July 2023 Issue

With the SL20B celebration going on and this edition is our 7th Volume and 7th Issue and our 7th year… we certainly have a good reason to party!

This issue is a mixture of old and new. We have our usual Art on Tour reviews and photo contest winners, but sprinkled in are some “throwback” articles that we’ve published over the years. These articles were chosen pretty randomly because I found it’s just impossible to represent 7 years of a monthly magazine in one issue!

If you find yourself confused wondering which is a “throwback” article and which is current, just look for the throwback stamp.

Looking back at our past issues has been quite a trip down memory lane. It’s incredible to see how far we’ve come. Not only have we had a lot of fun, but we’ve gotten so much more professional over the years. I can’t believe I began creating the magazine in Gimp! And our creative community continues to grow and grow!

This issue happens to “focus” on Hermes Kondor. If you don’t know him, he’s such a kind and talented man who spends his SL celebrating art. He has a gallery called Kondor Art Center where he lovingly exhibits an extensive list of artists. The man is indefatigable! There’s a throwback tips page he wrote a few years ago, current articles about a few exhibits at Kondor Art Center, and then an interview from what feels like ages ago! More throwback articles include a past art installation by Bryn Oh and Cica Ghost, as well as an interview with Inara Pey.

Kairi Cristole, our gifted FOCUS writer, has been with FOCUS since the beginning days. There’s a throwback interview with Kairi and next month I’ll follow-up with an updated interview with her!
Kairi also has her follow-up interview wth Scylla Rhiadra in this issue and Fynnyus, our resident media studies expert, has Part II of his interviews with women about women artists in SL. It’s an interesting read! I even add my own two cents to the discussion! There’s even more inside this issue like a throwback of Connie’s “Virtually Spiritual,” a throwback of Ilyra Chardin’s summer photo journal, and a re-print of our interview with Max Kleene.

Last but certainly not least are our Editor’s Picks! A big thank you to Serena Marabana and Xander Torkelsonn who have been doing wonders with our Flickr groups!

The SL20B celebration is still going on so if you haven’t gone to see our two exhibits yet, there’s still time. One of our exhibits celebrates the past and the future of FOCUS Magazine, and the other houses an unprecedented amount of landscapes by artists in our community that have been generously donated and are free of charge! So go pick up some artwork for your SL pad and, if you feel especially moved by an artist, send them a happy thank you!

Please enjoy this issue!
Angela Thespian

Let’s build something together.

Milena Carbone created a memorial called “Forgotten | Not Forgotten” which reads “In memory of Nardis, who died in RL on April 22, 2023. Faithful friend and supporter, modest and genial musician, voyager of souls, alone in the world surrounded by his friends. One only really dies when one is forgotten.” You are invited to visit to remember Nardis and all those no longer with us.

Elven Falls Art Collective

Throughout history, fashion has often been used as an act of rebellion and a means to protest injustice and oppression. Few fashion statements have been as powerfully peaceful and successful as the free black women’s tignon during Spanish Colonial rule in Louisiana in the late 1700’s. With new economic opportunities, free black women became wealthy enough to adorn their hair with jewels in eye-catching styles – attracting the attention of white men. Believing interracial relationships were immoral, Charles III of Spain required free black women to begin wearing headscarves, traditionally worn by enslaved women while they worked, to cover their hair and show that no matter how beautiful they were, black women belonged to the slave class. This was meant to restore social order, but an oppressive law was turned into a celebration of individuality and culture.

Obeying the law, these women simply began to tie their tignons in intricate ways with jewels and feathers. The headwraps became a symbol of style but a symbol against racial oppression. The Spanish left in 1801 but the tignon stayed. In 1809, first lady Dolley Madison famously wore tignons in Philadelphia as a statement of style and to help establish an etiquette of equality in the growing capital.

Chioma Namiboo celebrates the history of the tignon and it’s effect on the rural south in her AI generated exhibit entitled “Tignon Law” at Elven Falls. Namiboo writes, “Discover the empowering story of Tignon Law, transforming the lives of African and Creole women as they boldly adorned tignons, celebrating their heritage.” The story of tignons has left an inspiring legacy for young people who struggle against oppression today.
Angela Thespian


Encased in a massive replica of a digital camera, the FOCUS Magazine exhibit is next-level creativity this year for Second Life’s 20th Birthday celebration. Six floors are dedicated to what makes our magazine something special to all of us. The warmest of messages greet you as you enter. Radiating the feeling of acceptance into a community that encourages innovation and learning new techniques. On display are featured artists we’ve witnessed develop their craft through interviews and gallery reviews. On the second level are Editor’s Picks selected randomly from our group Flickr account, shared by our extremely talented members. Shots from Kenzee R, Adam Cayden, Bridget G., Adachi Yasumori, Roman Godde, Ivoceno Rossini, and Panda Banana among a myriad of others.
As you travel to the third floor, we learn a new way to classify what it means as a digital artist to utilize a toolkit that is unique and ever-evolving in digital art creation. The third level contains featured articles that include spotlights on dear contributors, tutorials, and informational tips. And as always you can find a wall full of FOCUS Magazine issues if you need to travel back and enjoy even more content.
On the topmost level are Art on Tour pieces showcasing galleries and the talented artists and curators that make each month’s issue an exploration guide to great exhibits. Here’s hoping you grab a friend and enjoy the view from the inside of a camera. Oh, and snag a free gift while you are here!
– Kairi Cristole

FOCUS Landscapes

FOCUS has a collective gallery at the SL20B celebration called “Beauty of SL Landscapes.” As you walk in, you’re first greeted by a sign with a quote that continues with the SL20B theme “Our Fantastic Future” that reads, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Believing in our dreams, our art and our creative contributions is what FOCUS is all about.
The architecture of the FOCUS Gallery is itself an experiment in the landscape element of water. It is a unique expression in flowing, falling water and forward movement.
The artwork, meticulously arranged in rows along each floor, ranges from the sublime to the striking, and from the surreal and dream-like to the real and life-like. There’s a little bit of everything here. You’ll see some of SL’s best photographers’ work as you browse row after row of colorful artwork.
All of the work on display on this FOCUS Gallery has been donated by close to 80 artists from the FOCUS community for SL’s birthday. Additionally, all the artwork is free to purchase. So, take as many as you wish to brighten up your SL home and the virtual world around you with a few amazing photographs.
The many and varied beautiful places in SL are seen in the images of the talented virtual world photographers. So, spend some time and meander around this beautiful collection. The collection is one-of-a-kind and, as mentioned, amazingly each is being given away for free.
– Fynnyus

Kondor Art Center

Hermes Kondor is so often a tireless champion of sharing and exhibiting the work other artists, that his own expansive, incredible work sometimes seems overshadowed. Hermes is also an innovator and has recently been exploring art with A.I., which has been a very controversial medium in both SL and RL realms.
One of his own exhibits at Kondor Art Center is a collection of enchanting “imagines” depicting an almost other-worldly, magical vision of female faces. These images feel as if Hermes is able to understand each woman beyond what the rest of us see, and he gives us a snapshot into the vast, dynamic inner beauty that he sees.
Hermes writes, “With this exhibition I try to explore the fact that beneath the surface, beyond the masks we wear, lies a rich tapestry of emotions, experiences, and aspirations. ‘The Invisible Self’ invites you to embrace the hidden dimensions of existence and celebrate the power of the unseen.”
Personally, having spent an inordinate amount of time learning and contemplating art created with the text-to-image tool stable diffusion, I’ve seen such an enormous gap between well-described output and stimulating art. More and more, when I encounter artists like Hermes, my concern that art might end up all computer generated with little human input lessens. Synthographs like this are wholly born from artistic inspiration and spirit, and A.I. is merely a true artist’s modern paintbrush.
– Angela Thespian