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 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.
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.
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.
- The Art of Milly Sharple (Salty Waters, rated Adult)