Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Taralyn Gravois contacted me a few months ago asking if I wanted to exhibit my preliminary sketches for the builds I make in Second Life. I was intrigued and began searching my sketchbooks for all my little brainstorming doodles. I have boatloads of sketches ranging from 20 second drawings to finished paintings or encaustic sculpture.

Early Daughter of Gears

You can see a few versions of the Daughter of Gears here, and I think there are four of five more at the exhibit.
The Daughter of Gears

Here above is a wax and wire music box Mayfly which inspired me to make the Mayfly in Second Life.  You can see them in the video below.  The mayfly really does have a poetic life.  They live as larvae in the mud then for one day sprout wings.  At the end of that day they die.  Often they are reborn without mouths as they just are not needed when you have just hours to live.  Its almost tragic to give them the ability to fly for such a short time.

Below is Zinger the Rocket Dog.  This advert was for Condos in Heaven but was also meant to be an introduction to a character for a later story which I have not made yet.  It is the story of Mr Lightbulb which you will only know if you came to Immersiva a year ago or so.  My very first machinima (which is terrible) was of Mr Lightbulb.  If you really want to see my first machinima it is here its brutal though, I didn't even take off the screen border for it.  Or my huds and things.

Condos In Heaven

For Condos in Heaven I created a large back story for the build in conceptual adverts that described the state of the society in that alternate world.  Essentially the build is about the human race accidentally finding Heaven after sending out a satellite probe.  It touched on ideas about our values and questioned what that line was which we wouldn't cross in our search for resources.  In my story we make war on Heaven and win.  During the war we use propaganda to convince the population that really its not wrong what we are doing.  We cut off angel wings for the wealthy to wear as accessories.  The height of fashion is to wear a Halo.  And of course the greatest achievement in life is to have a Condo in Heaven.  Also in the story Satan is caught harbouring God.  It's an unlikely alliance but necessary.

You can click on any of the images if you want to read the text.  Also I apologize for the shoddy look of the post but blogger sometimes changes things.  I can set things up just so, and then when I publish old drunken Blogger plops things down wherever it wishes.

Sketch for Vessel's Dream

BambiTwice Nitely was kind enough to give Taralyn land to create her first gallery.  An interesting part to the show was that Tornado gallery actually has a Tornado which comes during the show to tear everything to bits.  It was fun and unique to have a Tornado suddenly arrive during the opening to suck up all the avatars.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#8 Soleil

ColeMarie Soleil has been performing in Second Life for a long time now. Since I have known her she has moved several times and pretty much has a suitcase of possessions. Things don't mean alot to her, it's all about people. In contrast there are others such as me who have boxes of valentines cards which they haven't looked at since grade 2, but feel the need to carry them about from apartment to apartment for some reason. She has a freedom uncommon in our materialistic world. And through her I have been inspired by some of the truly generous people that make up Second Life.
Cole was trained in violin, but tends to use whatever instrument is available to her at the time. Her hands are too small for a guitar but most of us know and love her intimate acoustic guitar shows. One day I was building and she was practicing. I recorded her singing without her knowing and this is what I got. Cole practicing
This is also without proper filters and microphones etc. It's just her singing in front of a computer. Most performers have fancy little dodads to purify their work and there is nothing wrong with that, but I always like to hear directly from the source sometimes and this is one of those.
Cole met Tasuku Ghost and that meeting is an example of what makes SL unique. Tasuku is from Japan and at the time had very limited english. I think it is safe to say they never would have met had it not been for SL, other side of the world, language barrier and so on. But they did meet and overcame the obstacles to create the band Soleil. I was blown away when Cole sent me some of Tasuku's music compositions. I used one of his pieces in a machinima called Format which you can listen to here if you want to listen to the pre-cole sound he created.
For the last six months they have been working together creating their first album. In support of this album and their live performances Ayaka Ochello created a wonderful set with Cole doing a particle performance composed for each song. Each performance is almost a narrative with acts or stages. So not only is their album brilliant but they also have used the unique traits of SL to create a compelling experience for those who come to the shows. Some would say that its just the music which is important, yet there have always been those who try to go further (Pink Floyd for example). What is nice to see about Soleil is that its not just a SL phenomenon. They have become wildly popular in a short time despite not playing for the last few months as they work on new material, but they also have had acclaim from media outlets which have no idea what SL even is. If you are one of the few who have not yet heard Soleil then you have a range of places to go to have a listen. From the itunes store to bandcamp. I know you can preview the songs at Bandcamp but you probably can at itunes as well.

#8 from 2008 Jojo Runoruno's Pervy Room

#8 from 2009 The Cornfield by Linden Labs

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#9 Dekka Raymakers "We are not in the world"

When I come across Dekkas work I often feel that there is a blend of influences combined with his own distinct direction of self introspection. I often see what I think is inspiration from the Kinetic art movement of the 1950's and Dada. I sometimes am reminded of the work of Jean Tinguely, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Alexander Calder (bottom video) and their mobiles. While Calder made automatic abstract art creation machines and self-destructing machines, Dekkas fine constructions remind me more of the form rather than the function. They seem to be elaborate time machines or other unknown constructs with mysterious purposes.
On the other side is what I believe to be Dekkas fascination and obsession with his own past. The elements in his life that shaped him, both good and bad. Many of us naturally look outwards at others and form opinions, but I think Dekka often creates introspective environments based off his own psyche. I believe he looks at himself with interest the same way we observe others.
what I like about this type of build is that it really doesn't matter if what I say above is correct or not. What it allows for is to have the viewer poke and prod about, actively interpreting what they believe to be the meaning of the work. It doesn't matter if our insights are correct, what matters is that they were able to interact creatively. A movie tells us a story. To make sure we don't get it wrong it also gives us images to support the words. A book tells the story, but we use much of our own creativity to put faces to characters or voices to them. We imagine the environments that are described. We have lots of creative freedom in a book. In SL we can give words and let people explore in whatever direction they wish to go. With Dekka he gives us images rather than words and we create the story. We shuffle through the drawers and look under the bed and use our own creativity to devise a narrative.

#9 from 2008 Spiral Walcher's "Tunnel of Light"

#9 from 2009 Grace McDunnough's "Mummersion"

The build has been graciously hosted by Rose Borchovski below....
Slurl ....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

#10 Colin Fizgigs Avatars

  Second Life is the land of free plastic surgery.  Well free if you perform it on yourself that is, you can also buy body shapes from body vendors or skins from your local epidermis emporium.  My avatar seems quite tiny but is actually my rl height (which is short) but SL is also the land of free growth hormones so standing beside someone who is 7 foot tall is not uncommon.  I would guess that approximately 75% of the residents of SL are human.  It might even be higher.  I began SL as a big white moth I got from avatar maker Flea Bussys shop Grendels Children.  Nobody really warmed up to me though, likely because I didn't wear a low cut thorax.  Maybe it was my compound eyes, I don't know.  Nobody at the club wanted to dance with big white moth.

     I love the creativity of non human avatars, Flea Bussy as I said makes them, Madcow Cosmos makes some really nutty ones.  UB Yifus avatar is of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, a Picasso sketch.  Yoa Ogee and Yeti Bing make some great ones too.  Colin Fizgig is not strictly an avatar maker.  The previous work I had seen from him was one of M.C. Eschers lithographs made into a 3D build.  He seems to work on a variety of things and being somewhat of a hermit himself it's really hard to keep up with what he is doing.  The footage I took for the machinima was from almost a year ago at my build Vessels Dream
     What I really like about Colins avatars is that each projects a personality.  It's almost like you already know them and are aware of their little psychological quirks and habits.  It's not easy to do with prims, to imbue an object with emotion.  Painters and sculptors can do it in RL as they create directly.  So for example a sculptor has no barrier between his hands and the clay.  A painter has a brush between them self and the canvas, but the painters emotion can travel through the brush into the painting because of a few factors.  For one a canvas has some give, meaning its not solid like a board, and this allows for  its surface to better catalogue the emotions of the painter.  Also the brush itself is very important. Depending on your medium the hair of the brush itself, its length and suppleness, are very important when transferring emotion through the brush onto the surface of the canvas.  It sounds strange I know.  But its true.  Imagine being furious when painting, the anger travels down your arm through the brush and onto the canvas if you learn how to allow it.  You can often look at a painting in a gallery and know the emotion of the painter as they painted it.  Not in a jpeg but in person where you can see how each stroke was placed.  Not all styles of painting though, hyper realism doesn't allow for this but check out Munch and Van Gogh.  Gestural painters. Anyway, my point was that building in Second Life has a rather large barrier between the artist and the final creation.  We click the keyboard to get what we want and it doesn't matter if i click the keys hard or soft the end product is always the same.  In Zbrush I use a bamboo pen tablet thingy which reacts to pressure but other than that you have to use other means to give life to an object in sl.  It's tricky and a super fun challenge.  Colin did it wonderfully with these avatars.

#10 from last year was Mosman Hax

#10 from 2008 Ub Yifu's avatar