The digital mastery of Milly Sharple in Second Life

Milly Sharple – November 2022

I found it hard to believe that two years have passed since I last visited an exhibition of Milly Sharple’s fabulous digital art; so when I recently happened across a Landmark to her current gallery, I knew I would have to pay a visit.

For those who may not be familiar with Milly and her work, she is a successful artist and photographer in the physical world. Not only is her art sold on a global basis, it has been used for book and CD cover art, in promotional material, posters for theatrical productions, and even on bank cards. In 2020 she was invited to do a collaboration representing the Covid pandemic with Salvador Dali’s protégé, Louis Markoya.

Milly Sharple – November 2022

Milly joined Second Life in 2008, and established her first gallery the following year. Not content with simply displaying and selling her work in-world, she also established the Timamoon Arts Community, which in its day, hosted over 40 resident artists and was regarded as one of the most successful and popular art communities on the grid before circumstance forced Milly to retire the region on which it was based.

As one of the pioneers in introducing the world of fractal art to Second Life audiences, and while in recent years her work has diversified as she continues to develop and extend her range of artistic expression, fractals have remained an integral part of her creativity. To produce these pieces, she works with Apophysis, and open-source software package which allows her to create soft, flowing, liquid effects that sets her work apart from other, more rigidly geometric fractal art that can also be found displayed within Second Life. It’s an approach that not only acts a a differentiator between her work and other fractal art, it also gives her work a stunningly organic look and feel, rich in life.

Milly Sharple – November 2022

Alongside her fractal pieces, Milly also produces digital portraits that combine her use of organic forms with the human face and body. Flowing with intentionally rich and vivid colour, these pieces have a life that is both connected to, yet utterly separate from, her fractal pieces, containing as they do their own stunning depth of expression. These portraits share the upper floor of the gallery along with pieces that enfold within them elements of abstract expressionism, pure abstractionism and touches of surrealism in a further engaging selection of digital images.

And if this weren’t enough, the gallery offers a rich vein of Milly’s 3D sculptures and pieces. These again fold within them those elements of natural, organic form and multiple artistic genres to offer a rich and engaging select of pieces that work individual and collectively as works suitable for display in one’s own home.

Taken individually or as intentional sets (such as We Didn’t Start the Fire … Or Did We? – a quite marvellous commentary on climate and ecological disasters that can be said to have their roots in our own role in impacting the world’s climate), Milly’s work is always expressive not just visually, but in offering an idea or story.

Milly Sharple – November 2022

Offering the full richness of Milly’s art, a visit to her gallery is a must for anyone interested in either her work or in the potential of Second Life presents to physical world artists to display their work to a global audience.

SLurl Details

Milly Sharple’s Meanderings in Second Life

Meanderings: Milly Sharple at The Janus Gallery

Milly Sharple is a remarkable artist, creator and patron of the arts in Second Life. An artist and photographer in the physical world, she has always enjoyed art and artistic expression, particularly that of fractal art, a technique she started using in 2005.  It’s a medium in which she has gained deserved recognition: she has sold pieces around the globe, had them used as book and CD cover art and as promotional material, and has had her work used on the face of the bank cards issued by an Indonesian bank. Her work has even brought her to the attention of Salvador Dali’s protégé, Louis Markoya, who asked her to collaborate with him.

Milly was perhaps one of the first artists to bring fractal art to Second Life after she joined in 2008. Gaining familiarity with the platform, it became a place where she understandably wanted to exhibit her work, and following her initial exhibitions, she started receiving multiple invitations to display her work. She thus became immersed in the Second Life arts community, establishing her own gallery and also the Timamoon Arts Community, a place where artists could find a gallery home and like minds, and over the course of four years, she grew Timamoon into one of the most successful arts communities in Second Life.

Meanderings: Milly Sharple at The Janus Gallery

For her incredible and expressive fractal art, Milly uses the Apophysis software package, which allows her to create soft, flowing, liquid effects that sets her work apart from other, more rigidly geometric fractal art with which we might be familiar as it is displayed in Second Life. This approach gives her work a stunningly organic look and feel, rich in life and often encompassing the intricate beauty of the Mandelbrot set.

However, Milly is not constrained to only producing fractal art; as a mixed media artist her expressive range is broad and deep – and I have long been an admirer of this aspect of her work as much as I am her fractal art. Indeed, I’m honoured to be able to have a copy of what I regard as one of the most engaging pieces of art in my modest personal collection -her  Woman with Cat – hanging on the wall at our SL home. As  with her fractal work, Milly’s mixed media art couples a rich use of colour with an etching-like finish to bring individual pieces to life in the most incredible manner.

Meanderings: Milly Sharple at The Janus Gallery

I mention all of this because Milly has a new exhibition of work currently being hosted at Chuck Clip’s Janus Gallery, which opened on September 27th.

Meanderings brings together all of the above elements of Milly’s art and adds to it with a selection of her black-and-white portrait studies in a captivating microcosm of her talent. On display are seven large-format fractal pieces (with the patterns of two repeated on benches in the gallery’s two halls, and a third mirrored and inverted in the foyer that so blends with the décor, it might easily be overlooked), eight monochrome portraits and eight mixed-media pieces that are – without being in any way superlative – utterly stunning.

These latter pieces bring together all aspects of Milly’s art: her fractal work, her skills as a portrait artist and her  expressiveness as a mixed media creator; there is a richness of life about them that is utterly absorbing, Similarly, the depth of life in the black-and-white portraits cannot fail to hold the eye; these are pieces that, whether inspired by real people or their images, or have been drawn entirely from Milly’s imagination, not only capture the likeness of the subject, but offer a very real sense of their life essence. Further, these monochrome pieces share a strong sense of narrative flow that can also be found within each of the mixed media pieces, thus presenting a thematic thread to connect them, whilst their arrangement around two of the much larger (and richly organic) fractal pieces offers a natural visual connection to them.

Meanderings: The Mystic and The Flirt (with its hint of Kate Bush) two of the entrancing mixed media pieces presented by Milly at The Janus Gallery
Taken together the three styles of art present within Meanderings offer a rewarding introduction to Milly’s art for those unfamiliar with it whilst also offering a unique thematic and narrative flow through the differing mediums, making this both an engaging and outstanding exhibition.

SLurl Details

The art of Milly Sharple at Holly Kai Park

Holly Kai Park: Milly Sharple

I have long been an admirer of Milly Sharple’s art, and so I’m absolutely delighted to be welcoming her to Holly Kai Park Gallery for an extensive exhibition of her work starting at 15:00 SLT on Sunday, October 28th, 2018 and running through until Saturday, November 24th, 2018.

Milly is perhaps best known for her fractal art, beautiful pieces she produces using Apophysis, software she prefers to use as it allows the creation of soft, flowing, liquid effects that can allow her work to stand well apart from other, more rigidly geometric fractal art in Second Life. What may not be so well-known is that Milly was perhaps one of the pioneers in bringing fractal art into Second Life – although her initial attempts to do so met with some resistance.

I had no idea there was an art community here. But when I discovered it, I became really excited about it! Naturally, my thoughts turned to showing my own work in Second Life, and I made some enquiries only to be met with negative responses, that such are was not “suitable” for SL and was even told fractal art was not “real” art…

– Milly Sharple, discussing her art and Second Life

Holly Kai Gallery: Milly Sharple

Fortunately Milly who has seen her “not real art” fractals used on book covers, CD cover art and even on the cards issued by an Indonesian bank to their customers, as well as selling privately around the globe – did not take the negative feedback to heart. Instead, she established her own modest gallery on her own land, and within 12 months she had received multiple invitations to exhibition her work across Second Life, such was the positive response people had to seeing her work.

Becoming more deeply immersed in the Second Life art community, Milly sought to support that community by establishing Timamoon Arts, a place where artists – especially those new to art in SL or who were using the platform to express themselves through art – could find a gallery home and like minds. Over four years, through until 2017, Milly grew Timamoon into a successful and popular art communities, hosting a rich diversity of artists and exhibitions.

Holly Kai Gallery: Milly Sharple

While her fractal art is perhaps the most well-known, it is not the only art Milly produces; she also works with mixed media, creating art that is both incredibly intricate and stunningly beautiful. The use of colour, coupled with the almost etching-like finish to many of the pieces brings them to life in a remarkable way. Whether floral representations, animal studies or pieces with a more fantasy edge, or presenting an image such as a portrait through the use of fractals, these pieces are utterly captivating.

Second Life has also allowed Milly to turn her hand to 3D art, producing pieces that are both practical as well as art forms, such as her hand chairs; or which is exquisite artistic statements, as with her Humanitree pieces. We’re pleased to have examples of both included within the exhibition at Holly Kai. Nor does it end there; Milly has also justly won praise for her region landscaping, notably with her winter-themed Let It Snow! designs, which she is hoping to continue in 2018.

Holly Park Gallery: Milly Sharple

Multi-talented, with a photographer’s eye for art and design, Milly presents art that is always visually captivating, and it is both an honour and delight that she accepted our invitation to exhibit at Holly Kai Gallery. To mark the opening, we will be hosting an event at the rooftop area of the Holly Kai Gallery from 15:00 SLT on Sunday, October 28th, 2018, with music provided by Joy Canadeo, and warmly invite friends of Milly, the Park and this blog, as well as all lovers of art, to attend. Formal / semi-formal dress preferred.

SLurl Details

Holly Kai Estates is rated Moderate.

Milly Sharple’s new fractal insanity

Fractal Insanity – The Art of Milly Sharple

Update, June 15th, 2018: I received the following from Milly – “I know I said I was staying put for a while but I ran out of space!” So, this being the case, she has relocated her gallery to Serena Montecito, where her art now resides in two buildings, rather than the single build described below. All SLurls in this article have been updated to reflect the new location. My thanks to Milly for letting me know.

I last wrote about Milly Sharple’s extraordinary art in October 2017. At that time, she had – as a result of a huge amount of support  / demand from friends – established a new gallery, after previously announcing she was retiring from Second Life art. A lot has happened since then; for one thing, her gallery of that time has since closed. Gone it may be, but the opportunity to experience Milly’s art as she would like it to be witnessed, has not.

“The old gallery never felt quite right to me,” Milly told me recently, “and I have re-opened a new version of Fractal Insanity – The Art of Milly Sharple at a new venue.”

Fractal Insanity – The Art of Milly Sharple

The new gallery, located in a sky sphere, showcases the rich diversity of Milly’s art. There is – obviously – her marvellously captivating fractal art, both static and animated.  The new gallery, with it predominant use of black and grey, brings these pieces sharply to life, the subdued wall panels and dark block walls bring out the rich depth of colour and contrast of these pieces.

Fractal Insanity – The Art of Milly Sharple – Woman With Cat – quite possibly my favourite of Milly’s pieces on display

Alongside of the fractal art, are pieces of Milly’s work in mixed media. These are also brought into vivid focus by the finish applied to the gallery building.

As much as I am a deep admirer of Milly’s Fractal art – I have to admit her mixed media work is as equally stunning – and quite possibly more enchanting. The use of colour, coupled with the almost etching-like finish to many of the pieces brings brings them to life in a remarkable way. Whether floral representations, animal studies or pieces with a more fantasy edge, or presenting an image such as a portrait through the use of fractals, these pieces are utterly captivating.

The gallery building offer two floors of display place – the ground floor and a mezzanine above. However, this is not all there is on offer, as Milly explains.

“I have closed the roof in to make more space and also added a sky sphere … There are teleporters in the gallery that go to the two extra levels.”

These teleport disks can be found on both of the lower levels of the building. At the time of my visit, the first of the upper levels – reached by teleporting to Rooftop 1 or Rooftop 2 – focused on Milly’s fractal work; the sphere above it, a selection of Milly’s animated etchings, which again should not be missed during a visit.

Finished with 3D art items, some by Milly herself and others modified by her, Fractal Insanity – The Art on Milly Sharple is a very welcome expansion of a public display of Milly’s art, and one which should be seen to be fully appreciated. One which, once seen, is liable to draw the discerning admirer of art back to it time and again. For those who enjoy their time visiting, kitty would appreciate a donation via his jar alongside the coffee machine.

Fractal Insanity – The Art of Milly Sharple

Congratulation to Milly on her new gallery – and my thanks to her for extending an invitation to visit.

SLurl Details

Milly Sharple’s Creations in Second Life

Cynefin – Creations: Milly Sharple

Update: Milly has relocated her work and gallery to Fractal Insanity – The Art of Milly Sharple – see my review here.

I’ve long admired Milly Sharple’s art, as I’ve tended to mention in the past. I’ve reported on her work – which includes region designs as well as art; and along with many others, disappointed to hear she was retiring from Second Life art and shutting down her facilities at Timamoon Arts and Isle of Lyonesse.

However, such was the outpouring of support from those wishing to see Milly continue to display her art in, she relented and established a new gallery called Cynefin, where she is now exhibiting a select of work called Creations.

Cynefin – Creations: Milly Sharple

One of the major attractions for me with Milly’s work is her fractal art; I’ve written about it on numerous occasions, and Creations includes examples among the 52 pieces on display. However it also includes pieces representing her more recent experiments with mixed media, combining her work with fractals with her photography. Also to be found are samples of Milly’s landscape photography from within Second Life – all of which makes Creations a fascinating and worthwhile visit.

The gallery space is set within a single-storey building of modern design which is ideal for exhibiting Milly’s work. A central entrance lobby featuring six pieces of Milly’s more recent work in mixed media, which opens out into two large gallery spaces with rooms for wall-mounted and free-standing displays of Milly’s art.

Cynefin Creations: Milly Sharple

The art itself is, as always, is magnificent; the richness of the pieces has to be seen in order to be fully appreciated. The diversity of styles on display – as is evidenced on entering the lobby space, where one is greeted by six attention-holding pieces – means this is a truly superb exhibition. As such, written words do not do any of the art offered the justice it deserves; nor does picking out any particular piece or group of pieces for specific mention above the others. However …

There is a series of seven female studies which I have to admit completely captivated me with their presence and depth (five are show in the image below). At first appearing as “simple” studies, there is a richness of style within each of them. With some this borders on the abstract, with others there is a hint of Milly fractal work within the mix of human study and floral painting. They are – even by the extraordinary standards of Milly’s art as a whole – stunning.

Cynefin Creations: Milly Sharple

Milly’s work stands as some of the most beautiful art in Second Life – and frankly, the grid could have been a duller place without it.  Seeing her return with a new gallery space, and one so rich in content is both a pleasure to see and a joy to welcome. I’m looking forward to many future visits.