30 June 2016


Many bloggers have written about the events and happenings at SL13B, the thirteenth annual Second Life Birthday Community Celebration, which continues only through July 3. Organized by Marianne McCann, Doctor Gascoigne and Diana Renoir in collaboration with many other residents, the festivities include dozens of builds by people throughout the SL community, among them a number of prominent artists. As was the case last year, artist Mikati Slade steals the show with her stupendous centerpiece, the Cake Stage (images above and immediately below).

If you're going to see anything at SL13B, it needs to be her stage, the crown jewel of all thirteen sims — indeed, it takes up four of them! "I began to work at the end of April," said Mikati (shown against the Cake Stage in the image above), explaining how she commenced the design work at her own sim, and then later moved to SL13B, enlarging Cake Stage from one to four sims. "I needed to make it different [than her previous builds 2012 and 2015] while keeping the style. The building work is easy, but the design work was very hard." On her bright trademark colors, she remarked, "My artworks try to express positive energy for life. Usually, life is merciless, so I want people to experience some happiness with my art."

Also not to be missed is The Automaton (image above), a stunning and fabulous creation by Walton F. Wainwright (Faust Steamer) with contributions from Cerberus (Kamayari). This giant scene, spread over two sims (be sure to have draw distance turned up), depicts a storyteller, his many books and a bottle of vermouth at the ready: "Gaze in awe at the mysterious automaton built by the forefathers of industry," says the description. "It seems to depict a man who was tasked with immortalizing the adventures of people long gone from this world. Listen well and you will be able to enjoy his collection of tales." (Watch long enough, and you'll see him move. Search carefully, and you might discover The Hidden Theatre.) Elsewhere, other stages were contributed by Cube Republic — the Dazzle Live Stage, which is a Class V Turtle Cruiser — and the beautiful Linden Tree DJ Stage by Zuza Ritt. And Anthony (ADudeNamedAnthony) contributed much throughout SL13B, including the Auditorium.

Each year, the birthday celebration allocates a limited number of special parcels to the arts community, but for SL13B these parcels are decidedly a mixed bag with a few standouts. Presentations include Blowing in the Wind by Livio Korobase, In Search of Perfection by Chic Aeon, The Centaurs and the Birds (image below) by Haveit Neox & Lilia Artis, Catalina's Shared Adventures by Catalina Staheli, Lollygaggers by kilara Balnarring, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by David DuCasse, SL Goonies Dungeons & Knightmares by Loki Eliot, ART BOX by Frankie Rockett, Fractosphere by Asmita Duranjaya, The House Tree by Caro FayRay, Cammino e Vivo Capovolto by Mistero Hifeng, and Mad Monster Mountain (image above) by Kiana Writer and MadPea Productions. But many additional artistic presentations also await, such as those by Mac Kanashimi, Artists4SL, and Solkide Auer & Maddy. The SL13B website is a great (if incomplete) resource for locating these smaller parcels, but, appallingly, provides no significant acknowledgement to Mikati, Walton/Faust or others whose contributions are the true showstoppers.

23 June 2016

MetaLES Seventh Anniversary

The importance of the arts sim MetaLES, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, cannot be understated. The venue has presented many of Second Life's most significant artists — and continues to do so — including Alpha Auer, Betty Tureaud, Bryn Oh, Cherry Manga, Cica Ghost, Eupalinos Ugajin, Fuschia Nightfire, Giovanna Cerise, Igor Ballyhoo, JadeYu Fhang, Kicca Igaly and Nessuno Myoo, Maya Paris, Patrick Moya, Rebeca Bashly, Selavy Oh, Shellina Winkler, and the curators themselves.

Now, for a Seventh Anniversary Retrospective, Ux and Romy have invited photographer Anita Witt to exhibit images that reflect back over the past several years, and these are beautifully displayed with some additional photographs by Ux and scenery by Romy. The names of each artist and artwork can be viewed on the images, which are presented in a sort of surrealistic sea, with large boulders either anchoring the images or suspending them from the air. Best wishes to Ux and Romy for continued success.

22 June 2016

Escape in the Landscapes

Now on display at the Dixmix Gallery, curated by dixmix Source, is Escape in the Landscapes, a exhibition of landscapes by Megan Prumier and Lam Erin. It's a pleasure to see works by both artists: Megan may be best known to others as a builder and creator, but her luminous images are beautifully composed, and, as dixmix remarked as we talked, Lam "has very rarely shown inworld."

Remarkably, Megan (who also built the striking gallery space) has made all of her items for sale for L$0, so this is an excellent chance to collect her works. The exhibition will remain on display through July 10, and contributions in support of the Dixmix Gallery are welcomed.

20 June 2016

Kinn and Ziki at SL13B

A little over a week ago, I received a communication from organizers of SL13B, the Second Life community annual birthday celebration: Could I possibly fill some spaces around the Auditorium with photos? As I arrived and looked around, the scope of the request became more clear: two circular rooms with space for 8 images in each; two long rectangular galleries, plus a chamber overhead, with space for 8 images in each; a backstage area, a bit hidden away, with room for a dozen more; and an outdoor area west of the Auditorium, featuring the "Parthenonish" and next to the Time Capsule, again with space for twelve images. And then, a few days later: Could I possibly take an empty parcel? Room there for 20. So, altogether, I rezzed 76 images.

Given the immense richness of SL13B, comprising sixteen sims hosting many dozens of artworks and displays, most designed specifically for the event (more forthcoming on those in future posts on this blog), my contribution is a drop in the bucket, but, if you'd like to poke around, you can visit my parcel in Electrify (top image), The Parthenonish, the Auditorium's north tower and gallery, the Auditorium's south tower (image above) and gallery, and the backstage area. I've set out some gifts at most of these locations. I extend my thanks to Doc Gascoigne for the invitation, and to expert builder Anthony (ADudeNamedAnthony) for the spaces, including the structure on the Electrify parcel.

It was no less delightful that my partner, Kinn, was asked at the same time to take a parcel in SL13B Incredible (teleport here), and she has used this to create a space, shown above and below, to highlight her excellent blog, Mainland Matters, which is essential (and fun) reading for anyone interested in exploring Second Life. Each of the images on display links to a post on the blog, encouraging visitors to set out to explore sixteen different locations. Additionally, Kinn invites visitors to not only suggest places to blog, but also to answer the question, "Why does Mainland matter to YOU?" — and replies will be posted on the wall, alongside contributions from Torley Linden and Patch Linden. (Kinn thanks Linden Lab and the LDPW for permission to use their iconic "Visit the Mainland!" sign, and again to Doc and Anthony.) SL13B will be open through July 3rd.

13 June 2016


Now open is Keys, the latest in a series of sim-wide installations by the prolific artist Cica Ghost. Amid miles of twisted industrial pipes, rods and chains hang dozens of keys of every shape and size, some gently twisting in the wind. The scale is monumental: in the image above, one can just see my partner Kinn and me in the lower right corner, two small dots on the dark metallic surface.

Keys can be things that open doors, can unlock mysteries or reveal things; they can also lock and secure things, keeping them out of reach or confined. "I was thinking about keys as answers," said Cica as we walked about. "When you look for a key to open a door, it's like looking for an answer to a question." In whatever way individual visitors interpret the sim's keys for themselves, they might also feel compelled to search for a key with their initial on it — as seen in the image below (click on any to zoom in), many keys are adorned with letters. In this way, the lettered keys increase the immersive aspect of the build and invite visitors to engage in their own quest. (It's a long story, but the key with the letter J is situated far away from all the others.)

There's a darker looking aspect to Keys: here and there throughout the sim are small prison-like cells or areas that confine various individuals, their faces white and identical, as if they could be anyone (image below). "They are thinking," explained Cica. "They need answers. They're not really in prison — it's more how you feel when you're looking for an answer, when you're locked." Visitors can enter the cells to join their occupants for self-reflection or to initiate their own personal searches for answers.

Shown in these images is the sim's default windlight setting, a hazy grey-green that perfectly enhances the surrealistic mood, and photographers will no doubt delight in playing with the seemingly endless opportunities of distance, light and shadows, and depth of field the sim affords. If you enjoy Cica's work, please consider leaving a contribution at the landing point, or by visiting her shop in Appalachian.

11 June 2016

Gates of Melancholy

Golden fields of wheat shimmer in the sun at Gates of Melancholy, a new sim by shelly70, where beautiful landscapes greet visitors in every direction and at every angle. The quiet stillness of weathered barns and gentle decay of old homes impart a feel of melancholy and solitude that permeate one's experience.

"This sim," explains Shelly in her notes, "is created to emulate and elicit the feel in the watercolor paintings done by Andrew Wyeth. Melancholy, nostalgia, starkness and the crispness of his work. You will find spots throughout the sim where you can find recreations of some of his paintings and you can pose, take pictures and create your own art work as you like it."

Shelly is a relative newcomer to Wyeth's paintings. "To be honest, I just got to know his works," said Shelly as we talked about the sim. "A friend of mine, GoodCross, showed me Wyeth's Christina's World and, after that, the idea for Gates of Melancholy was born." GoodCross, who helped Shelly think through the overall concept of the sim, is creating a HUD, probably to be available to group members, that will hold poses allowing visitors to recreate Christina's World and possibly other works, and he tells me it should be available in about a week's time.

To not enjoy the sim in its default environmental setting, shown here, would be to miss part of the experience, as it imbues the scene with a delicate brown, autumnal glow. The interiors of each of the various buildings are exquisitely decorated and merit exploration, and photographers who wish to rez additional objects may contact Shelly to access the land group. Contributions in support of Gates of Melancholy may be left at the landing point.

04 June 2016

UTSA ArtSpace

Tomorrow, Sunday, June 5, at 12 noon slt, will be the grand opening of the new ArtSpace UTSA, curated by constructivIST Solo. The ArtSpace gallery, situated on the UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio) sim, "is a reconnection of UTSA's virtual campus with the SL arts. The full sim is an educational area, with art interwoven throughout," explained constructivIST as she showed me around. Although the UTSA sim describes itself as a "virtual exploration of interdisciplinary and culturally situated STEM education," the region is now an excellent example of STEAM, transforming the mantra of science, technology, engineering and math into one that embraces art and design.

The initial ArtSpace gallery exhibit features works by Rebeca Bashly (right side, image above), Igor Ballyhoo (detail, lowest image), Eupalinos Ugajin (detail, image below), Ini Inaka (left side, image above) and Bryn Oh (detail, top image), and will be on display through July, when another two-month exhibition will be presented. It's essential to view many of the artworks (especially Bryn's, which has special instructions) with advanced lighting model enabled.

The UTSA sim surrounding the gallery, while not new, is undergoing substantial redesign, guided in large part by Igor and Rebeca. "They are the creative spirit behind just about everything you see here," constructivIST said. "They are amazing — we are incredibly fortunate. The large 'DNA' structure is a longterm project for us." Elsewhere on the sim, and in addition to works by Igor and Rebeca, are creations by Artée (Artistide Despres), Sasun Steinbeck and Afrika Burton.

03 June 2016

Small World Art Gallery

Officially opening tomorrow, Saturday, June 4, at 11 am slt, is the Small World Art Gallery, curated by Mikey Jefford. Anything but small, the expansive gallery features works by numerous artists, including Artée (Artistide Despres), Asuna (Maderin Melody), Cherie, cullum Writer, DILLIGAF, Dulcis Darkrose, Fafner Hofmann, Forest of Azure, Gem Preiz, Giovanna Cerise, Gita Aura, Harter Fall, Ian Patton, ieko Catnap, Karma Daxeline, K'lali, Laura Richards, Layachi Ihnnen, maghda, Masako/Soraya, Mcpol Kamachi, Miles Cantelou, Milly Sharple, Mistero Hifeng, Moewe Winkler, Monroe Snook, Nino Vichan, Norton Lykin, Pol Jarvinen, Samanda Jewell, Sil Brandi, Silas Merlin, Sisi Biedermann, Sunset Quinnell, Sweet Susanowa, Therese Carfagno, Toysoldier Thor, Treacle Darlandes, Xirana Oximoxi and Ziki Questi (image below). (Several sculptural works can be found on the grounds surrounding the gallery buildings.)

In addition to the corridors of the three-floor space (with two wings) that houses artwork — a mix of real world and Second Life images, mostly two-dimensional and for sale — is a large central gallery that will feature each month a different artist, and for the grand opening will highlight landscapes by Samanda Jewell (top image). Additionally, a sizeable mall area is available for artists who wish to rent space, and this is connected to the main wing of the gallery itself.

Mikey, who recently returned to Second Life after having been around in its initial years, said, "I wanted to recreate the artist spirit that was here in the old days. I thought art in SL needed a new infusion — I got bored sim hopping to find all the artists and thought I could build a gallery that gave a better viewing experience." It's unlikely that one can see everything in a single visit, so art patrons should plan some repeated trips to fully take in all there is to enjoy. Explorers may want to venture further to explore the sim to the north, Plum Drop, designed to be a retreat for (adult) relaxation. Mikey credits Addi Tachikawa for the builds in both regions, as well as his partner, Candy, for additional contributions.

02 June 2016

Edge Gallery May & June Exhibition

Now open at the Edge Gallery, which operates under the Windlight umbrella and is curated by Eleseren Brianna, is the May and June Exhibition, featuring works by photographers Anderian Sugarplum, Blackliquid Tokyoska (lowest image), Chloe Electra Resident, Goodcross (left side, image below), Hillany Scofield, Pam Astonia, Ramsa Luv, Skip Staheli (image above) and Tiviyah. Spread over three floors, the eclectic exhibit includes a wide range of styles and subject matter.

The May and June Exhibition marks the "grand reopening" of the Edge Gallery, the focus of which will be "to show off artistic fashion and avatar imagery." Some, but not all, of the artworks are available for purchase. Visitors may want to enjoy the additional galleries hosted by Windlight located just outside on the same sim.