My attention was drawn back to Elven Falls, the art collective operated by Ant (AntoineMambazo) and Ares Hax, with the announcement of an exhibition by Tayren Theas within one of the the collective’s main galleries (Gallery 3). The visit to the exhibition also gave me the opportunity to drop into her boutique gallery, also found within the collective (just on the right as you walk down the main thoroughfare from the landing point towards the three main galleries at the far end).
Tayren has been a Second Life resident for over 15 years, and is both an artist and business owner. As a life-long fan of the fantasy genre, Tayren’s early years in Second Life were marked by establishing her business with designing fantasy clothing. Doing so introduced her to photography in Second Life through the act of modelling her designs, and this allowed her to gradually fold her love of art and drawing held since childhood.
Through her photography – which comprises images captured in Second Life and then post-processed via photoshop and other tools – often presents fantasy women of all types: mermaids, fairies, witches, queens, gypsies and more besides. She also offers landscape images, abstract art pieces, wildlife images and more.
The exhibition within the collective’s Gallery 3 has something of a Valentine’s feel to it, celebrating love and expressions of loving feelings, while presenting a range of images which are engaging in both their richness and in their reflections of the work of classical artists such as Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimit and Czech painter Alphonse Mucha, among others.
Stating with a glorious series of portraits in the foyer of the gallery, the exhibition proceeds to either side (I would recommend turning to the left first), the collection takes you through a journey encompasses the magic of matrimony, the mischief of naughty undies and the marvel of a kiss in its ability to communicate so much between two people.
Within Tayren’s boutique gallery are samples of her broader art, in which can be found the aforementioned landscape, abstract and wildlife art – and more.
This is the first time I’ve witnessed the broadness of Tayren’s work, and believe she offer a unique and rich well of art that is well worth taking the time to visit.
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.
In August 2021 I made my first visit to what was then the Elven Falls Gallery, operated by Ant (AntoineMambazo) and Aires Hax (see A quartet of artists at Elven Falls in Second Life). At that time the gallery was fairly new, and comprised four main buildings, each of two floors, fronted by a sculpture garden for 3D art.
Since that initial visit, Elven Falls has expanded and undergone a name change, becoming the Elven Falls Art Collective, offering an expended arts hub which now includes an option for artists (or those who appreciate living adjacent to an arts venue!) the opportunity to rent one of a number of spacious homes at what is a very modest price.
The Full region on which the collective stands (and which includes the Full private island LI bonus) has been split into two primary areas: to the south and running east-to-west lie the art spaces. To the north, offering the same overall orientation and separated from the art spaces by a channel of water, lay the rental properties.
With the landing point sitting at its eastern end, the arts venue can be very broadly split into four equally engaging areas. To the south lies the Left Bank, a broad, paved area overlooking open waters and off-region islands offering an outdoor display space for (primarily, at least during my visit) 2D artists. To the north, and forming one bank of the intervening channel between the two main parts of the region, sits a meandering sculpture garden that lies beyond the bridge that links arts venue to residential area, and continues all the way to the western end of the region and the Memory Garden.
Between these two sits what I’ll call the “Studio Avenue”, six spaces studio / gallery spaces. They provide something of an “artists-in-residence” parade pointing the way to the main gallery spaces, giving visitors a pleasant opportunity to browse / shop for art along the way to the exhibition spaces.
Forming the fourth element of the art venue, the gallery buildings have been reduced from four to three, but this has been somewhat compensated for by the largest of the three now offering a third floor of exhibition space, reach via the elevator found just outside the front entrance. At the time of my visit, the February exhibition had recently opened, and given the time of year had been given a suitable title: Love is in the Art.
The exhibition features four artists: Fuschia Nightfire, whose vibrant work I have not had the chance to see of late, so it was a pleasure encountering it once more; Nina Camplin, a gifted artist specialising in animal and pet portraiture and who, as well as participating in love is in the Art, is also the official Artist in Residence for Elven Falls; Leiland a physical world artist and photographer whose work spans multiple genres as can be witnessed here; and an artist whose work I believe I was encountering for the first time: Elven Falls Art Collective: Leiland.
All four exhibiting artists offer completely engaging displays of art; as noted, I genuinely enjoyed seeing Fuschia’s vibrant abstractions and sculptures; her work always have a depth and vitality infused into it through motion and colour. Similarly, Nina’s work captures the life and spirit of her subjects perfectly – and she offers the opportunity for anyone with a pet the opportunity to have her make it the subject of one of her pieces; Leiland’s work, meanwhile is so captivatingly broad in style, style and genre it is easy to lose oneself in his gallery space.
And then there is Tarozaemon. His backstory is as rich and engaging as his art – and I recommend a read of his bio, both for its level of storytelling and for the information it supplies on the nature of of fractal art – which forms his artistic forte, as demonstrated in this highly engaging exhibit. Nor does Taro leave the explanations to a note card; within his gallery space he has taken the time to provide a guide to the various fractal types, from the simple Von Koch Curve, through to the perhaps most famous of them all: the Mandelbrot set, passing by way of the Julia set and others,. It adds a further depth of appreciation for his work – and if you are not familiar with the mathematical and natural form of the fractal, I high recommend a visit.
For those interested in the Elven Falls rental accommodations, these all take the form of Cain Maven’s expansive Cranmore house. Six such units are offered, each within its own garden (but not its own parcel), laid out around a communal swimming pool and terrace. Sufficient room is provided between the houses such that local chat won’t carry between them, and each has a waterside view to the rear aspect. At L$200 per week for rent, they are offered semi-furnished (kitchen and bathroom) and have 200 LI included. At the time of my visit, two units were still available for interested parties.
Offering a rich and diverse selection of art and artists, Elven Falls is an engaging community hub that continues to grow both in that broadness of art on display, and through its design and layout.
Elven Falls Gallery, operated and curated by Ant (AntoineMambazo) and Aires Hax, is a relatively recent venture to arrive on the Second Life art scene, offering four galleries spaces for art exhibitions, and a growing sculpture garden for 3D work. The majority of the gallery spaces each offer two floors in which artists may display their work, with all four halls currently being occupied by a quartet of artists who offer displays that are fully engaging, whether taken individually or collectively.
Sisi Biedermann is an artist I’ve often covered in these pages; so much so that it is probably well known to regular readers that I find her once of the most engaging, evocative and remarkable artists in Second Life; her work apparently knows no boundaries, and she is ever-willing to engaging in genres and and experiment with styles, approaches finishes, whilst her subjects involve everything from the natural world through in-world settings to the fantastical and even touches on the abstract and the near-surreal. Thus, her exhibitions are often a voyage of discovery even for those who are familiar with her work.
At Elven Falls, Sisi offers what I’m going to call a triptych (and admittedly using the terms a little loosely in this case) exhibition, in that it comes in three parts – two of which are very definitely connected. These are on the lower floor of the hall, where Sisi takes us on a walk through two well-tended gardens. The English garden to the left that has the inevitable neatly mown lawns and rose bushes (as well as other floors), while to the right we pass through a Chinese garden with water features.
Given Sisi is a photographic artist and a painter, I’ve no idea if these images started as the former and were then processed in to the latter, or began as acrylic-based paintings; but the truth is, this doesn’t matter: all of the pieces are given a slightly surrealist bent that makes them captivating in their beauty. Meanwhile, on the upper floor of the gallery, Sisi exchanges the peace and beauty of the garden for another world entirely, that of Steampunk in all its mechanical and Victorian glory. A stunning collection of digital images finished as etchings, these images sit as a kind of middle panel in this “triptych”, straddling the two, offering a further demonstration of Sisi’s range of artistic expression.
JudiLynn India also needs no introduction here, also being an artist whose work never fails to attract my attention. A painter focusing on abstract work, she has been active in Second Life as an artist since 2010, and her work never fails to catch the eye with its form and richness of colour.
At Elven Falls, Judilynn splits her display into four parts. Three (two on the lower floor of her exhibition space and one on the upper), each present sets of 12 original pieces, Defined as sets in terms of colour, they are offered for sale on the basis that when sold, the purchaser takes the original from the gallery, leaving a blank space. The rest of the space offers a more “traditional” – displays of JudiLynn’s art in which the purchaser receives a copy, and the original remains on display. Whether original or copies, all of these pieces again demonstrate the richness of JudyiLynn’s abstract work.
Should one call Kraven Klees an artist or an illusionist, is a question that often comes to min when viewing his work.
Working in mixed media this incorporates digital manipulation and techniques that include fractal abstraction, digital impressionism and a touch (in places) of surrealism, he more that qualifies as the former. Yet in his finished work, there is something more; these are works that speak not so much of conscious focus in their creation as they do of abstracted automonism. Such is the unconscious foundation within his work, Kraven’s pieces also call for a pareidolic or apophenic response from the observer as the eye moves from perceiving each image as a whole to focusing on its parts and back again.
Here, Kraven presents a range of his art that can be fully appreciated on both levels – use the teleport disk outside of the main gallery building and between the halls holding the exhibitions by JudiLynn and Sisi in order to reach the upper levels of the gallery.
Faith Maxwell is an artist whose work is new to me, despite the fact she has exhibited widely in a Second Life. Working in both 2D and 3D formats, she produces the most engaging pieces as wall-mounted art and free standing sculpture that range from the abstract to contemporary in style, passing by way of Modern Art. These are piece that, whether animated or static, have a richness of life about them that is immediately apparent, drawing the to each in turn to appreciate its beauty and form.
Smaller than the exhibits by the other artists, occupying just a single level of gallery space, this is nevertheless as an engaging a display of work as the others, toe smaller number of pieces allowing the eye and mind to feel more settled in viewing them.