art on display at the Kultivate Signature Gallery. There, spread over the three floors of the gallery space are 24 pieces that richly demonstrate Sisi’s artistry, including a ground-level display of six pieces celebrating her visits to a number of famous cities around the world. These are particularly engaging as the both capture the very essence of landmarks from the places Sisi has visited – The Elizabeth Tower (originally the Clock Tower) of London’s Palace of Westminster, The Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, and New York’s Empire State Building and Chrysler Building (appearing twice) should all be instantly recognisable.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

An aspect of these six in particular that I found particularly attractive is that five appear to suggest they have been physically etched rather than photo-layered, and the sixth – with Elizabeth Tower in the foreground – having an also embroidered look to it, thus making these pieces particularly organic in their styling.

The remaining two floors of the gallery hold further pieces of Sisi’s work waiting to engage and en trace. All are richly textured and coloured,  inviting the imagination to take flight.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir
A short walk (or quick teleport) away is the Kultivate Loft Gallery, where Michiel Bechir is currently exhibiting some 32 pieces of his Second Life landscape art, including several in a panoramic format that truly captures the breadth of the regions they represent, whilst four offer a dip into combining landscape with with avatar studies, featuring a subject in period dress suggestive of a Victorian woman of means on her travels.

What I find attractive in Michiel’s work is the manner in which he brings a location to life through camera placement and use of camera angle, always presenting us with a unique view of a place that brings out its natural beauty. His use of post processing also demonstrates a constrained touch that is just sufficient enough to add an evocative edge to his work without becoming top-heavy.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir

For this exhibition, Michiel has taken the opportunity to present his pieces as collections: most of the the display areas between the building’s structural support offer three or four images from the same location – the aforementioned Victorian Lady images, for example, were all captured in Witchwood. Thus, these pieces become more than individual pieces (although they can be purchased as such), but also sets of images that can be purchased and displayed together at home, making them very collectable.

I admit to not being too sure as to how long Sisi and Michiel will remain on display at Kultivate – these were exhibitions that started in September, so I really would recommendation that if they tickle your artistic fancy, you hop over to Kultivate sooner rather than later.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir

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Water Haven is rated Moderate.




Second Life Endowment for the Arts: first grants

via Linden Lab

On Friday, November 2020, the Second Life Endowment for the Arts (SLEA) announced the first group of artists who have been awarded grants to use the new SLEA art facilities in the first six months of 2021.

As I reported in September this year, the SLEA is the successor to the former Linden Endowment for the Arts, which ran from 20091 through until 2019, when the user committee responsible for running it decided to close it down. At the time of the closure announcement, moves were initiated to try to keep the LEA afloat, which transitioned into discussions with Linden Lab to develop a successor – the Second Life Endowments for the Arts.

Operating on a smaller scale than the original LEA, offering an initial group of five regions for art installations: four for region-wide installations and one offering quarter-region art spaces, all of which are supported by a central hub and a sandbox. Grants for the use of the spaces run for between one to six months in duration.

The seven SLEA regions.  Image courtesy of SLEA / LL

The first set of artists selected for the opening round of installations are as per the table below, and include artists who will be also be presenting on the core SLEA region (“Region 7”) – presumably using the SLEA theatre or the Art Challenge space.

Commenting on the selection, Tansee Trillium stated:

Rather than filling out a specific form to apply for a grant, SLEA requested the artist respond in his or her own words the concept of the submission.
Upon the initial review it was realized that a grading system was not necessary as each essay was clear, concise and very detailed and equally befitting of a grant. As the process continued, it was noted that a very interesting pattern was evolving. Out of 19 applications no-one requested a one month grant which made that region flexible for a longer period. The majority of requests were made for 1/4 regions, 8 to be exact.
It was at this point as Coordinator of SLEA, I made what I believe to be a very balanced, mindful decision to fill the first 6 months from January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021 giving each of the applicants the chance to show us their original creations to be on display for others to enjoy, appreciate, be inspired, learn from and most of all represent The Arts.

– Tansee Trillium, announcing the first SLEA grants

The first group of SLEA artists, the dates when they’ll be exhibiting and the regions in which they’ll be exhibiting. courtesy: SLEA

In  addition to the awarding of the first grants, Tansee has announced that the SLEA regions will officially open to the public on New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 2020, with a special “ribbon cutting” event that will include fireworks and particle display, held simultaneously across five regions together with live music, DJ’s, and dancing.

There will also be a special SLEA Grand Opening on Sunday, January 24th, 2021, featuring a special 24-hour Celebration of the Arts. Any artists wishing to participate in this event should contact Tansee or Hannington Xeltentat.

Congrats to all of the participating artists.