Sl photography is a popular subject – as any casual glance through Flickr with the search tags of “virtual worlds”, “SL” “Second Life” and similar will reveal. There are many styles and subject matter of SL photography to be sure, but it not unreasonable to say that fantasy art is one of the more popular fields of endeavour, be it through avatar studies or the recording of the many fantasy environments that have graced the platform over the years.
It’s therefore fitting that Fantasy Faire embraces this wellspring of individual creativity each year by offering Second Life photographers and artists the opportunity to display their work. And one again, Fantasy Faire 2019 offers two gallery spaces where art can be appreciated.
The first can be found at Fairelands Junction, and is itself in two parts: the image gallery, located in the ruined structure that houses the Fairelands portals, and the Worldlings display, located in the rock formation upon which the ruins sit. The second gallery can be found within the Genesia Arts and Performance region.
Forty 2D artists are presented within both the gallery spaces, and as with previous years, the focus for art is on avatars and fantasy, with the official blog noting:
The galleries focus on various fantasy avatars within Second Life, celebrating the freedom from the mundane, showing how in here you can be whatever you wish to be, your true self.
The focus continues to be variety in fantasy forms, inspiration in character creation and talent in photographic arts.
A full list of the artists participating in the exhibition can be found in the link above, so I won’t repeat the list here. However, what I will say is that the art is remarkable for its richness of imagination and presentation. Many pieces are obviously influenced by popular fantasy genres – there are a number that clearly draw from the Likes of J.R.R. Tolkien and G.R.R. Martin, for example. This isn’t a critique, as it is always interesting to see people put their own slant on popular fantasy; but for me the magic of many of the pieces is in their depiction of settings entirely born from the imaginations of their creators – such as with The Call of the Forest, by Aleriah (shown above).
The art at Genesia is displayed within yet another remarkable region setting by Haveit Neox & Lilia Artis, as the Art and Performance region at this years Faire. This stands as a work of art in of itself, and should be explored for its incredible creativity, both above and below the water, and the way it offers a link to past Fantasy Faires in its overall design.
The gallery space for Genesia sits on the outer path of the region, with art displayed on rock walls or held aloft by elephants and stork-like birds, the path leading the way around to the main performance area.
Meanwhile, the 3D Worldlings art can be found, as noted, in Faireland Junction. Described as the “Fairelands That Could Be”, the Worldings are seven realms-as-dioramas suggesting possible Fairelands as imagined by their creators: Kerryth Tarantal, Faust Steamer, Colemarie Soleil, Bonny Greenwood, Ameshin Yossarian, Bee Dumpling and Beryl.
These dioramas – at least one of which is interactive – offer windows into the imaginations of the Fairelands (and region) creators behind them. Whether any of them might be expanded out to become a full Fairelands setting in the future is open to question; but I admit, I wouldn’t mind seeing Faust Steamer’s idea (above) fleshed out and given form!
I often am prone to comment with these art exhibitions that when it comes to the 2D art – and allowing for the subject being that of fantasy avatars – it’s a shame that the net isn’t cast a little wider to more generally encompass fantasy settings in Second Life; there are, after all, a fair few. There is also as vast catalogue of images of past Fantasy Faires – so it would be nice to see some broader celebration of fantasy art that can be created within SL beyond a purely avatar focus.
Nevertheless, given how easily an art exhibition can be overlooked with so much else occurring at Fantasy Faire, I do very much recommend that anyone who enjoys Second Life art and photography stop by the galleries at Fairelands Junction and Genesia.