Tag Archives: Art in SL

From a Little Village a Little Town does grow…

In March through April 2014, Cica Ghost has a charming installation on the region of Caramel. Called Little Village, it was a marvellous collection of whimsical little houses with wobbly chimneys, huddled together in groups or standing alone, some on level ground, others precariously straddling little hills, and about which I blogged at the time it was open.

Little Village may have gone from the virtual world at large, but on Thursday, October 30th, Cica opened Little Town, which might be regarded as Little Village all grown-up. And it is another absolute delight of the quirky and the fun.

The buildings here are “life-sized” (in avatar terms) when compared to Little Village, but they all display the same higgledy-piggledy charm. Most are gathered around a town square atop a large flat hill in the centre of the region, although several are scattered more widely afield.

Here you will find tall finger-like houses, their once-bright paint a little faded and warn, sharing space with other structures of unknown intent. Pipes and tubes and horns twist and run between buildings or point skywards while trees and bright patches of flowers add further colour to the scene, as bright balloons drift about the place. There’s even a building that looks peculiarly like a gigantic coffee pot, a pipe-like handle on one side, and the spout formed by a another pipe as it twists it way to connecting with conical neighbouring structure.

While the inhabitants may be conspicuous by their absence, this is a town that is very much alive in its own way; there is motion everywhere as windmills turn in the breeze, cogs and wheels rotate, horns stretch and contract from rooftops, strange spherical objects push their way through pipes; even the odd rooftop rises and falls as if breathing slowly, all of it serving to add a depth and further charm to the whimsy on display.

Getting around is easy: wide steel roads, heavy with rivets, offer various routes around the town and its outlying areas, while steps down from the hill provide access to those places off the main roads, and of course, visitors are free to wander where they like. For those not into walking, there are cars available from a rezzer near the cinema cafe, while a gift giver near the landing point will present you with Cica’s Flying Ventilator, if you fancy getting a bird’s-eye view of the town. And speaking of the cinema – do be aware that some of the buildings can be entered as well – there’s even a cage where you can do Airkix-style “skydiving / flying” :).

Should all the exploring tire you out, Cica has provide a trio of floating beds in the south-west corner of the region, where the weary can rest a while. The field over which the beds floats is also home to Cica’s little flower shop, where you can purchase sets of the flowers which can be seen around the town and region, as can copies of the two mechanical birds sitting under a nearby parasol – proceeds from sales doubtless help towards keeping the sim open.

Given Little Town involves so much motion, something no always captured in a simply snapshot, I’ll leave you with a video of the town in the hope it’ll encourage you to pay a visit and share in Cica’s whimsy!

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A visit to a kitten’s garden

Petit Chat-Moumou’s Square is the home of Trinity Yazimoto’s store and art gallery, both are located within the grounds of a garden currently rich in the colours of autumn, and where visitors are invited to spend time relaxing.

Trinity’s store, Petit Chat, occupies an old mill partially surrounded by water features fed by the falls that tumble from the high cliffs that border the garden on three sides. The water actually divides the land into several distinct areas, all linked one to another by stone bridges. There is the store itself, with its own garden nestled behind it, complete with Romany caravan and lamp-lit lily pond, a bridge providing access to a cuddle area across the pond. In front of the store, and reached via another bridge, is a further garden area, complete with swings and a roundabout, rocking horses, and a pergola offering shade and a place to sit and enjoy a cake or two.

A further bridge offers a crossing to the rest of the garden, where stone steps lead up a grassy slope to where a cobblestone terrace, complete with fountain, can be found, offering further shaded seating for visitors. Beyond the terrace sits the ruins of an old tower, the curved steps of which lead the way to a artist’s workspace, while hidden behind its walls lies a picnic area.

But it is what lies under the tower and terrace that will be of interest to lovers of art and SL photography. Here, in a vaulted, crypt-like space, is Trinity’s art gallery, a ladder held within the curve of the old tower’s walls providing access – simply touch the ladder to climb down to it.

I first became familiar with Trinity’s work during the Terms of Service upset in late 2013, and then through seeing her work on the SL feeds and on Flickr, where her landscape work has always been incredibly eye-catching for me. Within the gallery, her landscape work is mixed with more personal pieces, all displayed in a manner that is well suited to lower lighting conditions that match the look and feel of the gallery space.

A nice touch with the items on display is that Trinity provides a note card with many of them (right-click on a piece, and select “Info” from the menu). This provides information on the inspiration for the picture and details of the location where it was shot – handy if you feel like paying it a visit.

Trinity openly admits she works extensively within Photoshop to produce her images; where her landscape work is concerned, some might say that the result doesn’t really represent the region in which it was taken.  I’d beg to differ with such views – as Trinity states in some of her note cards, these are her interpretations of the places she visits.

Besides, it’s not as if we don’t have tools within the viewer which can help us enhance / alter the look and feel of the regions we visit and photograph, whether it is simply by altering the windlight settings or using the likes of the SL Share filters or a tool set like Phototools or even doing it the hard way and digging through debug settings.

As such, whether or not Trinity uses Photoshop is incidental to the quality of her work; her landscapes are beautifully presented, and her still life work, often featuring herself as the model, is creativity composed and frequently conveys a strong message which draws the observer into it.

all told, Petit Chat-Moumou’s Square makes for a delightful visit, offering a charming garden in which to relax, excellent art to view and purchase, and an opportunity for the fashion hungry to do a little shopping. And for those who would like to combine art with fashion, check-out the top for of the shop ;-) .

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Trinity’s gallery also featured on the SL Destination Guide highlights for October 24th.

Waterscapes and Flying Things

During my wanderings through the SL10B Community Celebration regions in June 2013, I came across Evan Moonshine’s Lepidoptera Museum. It was both a lovely build, and the subject matter within it fascinating; my only regret being that the cards describing all of the  lepidoptera on display were to small to the read, and the subjects were themselves a little on the small side to be fully appreciated.

Now, in an exhibit at the Ode’s Arts & Culture Community running through until November 15th, 2014, DecemberGrey has brought some of her own images of lepidoptera and beetles to Seceond Life, combining them with some of her fabulous waterscapes of well-known SL regions. Called Waterscapes & Flying Things, it adds up to a fascinating display of artistic talent well deserving of a visit.

The images of moths and beetles occupy the ground floor of the OACC’s converted watermill gallery. At first glance, these might appear to be reproductions of drawings of the subject matter painstakingly created in the physical world by some 19th century botanist. Not so. These are images painstakingly created by the artist as a result of getting unexpectedly sidetracked at university, as DecemberGrey explains:

While in my second year of a BSc in botany (some fair while ago), I looked into the microscope on the lab bench while the lecturer was talking about angiosperm reproduction…. And from that point on, was captivated by the world seen only through a magnifying lens. I forgot the lecture, became lost. Today, all I remember is the brilliance that captivated me. It changed my life.

…My macro work started manually, my fingers moving the focus ring on the camera – millimetre by millimetre – to create a number of images of the same body which would then be compiled into a single image. Now it is a process somewhat automated. Technology is impressive, and allows an entirely different method of working. It gives me time to dabble in color and light. And to imagine. To transform. To create.

The results are simply amazing, with each of her subjects beautifully presented (and all of them available for purchase).

For DecemberGrey’s waterscapes, climb the stairs all the way up to the mill’s attic, where you’ll find them displayed perfectly on the whitewashed walls.

Featuring famous locations such as Roche, Hazardous, The Colder Water, Nagare and Frisland, and arts locations such as Imagin@rium and Immersiva, these pictures are as beautifully composed as the real-life images on the ground floor; in fact I’d say without a shadow of a doubt that they are among the finest images I’ve seen captured from within SL. To call them exquisite would not be over-emphasising them at all.

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Mistero Hifeng: straddling reality and the imagination

Spettatori malinconici di felicita' impossibili - Mysterio Hifeng

Spettatori malinconici di felicita’ impossibili – Mistero Hifeng (click images for full size)

I’ve been coming across the work of SL artist Mistero Hifeng a lot of late; his pieces have appeared in a number of regions I’ve dropped into recently, and he has an entry in the UWA’s Transcending Borders challenge. So when artist and friend Sniper Siemens invited me to pay a visit to Mistero’s gallery and store, I was only too delighted to hop along.

Volare - Mistero Hifeng

Volare – Mistero Hifeng

While some may not be familiar with his name, I would endeavour to suggest many are familiar with his work, his sculptures being instantly recognisable when encountered, many of them presenting a subtle blending for realities: very human figures often in very extraordinary – you might say surreal – situations, driven from deep within the imagination. Little wonder, then, that Mistero takes a Tom Watts quote for his profile description:

Mostly I straddle reality and the imagination. My reality needs imagination like a bulb needs a socket. My imagination needs reality like a blind man needs a cane.

E' soltanto  un ricordo - Mysterio Hifeng

E’ soltanto un ricordo – Mistero Hifeng

Mistero presents his work to visitors in an open air gallery space occupying one half of a homestead region. The design is minimalist, little more than a beach, partially flooded by the (presumably) incoming tide and a handful of off-sim islands, one of which is volcanic in nature, all overlooked by a marbled sky of white and black (do make sure you accept the parcel windlight on arrival). But while minimalist, it is also highly effective, the sand and water naturally acting to isolate each of the pieces on display, giving a sense that they each occupy a space that is independent of the others, no matter how relatively close some may be to one another.

The windlight setting also serves to complement the subdued colours used within each piece, allowing them to stand out on their own, an effect which certainly encouraged me to keep to the default rather than fiddling with alternatives.

Bella - Mistero Hifeng

Bella – Mistero Hifeng

The pieces on display are large – all the better to see the detailing within them; so much so, that I doubt my efforts here really do them justice – they really must be seen first-hand.

While there is a line of flat stones laid across the sand to form a footpath through the gallery space, linking two teleport points with one another, there is no need to keep to this when viewing the displayed works, the open space makes for relaxed wandering, and the park benches and pianos which can be found at various points encourage meandering – and sitting.

As well as connecting one to the other, allowing people to hop between the two ends of the gallery space, the two teleporters also provide access to Mistero’s skyborne store. Here one can purchase versions of the items displayed in the gallery, or images of them as captured by Mistero, as well as images of works not currently on display.

Mysterio's store

Mysterio’s store

If you’ve not visited Mistero’s gallery before, I have no hesitation in recommending it to you. His work is an exquisite blending of ideas, images and emotions, presented through a skilled layering of the real with the surreal to produce pieces which are marvellous evocative and compelling.

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Spettatori malinconici di felicita' impossibili - Mistero Hifeng

Spettatori malinconici di felicita’ impossibili – Mistero Hifeng