Tag Archives: Art in SL

Art and artistry: Toysoldier Thor

Blogger, activist, supporter of live entertainment, raconteur, content creator – there are many ways in which Toysoldier Thor can be defined. However, the one by which he is perhaps best known is that of artist – and deservedly so.

A resident of Second Life since 2008, Toy works in both 2D and 3D mediums, many of which bridge the physical and virtual “divide” in the most interesting of ways. While his art has been widely exhibited across the grid – and even interpreted through dance – perhaps the best way to become acquainted with his work is by visiting his in-world gallery.

It would be easy to attempt witticism by referring to the gallery as his “toybox”,  but it would also be unfair; what is on offer across five floors of viewing rooms is a veritable treasure trove of unique art. All of the pieces on display are available for purchase (and any aficionado of art is going to be hard-pressed not to walk away with one or two purchases); but more to the point, each comes with its one descriptive note card, obtained by touching the work in question.

These cards are well worth reading. Far from being a purely descriptive piece on the art itself, they delve into the history of the work  – the inspiration behind it, the techniques used to produce it, the sources from which Toy drew in developing it, and so on. In this way, the cards not only reveal more about the piece, they allow us to share in the entire creative process, and provide links to influences and so on, thus providing a unique insight into not only Toy’s craft, but also to Toy himself.

The uppermost floor of the gallery includes a number of Toy’s mesh sculptures, including the remarkable Shattered. A remarkable and emotive piece Toy has produced as both 2D art in the physical world and a 3D mesh model in Second Life, Shattered and the artist have been engaged on a remarkable journey, further narrowing the perceived divide between the virtual and the physical; the piece first becoming a 3D printed model, and which now looks set to become cast in bronze in the physical world as well (and which you can still pre-order).

It’s actually this element of physical / virtual cross-over that I find really compelling in Toy’s art. By this, I don’t mean how he might use Photoshop or other digital wizardry in order to edit and enhance photos originating from in-world, but how he actually combines virtual and physical world images to create some quite spectacular works of art. As examples of this, I would point visitors to both Assassin’s Prayer and to Death Seer (seen in the above picture, on the right), which are, in a gallery of quite extraordinary art, utterly stunning.

Those familiar with toy’s work will need no prompting when it comes to a visit to his gallery. If, however, you’ve not taken the time to pay a visit, then it is well worth adding to your itinerary. Anyone who enjoys and appreciates art in either the virtual or the physical world is unlikely to be disappointed; quite the reverse, in fact.

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Moumou’s Square: looking through the artists’ eyes

Crossed Looks Over Moumou's Square: Ermandalee and Lo Coeur

Crossed Looks Over Moumou’s Square: Ermandalee and Lo Coeur

Crossed Looks Over Moumou’s Square is a new exhibition now open at Trinity Yazimoto’s Petit Chat gallery. It features 20 pieces of art by Ermandalee and Lo Coeur, the result of an invitation extended to them both to create a series of images of the gardens of Moumou’s Square and Petit Chat.

With ten pieces from each artist on display along the paths and in the grounds of the gardens, visitors are invited to stroll around at their leisure and view them. Information givers scattered among the easel mounted pieces ensuring that, whichever direction one takes on arriving, information on the exhibition and the artists is readily available.

Many of the pieces on display are located alongside or near to the parts of the garden that inspired them, allowing a direct comparison between subject and image, and an opportunity to more directly see the subject through the eyes of the artist. This is particularly effective where Ermandalee and Lo have produced pictures of the same subject; not only does this help “see” the subject as each artist may have looked on it, it also allows one to enjoy their individual but very complementary styles.

Viewing the art in this way also gives the visitor time to appreciate the gardens, which have been landscaped for Trinity by Trixxie Nitely. As you do, you’ll find there are plenty of places to sit and simply enjoy things, and Trinity’s hospitality is both warm and inviting: she offers places to sit and eat or drink both indoors and outdoors; so don’t be surprised if you find yourself coming back for future visits simply to enjoy the friendly ambience of the gardens.

And when you are looking around, don’t forget to take a jump down the rabbit hole to Trinity’s underground gallery where she displays her own work. It offers a further artistic delight to visitors, as I noted when last blogging about it.

Crossed Looks Over Moumou’s Square will be open through until Saturday, March 21st, 2015, inclusive, and is a recommended visit.

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Banging the cultural DRUM – Saturday February 21st

MadTone - LEA26: The drum stage, where the Saturday, February 21st performance by DRUM will take place

MadTone – LEA26: The drum stage, where the Saturday, February 21st performance by DRUM will take place

Drumming – good drumming – is an art form, be it using a modern drum set, steel drums, native American drums, African drums or any other form of drum. I first became fascinated by it (although I don’t play the drums) via Japanese Taiko drumming, particularly as a result of listening to Kitaro, and love the sound created by, and skill involved in, ensemble drumming of all kinds.

On Saturday February 21st, at midday SLT, we can all enjoy a demonstration of cultural drumming from around the world via a special performance by members of DRUM.

“DRUM’s goal is to bring the world to you via the power of drumming,” Phoebe McMillan says of the ensemble’s intent. “Our aim is to have fun and to create incredible, beautiful rhythms – live. Right now our performances consists of 11 different drum cultures, Taiko (Japanese), Native American, African, Latin, Indian, Mallets, Stomp Wall, Rusty Barrels, African Ghost, Steel Pan drums and our newest set, Brazilian.”

Members of DRUM  – which stands for Divine Rhythms of Universal Music – have collaborated to create the unique sounds, drums, and animations that allow them to perform live in-world, with each performance uniquely its own. Appropriately enough, they’ll be performing on the huge drum stage located over the MadTone installation at LEA26, with Lorin Tone hosting the performance.

As noted above, things kick-off at 12:00 noon on the 21st, so be sure to arrive a little ahead of time to get yourself set for what is sure to be a unique and entertaining event, which is not going to be one to miss.

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i4 Galleries: of abstracts and postcards

Leko Catnip - i4 Galleries

Ieko Catnip – i4 Galleries

Kayly Iali is an artist and the owner  / curator of i4 Galleries of Art. A suite of four gallery spaces within the Port Lydius region, i4 Galleries occupies the same quarter of the region’s sky space as Lusus Saule, whose work I also recently reviewed.

February saw the start of four new exhibits at i4 Galleries, three of which sit within the abstract school, while the fourth presents an delight take on the idea of vintage postcards.

I’ve encountered the work of JudiLynn India previously in SL, and have always been struck by her bold use of colour and materials. An artist working in acrylics and digital art in the physical world, JudiLynn here presents 14 striking pieces of her art which demonstrate her work to its fullest advantage.

Judilynn India - i4 Galleries

Judilynn India – i4 Galleries

The large format in which the works are presented allows the rich detail in each, including the texturing apparent within it, to be clearly seen, adding to their vibrant look and feel.  number also exhibit a rich, dynamic energy in both the use of colour and line; there is a sense of power and movement within them, while other are more restful in nature, presenting a calming influence whilst retaining a strong use of form and colour.

A former graphic artist working in advertising, Ieko Catnip switched to painting some 20 years ago, inspired by the work of Zao-Wou-Ki, Pierre Soulages, Antoni Tàpies and Hans Hartung. She specialises in lyric abstraction and has her own contemporary art gallery in SL.

The fifteen pieces displayed here are of  similar large format presentation to JudiLynn, which again allows the riches and dynamism of each item to be shown to its fullest.

Leko Catnip - i4 Galleries

Ieko Catnip – i4 Galleries

Also, as with JudiLynn’s work, there is a striking dynamism to the pieces on display, although one somewhat different in nature. The shapes within several of the pieces are far more anthropomorphic in nature, more suggestive of the human form in motion, while in others there is sense of movement and form which might suggest a ship in a storm or lily pads on the water.

Vonnie the Fox is a relative newcomer to Second Life. An artist in the physical world, the exhibition at i4 Galleries marking the first public display of her work. She sees SL as a means of exploring and experimenting with digital art and expression, listing both SL art and building as two of her interests.

Vonnie the Fox - i4 Galleries

Vonnie the Fox – i4 Galleries

Here she takes an interesting approach to abstract works, presenting a series of colour images of scenes in Second Life shot through the medium of Linden Water. This gives the pieces a rather unique sense of motion / distortion, while the use of bright colours, either within the subjects of the pieces or through the selection of windlights, leads to a set of highly individual pieces. Don’t forget to check his Flickr stream, either.

The final exhibit in this quartet steps away from abstract foundations and is, perhaps, the most interesting in both idea and format – and one which offers a unique way of showing appreciation to a friend.

David Peyton - i4 Glleries

David Peyton – i4 Galleries

David Peyton works mostly in photography and mixed media, and his exhibit at i4 combines both to present a series of vintage postcards featuring a range of sights from around Second Life

Not only is a delightful series of postcards offered for admiration and (like the works in the other three exhibits) also for sale, it is presented with a wonderful dash of humour through the Kisses on a Postcard element of the display, which feature imagined missives from the likes of Napoleon to Josephine or Georgia O’Keeffe to Alfred Stieglitz, and others. What’s more, David also offers a special service: select a postcard, pen your own message and David will supply you with a set of 20 individually numbered postcards you can send to friends in SL.

Kayly Iali - i4 Galleries Skyloft

Kayly Iali – i4 Galleries Skyloft

As an added bonus, once you’ve toured the main gallery spaces, you can also teleport to the Skyloft (ou can also reach it via the teleport board at the gallery landing point). Here you’ll find Kayly’s own work on display, a beautiful mix of abstract and still life work, presented in an ambient environment that really shows them to their best advantage, making it easy to see any of the pieces displayed on a wall in your own home.

All four exhibits in the main gallery spaces will be open through until April 2015. Given their proximity to one another (The Vonnie the Fox and David Peyton exhibitions are just around the corner to Judilynn India and Ieko Catnip), they can be enjoyed together. This is something especially worthwhile given the abstract theme carried within three of them, while David’s exhibit offers a unique and charming approach to art in SL. A trip to Kayly’s skyloft will also round-out any visit perfectly.

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