Monday, July 26, 2010

Smudge is Art for Joy

July 26, 2010

One day I stumble upon a little green English-looking building stashed between the houses on a street in Second Style Island™, that gives me an RL flashback of Noella  art gallery in the backstreets of London behind Tate Museum™. In this little green house of Second Life™ you find the gallery SMUDGE™.

Little green house at Second Style Island

In the comfy chair between the Northern Lights and Wheet I look at the smudged canvas on the walls and start to realize the reason for the name of this gallery.

Myndi Meredith, the artist and gallery owner of Smudge, confirms to me that she loves to smudge colours. She relaes with this in her own time when not working her full time job or when her little son needs her. She does this digitally now since canvas, easel, colour palettes, and so, is not practical at her RL home any more because she has a little one year old son now.
Blogger Liza Veliz

I met her at the Grand Opening Event for Smudge on the 18th of July at FIERCE Nightclub in Dominion Estates. Her PR person and good friend Anden Tolsen was also there.

In a BOSLradio interview that same morning Myndi said Anden was also the reason she even started the gallery. She just showed him some paintings she was making while dancing at Fierce when he asked her why she was so quiet and he suggested she should sell them.

That´s a great friend!

 Smudge gallery in Gallinas

Anden Tolsen even gave her the gallery at Second Style island as a surprise gift.  That is the reason there are two Smudge galleries now.

The other one is at Shopatorium @ Gallinas
Here the building is also very special from the others. Its like a piece of candy with the stonewalls of red decorated with a pink framed window and glittery coloured stars hanging in the ceiling and with the sign of the shop glowing in its Pink. Inside there is no comfy chairs but a comfy carpet instead. It is smooth to lay there in its depth of wool and check the smudged paintings on the walls, guessing what they are about. A bit like laying in grass checking clouds actually.

There is Good and Evil licking at each other in one and a blue flower possibly inspired of the 80´s digital artwork, there is a sun on an easel and the pink painting called smudge and so many more. 

Oh, the party? It was great! DJ Atreyu Witrial delivered the music and lots of press people and art gallery owners came, and of course the citizens of Dominion Estates. Lots of lovely people that made me think of some SL friends I really miss since their clubs shut down and they moved on and I  really haven´t had the time to find them again. The jokes jangled like shingles in the air and all were smiling and having a great time. The atmosphere was awesome!

The gift for everyone contained two paintings by Myndi Meredith.

Moolto was sponsoring the event by advertising this, and FIERCE sponsored by building it and holding the party.

Me, Anden and Myndi met after the party at a couch upstairs.

There Anden Tolsen  tells me his reason for helping Myndi out.
-      She is a very close friend of mine and I believe in Smudge.

Myndi tells me her dreams while Anden is listening to the BOSL interview during our meeting.
-    My hopes are for *SMUDGE* to grow and grow and grow! The more painting I can get out there, the more tastes I can provide... the more money I can make, the less time I have to be away from my son! And THAT will put a smile on MY face :)
She doesn´t do galleries in RL.
-    I haven´t found one yet that provides a FUN environment. I think when you look at art, it should be an all around experience... the smells should be right, and the music should be right. I don´t go to gallerys in RL... its all that stuffy elevator music.  *Bringing *SMUDGE* into RL would be the ultimate :)
-    I hope to bring smiles to peoples faces! There is so much ugly in this world.. people sick, dying, sadness. I just want to make people escape from that :)

Myndi has her painting for a hobby and never released her art in RL, and she did not go to an art school. She just loves to smudge nice colours and let her inner move the hand. And she makes pictures of things like Northern Lights as they feel to her. It looks like a bright star shooting in different colours to me. But she tries to capture it from what she sees and knows. She explained this to me but I was actually curious about another one. The one you see in my photo with three thick shades of different colour on black background. She tells me...
-    ah is just random, that is a genuine *SMUDGE*. I just grabbed colour and smudged it! haha it´s genuine smudging.

You may already know Myndi Meredith from her stylist company Meredith Interiors or maybe by the fashion blog she writes together with Stephberry Delling, The Facetious SL Blog

-    I'm thinking about starting a new one, strictly for *SMUDGE* but my fashion blog is already syndicated... so I may just keep blogging my new releases along with clothing looks :)
Myndi is the colourful dancing person in the middle

Picture from event is taken by Anden Tolsens partner Isaiah Tolsen and the others by myself.

For Press Pass Media Blog

Monday, July 19, 2010

An Interview with Amerie Aristocrat of Aristocrat Avatars®

July 19, 2010

 Amerie Aristocrat, owner of Aristocrat Avatars

As Second Life® often mirrors real life, busy residents searching for the right look for themselves and their homes will often turn to a personal stylist who can guide them through the plethora of products available in the virtual world. In addition, having the advice of someone who is familiar with fashion and design will be invaluable for those without that particular sense. Amerie Aristocrat has provided these and similar services for residents of Second Life since 2008.

Amerie Aristocrat is the owner of Aristocrat Avatars®, a unique, high quality styling agency for avatars. With two galleries and an office with prominent displays of recent, custom avatar stylings, a potential client will definitely see the range of looks that she has to offer. She also owns Aristocrat Interiors & Exteriors, a business that serves those residents seeking help with decorating their virtual homes and gardens.

Exterior of Aristocrat Avatar Office

Looking at the pictures of her recent avatar creations, I wondered what inspired the looks that she creates in Second Life. Amerie explained her process and inspirations:

“My rl inspires the looks I create. I value diversity and tradition and all types of beauty. I've been blessed where I can travel rl frequently. I take notice of the people I encounter and their respective cultures, dress, rituals, styles. And as for interior design, I am inspired by what I see day to day. Lately I have been living in, and exploring, Asia. It's quite exciting being on this side of the planet when cultures are constantly in flux, transforming, modern mixing with the ancient. Design in the East is a hodgepodge of Eastern traditional, colonial influence, and the new international look. I love it, the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Some of Aristocrat Avatar's Clients

With Second Life's worldwide residency, Amerie's real life experiences are important in being able to find looks that would appeal to a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. Blending the styles of various cultures and artistic differences produces unique designs that would not otherwise be possible without the variety and diversity that she values.

When working with a client, Amerie spends time with each person, asking questions so that she can determine what sort of look they would prefer for their avatar. She describes her work in this way:

“I ask many questions about the client's sl lifestyle, desires, expectations, favorite actor or actress, if they want a rl fascimile or a new unique design, and create accordingly. Meeting new people and finding out what makes them tick is the best part of the job. The second best part is their reaction to the finished product.”

Photos of Aristocrat Avatar clients adorn the company's office walls.

Her interest in people's natures and how it relates to their sense of style and fashion certainly contributes to her ability to produce avatars that will fit a person's personality both in real life and their desired look in Second Life.

In her work on avatars and style in general, Amerie Aristocrat attempts to seek out quality products in the metaverse. With her artistic sense, she continually views the changing needs of avatars and fashion in Second Life. When asked how she determines appropriate, quality products for her creations, she responded,

“I have an eye for detail and colour. Price is generally not always a factor. There are a lot of talented designers out there that aren't on every single blog or are off the beaten path. I tend to go to them along with the more established designers when creating a unique look. I like to be ahead of a trend.”

Amerie's experience with fashion and style allows her to look ahead of the current fashions in order to provide her clients with the most current styles.

Her service does not stop at the initial look, however. After finding the right accessories for the client, she then gives them an updated list of her favorite creators so that her clients can find additional looks. She did give me a couple of her favorite designers for skins and accessories:

“For exceptional ethnic and caucasian skins for men I recommend Tellaq. He's a brilliant designer and an expat like myself with exceptional realistic design skills. I'd also recommend GOS watches, shades and shoes.”

Although avatar styling is currently the majority of her work, she did start as a landscaping artist and interior designer. She has worked on many builds and will occasionally take on projects, depending on her interest and the time involved. When Amerie works with an interior design client, she looks at the general environment and allows that to direct the appearance of the design. When asked what eras of interior design she finds most inspirational, she responded:

“Eras, I like it all. But I tend to utilize an eclectic mix from French country, Chinese antiquity, Japanese, Tahitian, Balinese, modern euro , post modern American, anything done well in Sl I can and do incorporate. Give me a Barcelona chair, antique Chinese emperor bed from Qing dynasty with a mink throw, zebra skin rug, and I'm in design heaven. And yes SL has it.”

The interior of Aristocrat Avatar

As a part of her work in interior design, Amerie Aristocrat has also done landscaping. While many gardens in Second Life are fantastic, she tends toward the realistic, focusing on the creation of beauty in the virtual garden. Her work in landscaping is inspired totally by her real life grandmother, who would “put Martha Stewart to shame.”

For a final question, I asked Amerie about her greatest accomplishment, to which she responded,

“My reputation. Being known for making people love their avis and creating beautiful scenes in which people take pleasure. That's why I'm here. That's what I love to do.”

It is this love of her craft that comes through in all of her creations. Whether avatar styling, interior design, or landscaping, Amerie Aristocrat provides Second Life residents with a valuable resource in their search for a fashionable and beautiful virtual life.

Please send Amerie an IM or notecard if you're interested in a consultation for her services because she works by appointment only. 

Thank you for reading and I hope you'll contact Aristocrat Avatars for a chance to see Amerie's talent for yourself.

Satori Marat
Press Pass Blogger

Friday, July 16, 2010

Environmental Fluidity seeks to distinguish virtual world art

Wotthe Dickins
Friday 7/16/10

Wotthe Dickins welcomed visitors to the opening on Caerleon. The welcome area contains a bombardment of information about the exhibit, but don't be discouraged by that. You can ignore all the written words and still enjoy your adventure. If you would like to learn about the artists and their thoughts on Environmental Fluidity, the signs and notecards available throughout will provide opportunities to learn.

Pixels Sideways (self-titled "Project Procrastinator") described the exhibit, "The Environmental Fluidity Collaboration Project is one in a series of six collaborative projects demonstrating Georg Janick/Gary Zabel's Theses on the Art of Virtual Worlds in which he notes, 'Environmental Fluidity is one of six aesthetic-technological dimensions that collectively distinguish the art of virtual worlds from earlier forms of art.'"

The Cube Maze

"From concept to completion: how the environmental fluidity collaboration project evolved" contains a description of the artists' process to build the exhibit, beginning with, "It all starts with a...prim."

This innovative exhibit is huge and, depending on the experience you want, could take hours to navigate and play in. By the information station, there is a Handy EF Tour HUD. It is simple to use. If you are ready to move to the next area, click on the title and the SLurl appears in chat. This is advantageous if you think you're lost. You may want to make a few short visits instead of one long one. However, expect to be drawn into the "surprises around every corner and opportunities to become a collaborator," as Pixel Sideways says.


Here, you're an explorer and collaborator. Your movements have an effect on the exhibit, beginning in the first stop on the tour, Auraltopia.

At Auraltopia "Stuck in my head," you'll hear some familiar tunes, themes and words. This installation reflects Wotthe Dickins' statement, "In real life and virtual life exhibits, I have found that using humor is a powerful tool to engage the participant in a creative and intellectual way, and by using intuitive interaction I can make my pieces more accessible to a wider audience."


The Spin Cycle

Don't be alarmed at the dark, empty space; it is purposeful. "I-Composer" has cool music that continues only if you move around the black space. “Magnetone" has sounds and tones that change as you move around, seeming to move with you and change as you move in space.

Facade Town at Evotropolis

At Phantissima, you may elect to float down on a cloud or TP down to the park. The park has a continuous parade of snails (sans shells). I rode a snail into the “Spin Cycle,” which seems to be a neverending tunnel. When you arrive at the tree, if you click on it, a ball will appear for you to get in and roll down the “Spin Cycle" to Primatecture. Enjoy the ride. When you arrive, you may roll around in the ball for awhile. If you crash into something, you'll hear the sounds of shattering glass, but you’ll continue rolling until you stand up. The sculptures at Primatecture change over time, and if you "touch" them.

Tree Town in Evotropolis

The ground shifts continually under your feet at Terra Unfirma. The Cubes has an ice-sculpture-like maze with some ghostly beings floating inside and you're rewarded at the end with an egress, actually several. Alizarin Goldflake says of her build, "The semi-transparent textures move along the walls, overlapping and creating new patterns with each other. The color of the build also changes depending on the presence of an avatar. And the particles follow the SL wind, emerging in constantly changing relationship to each other."

You’ll move through several rooms, each with an attraction. In one, you sit at a dressing table and seem to see yourself in the mirror. Then, take the boat over the waterfall into Aquatica. You're the subject in the "Magic Show," but don't worry; your body will reappear.

Growing City at Evotropolis

"For Environmental Fluidity I conceived this ephemeric town that rezzes and changes. The concept came to me when remembering my old town expansing in the countryside," explains Artistide Despres. The city at Evotropolis cycled through growing and disintegrating. Suddenly, there were plants and trees with houses built in them. Just as suddenly, they disappeared and a new city began to appear, this one facades, like a stage set.

"Fluidity is a quality found at the elementary level material, but it also speaks of fluid to designate energies invisible. Ki, tree sap, ectoplasm spiritualists (a micro art form?). All this is that the expression of the Environmental Fluidity. Even thoughts and psyche have a fluid quality. The impermanence of Buddhists. Isn't the Environmental Fluidity the energy of life?" asks Lollito Larkham.

Fluidity Magic Show

Exquisite Corpse waits near the end for you to generate some random prims with the giant Priminator. There are simple instructions as you enter and your affects on the "corpse" will remain for about 12 hours.

The main collaborators are Alizarin Goldflake, Artistide Despres, Banrion Constantine, Lollito Larkham, PattiAnne Daviau and Wotthe Dickins. "Artistide and Wotthe in particular were instrumental in creating the majority of the amazing exhibits you are about to see. Skilled in both visual art and LSL and loads of other software, etc., their contributions to the EF project are significant," Pixels Sideways explains.

 Terra Unfirma

Thank you for reading and I hope you'll come and explore the exhibit. There are plenty more surprises not mentioned here. Perhaps, as Patriciaanne Daviau comments, "I am still pondering the meaning of Environmental Fluidity," you'll come out pondering your experience as well.

Se7en Wirsing
Press Pass Blogger