Now open at Holly Kai Gallery, in the first exhibition of our new season, is The Art of Lu: Fantasy and Nature, featuring the art of Lu Anne Anatine (LeeLu Anatine). It’s an exhibition I am absolutely delighted about, as I’ve been enthralled by Lu Anne’s art since I first encountered it at an exhibition at Diomita Plaza Gallery / R&D Gallery (read here for more).
A professional illustrator and digital artist in the physical world, Lu Anne produces some of the most stunning art I’ve had the privilege to see in Second Life. Her work is deeply nuanced; each image stands on its own as an incredible work of art, while many of them suggest that are actually a frame of a much broader story or tale we are invited to let our imaginations weave.
This is particularly evident in the fantasy images. They offer us glimpses into other worlds, some of which may be from fiction, as with the marvellous Alice, other of which might be born straight from Lu’s own imagination and which feature elven folk and merfolk and more.
The use of birds and flowers within these images links them directly to the selection of nature art Lu has provided for the exhibition – and I was delighted to see Colours of Winter among the latter: this hangs in our lounge at home. It’s a piece that ably illustrates Lu’s use of colour – even when used almost minimally or in muted tones – as a means of giving a generous depth to her work.
Throughout all of her art, Lu offers a wonderful mix: these are richly digital images, and yet each one is alive; as alive as it might have been if the subject had been captured in real life via a photograph. It’s not hard to image the coal tit of Colours of Winter flittering rapidly away from its perch a moment after its image had been captured, or to have the merman reach out a hand to help guide you in Swimming Lesson. This breath of life is achieved through Lu’s compositional technique with her work.
The materials I use are a traditional and digital mix of mediums. I will render in graphite the line work for the paintings then scan them into Photoshop so then I can paint digitally. I use a Wacom Cintiq to paint and the programs I use cross between Photoshop and Corel Painter. I may even use other traditional mediums like water-colour as an under painting that gets scanned as well the possibilities are endless …
– Lu Anne Anatine on creating her art
It’s an honour to have Lu Anne with us at holly Kai Park, and The Art of Lu will be open through until October 13th, 2018, and I invite you all to come along to Holly Kai Gallery and witness her work first hand – you will not be disappointed!
I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks re-working Holly Kai Park. This came about for a couple of reasons: I found that trying to run this blog, spend time relaxing in-world with Caitlyn (and running the bar) as giving time to that “real life” thing, meant trying to organise up to six artists per month to exhibit at the park each month got to be just a little too much. So for the last several months I’ve been mulling over precisely what to do with the park and pulling at the threads around the edges with little changes here and there.
In the end, it was a visit to Erebos Harbor (which you can read about here) that spurred an idea for me. Not to try to replicate that outstanding build by Leaf and Julz, but rather take the idea of an observatory and use that as the focal point for a new gallery space and revised park layout. And not just any observatory; there is one in particular I’ve always loved visiting when on the West Coast of the USA, which has a design I find captivating: Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. So a lot of my time for around the last 10 days has been focused on in-world building and poking and prodding with ideas.
Things still aren’t entirely finished – there are the inevitable nips and tucks, and one or two things may yet be tweaked, but hopefully the news design and layout for the park is now complete. This being the case, and allowing for said tweaks and the cleaning-up of sawdust from prim cutting and the shavings from mesh trimming, I’d thought I’d offer a note about what’s been done so far.
As noted above, the gallery building has been inspired by the major elements of the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles California – as I hope those familiar with that building will recognised. It’s not an exact replica of the Griffith; essentially I’ve taken the two main wings with their telescope domes, the main entrance and the rotunda of the planetarium and cut away some of the structure to the rear of the original (and all the underground bits!). I’ve also (for now!) left out the external stairways up to the roof and the telescope domes.
Inside, the design encompasses four linked parts: the foyer / entrance area, two gallery spaces contained within the building’s wings and an events space in the rotunda at the back of the building for exhibition openings. The gallery spaces can either be used for individual exhibits of art (allowing Holly Kai to display two artists at a time) or for a single display spanning both wings. It’s a little Spartan inside as of now, as I’m still mulling over interior fixtures and lighting.
Just below the gallery is a large terrace area with lawns and cypress trees. This is currently home to two interactive 3D art installations: Ice Castle by Giovanna Cerise and Reflections at Midnight by Frankx LeFarve; a smaller piece by Frankx is also displayed on one of the lawns. This terrace and lawns will be used to present 3D art from various artists and friends quite separately from any exhibitions within the gallery.
Given this is a radical makeover for the park, we have a new landing point. This is located within a new information centre, which might be a little cramped, so we’ll see how it goes and perhaps move it outdoors if people find it an issue. The info centre is still being equipped, but there is a large map of the park on one wall to allow visitors to get oriented, and which has information on the park and on Seanchai Library, whom we’re honoured to have as partners sharing the grounds with us.
The map has a couple of active web links in it – click the blue URLs to go to either the Holly Kai Park website and blog or to Seanchai Library’s website. Once things have settled down and the sawdust from cutting prims has been cleared away, active teleport links will be added to the map as well.
Also in the centre is a donations kiosk for Feed A Smile. We don’t take venue tips at the park, but we do ask that those who enjoy a visit to consider making a donation of L$100 at the kiosk (one the others to be found at various points in the park and its facilities) to help feed a young child in Kenya – and yes, as incredible as it may sound, L$100 is enough to provide a Kenyan child with a hot meal!
Between the information point and the Gallery terraces, is a “mid-level” terrace. This is home to the Holly Kai Café, with seating indoors and out (and I may be expanding the outdoor area to create a little more room! I also have a small studio area on this level for my SL photographs.
Getting between the terraces is achieved via the stairways – just look for the stone steps on the east side waterfront and follow the grass paths – everything is signposted as well!
One of the things that has bugged me about the park design – and it’s been entirely my fault – is that on the east side it’s always felt as if it’s not a single park area, but three distinct parts of a region that aren’t really related other than by position: the Art Hill, with Seanchai Library to the south, and Caitinara Bar and the Medici Collection – 2D and 3D art from Nber Medici’s personal collection – to the north.
Replacing the Art Hill with the new design has allowed me to rectify this. Paths from the gallery and its terraces now directly link to Seanchai Library and to the Medici Collection (the former path also giving access to the Park Walk that leads via an under-tree trail to the Pavilion and our bumper boats pool). This will, I hope mean that these three elements now feel part of a contiguous park looking out over the water.
Caitinara Bar, meanwhile, has been re-oriented to face the park’s bay with its piers for visiting boats. It also has an expanded outdoor seating area which linking it to one of the ways up to the gallery terraces. All of this will hopefully again make the bar feel more a part of the park as a whole. As a result of this, there’s also an updated landing point for Caitinara Bar.
The piers have mooring for up to 2 hours – small to medium-sized boats are welcome. Boats can be r-e-rezzed in the waters between the piers, if required.
There have been some revisions to the Pavilion events area on the west side of the park. At the time of writing, this is still a work in progress, with potential further changes to be made as we strive to make this a more flexible area of a wide variety of events. The landing point, however, remains unchanged and also serves the park’s bumper boats.
These changes have obviously resulted in some extensive changes to the park itself. However, the park walk looping around the base of the gallery hill remains in place, and offers the way to various secluded spots visitors are free to enjoy.
So that’s it! I’m still working on bits here and there, as noted, but if you fancy dropping by, you’re welcome to so so and as of today unlike to find the grounds cluttered with bits of mesh or face the risk of a building suddenly rezzing overhead – or the ground beneath you suddenly moving (or vanishing!).
All location are on Holly Kai Estates, rated: Moderate
The Second Nautical Smile event in aid of Feed A Smile / Live and Learn Kenya takes place on Saturday, April 14th, 2018. Organised and hosted by Rossini Events.
The event will take place at The Pavilion, Holly Kai Park, and will feature seven hours of live music starting at 11:00 SLT, from some of Second Life’s top entertainers.
The event schedule at the time of writing is as follows. For updates and the latest news, please follow the Rossini Events link above. All times SLT.
All proceeds go directly to Feed A Smile via the donation kiosk.
About Feed A Smile
Feed A Smile is a programme run by Live and Learn Kenya (LLK) to provide nutritious warm lunches for over 400 children every day, paid for entirely from donations to the project. It is part of a broader programme managed by LLK, which includes finding sponsors to finance the education of children in Kenya, helping to provide them with everything they need: uniforms, shoes, text books, school supplies, etc., and even building a school in Nakuru, Kenya.
In addition, the organisation also provides medical and dental care for children, including check-ups and vaccinations. 100% of the donations received by LLK are transferred directly to Kenya to care for children, provide education, medicine, food, shelter and foster care. Nothing is lost to salaries, fees or administrative costs at LLK.
About Rossini Events
Rossini Events was established in July 2016, and is managed by MichaelJ Rossini. Organising private and public events in Second Life. Rossini Events especially prides itself on charity fund-raising, with monthly events supporting Feed a Smile, Relay for Life and Making Strides. Everyone involved in Rossini Events donates their time free of charge, and every penny raised goes directly to the charity concerned. For further information, please contact MichaelJ Rossini in-world, or email to michaeljrossini-at-gmail.com.
In February, Holly Kai Park went through a revamp, which included the introduction of a new subterranean Caitinara Bar. When I started on the park re-design, Caitlyn and I mulled over numerous ideas for taking the bar underground, including looking at various ideas for containing an entire building within a rocky structure. In the end, nothing seemed to fit until we opted for the “subway” style of layout we’ve had in place since February.
However, if I’m totally honest, the front façade of the club hasn’t entirely sat well with me; the cave-like entrance fitted the broad theme of the club being within a rocky plateau, but it didn’t really draw attention to the place. Simply put: if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t know it was there; Which is a bit of a shame, given the public waterways passing by the park. The problem has been what to do about it.
I didn’t really come up with an answer until CAitlyn and I visited BarDeco and Kekeland, the fabulous region designed by Dandy Warhloll (Terry Fotherington) and Belle des Champs (Bridget Genna) (see my review here). As soon as I saw the façade they’d created, I realised what Caitinara Bar was lacking. So taking their idea, I set out to see what I could do with it, and dropped them both a line to let them know what I was doing.
My first port of call was to ArmyStone’s store. He produced the façade used at BarDeco, and frankly, I wanted to use the same item, just modified somewhat to suit our needs. It comes in a pack of units, and I wasn’t sure if it would be something the creator would be prepared to modify as a one-off. My concern was ill-founded. Not only was he more than willing – the work was done within 24 hours of my request being made, the only condition being I bought an entire version of the kit (for the same retail price – L$600) containing the updated section. This also turned out to be a benefit, as looking at the other items, the idea of a complete rebuild of the club presented itself to me, from dance floor, through bar to art display area.
So, cutting a long story short, the new bar design is now up and running. For those familiar with the “old” design, the club is smaller than it was – which is no bad thing. It’s also now spilt into three areas: the dance floor (with a mezzanine gallery above the entrance), flanked on either side by a new saloon bar and the art display area.
The idea for the snug-style saloon bar came as a direct result of another of the buildings in the pack from ArmyStone: a wall with an ornate lintel over the doorway simply demanded to be used. I also had a wall panelling set from LISP I’d never put to use, and that fitted the idea of the saloon bar perfectly. With additional table and wall lighting from Maxwell Graf, we were all set.
We’re not planning any kind of grand opening or suchlike, but we do hope those visiting the park will pop in to Caitinara and have a look around – and if the mood takes, hop along to either our Wednesday or Friday music evenings, both of which start at 4:00pm SLT. Should you do so, projected lighting is used throughout the design (as it was in the “old” bar), so a visit with Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled is recommended (you doe not have to enable performance-killing shadows to see projected lighting effects). If your Windlight doesn’t change on entering the bar structure, please flick over to Midnight as well.
Caitinara Bar, Holly Kai Park (Holly Kai Estates, rated: Moderate)
Saturday, August 5th marks the opening on the August edition of Art at the Park at Holly Kai Park, which run through until Sunday, September 3rd.
The artists who have accepted our invitations to display at the park through the month are: Dido Haas, Cecilia Nansen Mode and Jes Mode, Wintergeist and our 3D artist for the month, Diamond Marchant. You can read more about them below.
The opening of the exhibition will be marked by a party, with Joy Canadeo providing the music from 2:00pm SLT onwards. The dress code is smart / formal, and we invite all those so minded to attend.
About the Artists
Dido really needs no introduction, as words simply aren’t enough to describe her. She’s a long-standing artist in Second Life, having enjoyed her first public exhibition of her work in 2012. Not long afterwards, she and her partner, Nitro Fireguard started the Nitroglobus gallery, with Dido taking on the role of gallery curator and manager, although she and Nitro both showed their work there.
Nitroglobus quickly built a reputation as one of the foremost galleries in Second Life, and it was through visiting the exhibitions there that I first met Dido. She has a gift for finding some of the most unique talents in Second Life and getting them to exhibit, and I’ve long enjoyed covering her exhibitions at the gallery in these pages.
Sadly, Nitro passed away in 2015, bringing the original Nitroglobus gallery to a close. However, Dido continues to curate art exhibitions through Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, which continues to host some incredible exhibitions, as well as commemorating Nitro himself through the display of many of his mesh sculptures. The gallery also continues to be the home of music events every Sunday at the Nitroglobus Cafe. Between managing all that, Dido continues with her own photography, and we’re delighted to have her at Holly Kai Park.
I first encountered the work of Cecilia Nansen Mode and Jes Mode almost simultaneously, if quite coincidentally at two separate exhibitions in the same month. Jes was exhibiting at DixMix Gallery, and Cecilia at Artful Expressions, run by my dear friend, Sorcha Tyles. I was immediately struck by their art, and discovering they are SL partners encouraged me not only to invite them to exhibit at the park, but to ask that they do so together as a part of our occasional “partners” invitations.
For the August exhibition, they’ve taken this invitation quite literally, and are presenting a joint exhibition under the title One Love, One Life. Across the two display areas, “the Modes” display images of a loving relationship which has forging a shared passion for photography. They are a combination of the cold North and the warm South. The dramatic and the calm. The expressive and the subtle. Together they are tied by a deep and profound connection, which shows in their pictures, both when working together, as well as individually.
Jes has a history of photography in RL with some knowledge as well as experience. He restarted after some years as a photographer, this time in SL and is slowly finding his own style and personal expression, with mainly black and white pictures. Cecilia started a little over a year ago as a SL photographer and is slowly finding her own style, still experimenting and learning day by day. Together they support, mentor, teach and are each others first filter of approval in a balance of synergy and seeing each other grow.
If you are interested in seeing more from their work, please visit their Flickr streams:
Diamond Marchant is, in the physical world, a photographer and software developer. In SL, she creates boat and sail textures for the sailing community as well as numerous fishing products.
I first became aware of her interest in building models at SL13B, when she exhibited a Mars lander. For SL14B she was even more ambitious, building a simply stunning and exceptionally accurate model of NASA’s Cassini orbiter, which for the last 13 years has been adding immeasurably to our understanding of Saturn and its moons.
2017 is a special year for the Cassini mission, as it brings to an end the work of this remarkable probe, which has been in operation some 20 years from launch to the present day, including a 7-year journey from Earth to Saturn (by way of Venus, Earth and Jupiter). Right now Cassini is in the Grand Finale part of its mission, orbiting Saturn over its poles and repeatedly diving between the planet and the innermost of its magnificent rings. In September, not long after the exhibition at Holly Kai closes, Cassini, its manoeuvring fuel all but used up, will enter the upper reaches of Saturn’s atmosphere and burn up, forever becoming a part of the planet it has observed and studies for so long.
Of the model presented at Holly Kai – which is interactive (touch the probe itself and almost make sure you try the media links) – Diamond says, “Spacecraft modelling is a new thing for me. I was inspired to build the Cassini orbiter after seeing the 3D model on their website and noticing that the shapes on the orbiter are similar to the shapes you can make out of system prims.”
Wintergeist, aka Fuyuko Amano, is both a photographer and gallery curator at the Club LA and Gallery. Her photographic work spans both the physical and digital worlds. In the physical world, she started with photography when she was about 10, and it has remained a passion for her. When she started playing video games, she realised their potential for photography and started experimenting and developing an approach to digital imaging, which in turn led to her modding game environments and taking pictures of them.
Then she discovered Second Life. After initial resistance to it, she signed-up – and became immersed in SL photography.
“What do I like in pictures?” she asks rhetorically. “I do love colours – strong colours, contrast and a motif that is more than the simple ‘my avatar in front of fancy background’. Mostly I don’t know beforehand what kind of picture I want to do. When I see a motif, I get a vague idea of angle and composition and I try to capture that. Sometimes it works, but I am far from perfect. I haven’t reached my goal to make the perfect picture. I guess that is even something no one can achieve….. but, you can try.”
As I recently blogged on the Holy KiaPark blog, but will repeat here in sort for those who may not read that blog, we’ve announced two new things at the park over the course of the past week.
The first is a light-hearted attraction, with the arrival of bumper boat at the park 🙂 . The boats come in two flavours – those for just mucking about on the water and bumping one another free-form, and those for playing a team game of Bumper Buoy.
In both cases, the boats are free to use, and can be found at the Bumper Boat Pool on the west side of the park, near the Pavilion live events venue (you can reach them via the park’s teleport mirrors).
Those wishing to just putter about on the water can rezz a boat from the Bumper Boat rainbow rezzer. This will assign a random colour and number to each boat. Simply jump into the boat, select your seating size (adult, child or TD for Tiny), and off you go – use the ARROW keys for movement forward / back / turning.
If you visit the park with a group of friends, you can have a game of Bumper Buoy. This features two teams who select either red or blue boats and goals, and then try to push a yellow marker buoy into the other side’s goal. The first team to achieve a pre-determined number of goals wins! Full instructions can be obtained from the giver board under the Bumper Buoy scoreboard.
However, the big news for us at Holly Kai Park is the announcement that Seanchai Library is in the process of becoming a part of the Holly Kai Park family!
The Library, one of Second Life’s oldest spoken word programmes in Second Life, now in its tenth year, is currently moving into now accommodations in the south-east corner of Holly Kai Park, which has been re-landscaped for them. A new headquarters building is already in place and is being furnished, and Seanchai will be switching their weekly programme of events there from Sunday, June 25th, 2017. The new facilities can be reached by foot along the park’s trails (follow the Seanchai signs!), or via the park’s teleport mirrors.
The move is a natural progression for Seanchai Library, who have been hosted by the Community Virtual Library (CVL) at Bradley University since 2010. However, it doesn’t mark the end of the Seanchai Library / CVL relationship – both organisations will continue to work together on projects in the future. Rather, it marks the fact that both organisations are moving in new directions and facing new opportunities.
For Holly Kai Park, the move is a further natural evolution in our relationship with Seanchai Library, who have been a part of the Park’s activities since 2016, organising and running the Stories at the Park afternoons which form a part of our Art at the Park events (themselves resuming on June 24th). They also hosted a Halloween round of storytelling at the Park in October 2016, and were participants in the recent Filling the Cauldron event.
You can read more about the move in the official press release, and we’ll have news on Seanchai events and activities on the Holly Kai blog as the new season opens. For may part, I’m delighted to be able to welcome Seanchai Library to the park, and I’m looking for to working with Cale, Shandon and the team to bring Voice events to Holly Kai as a part of our drive to support the arts in SL.