I found a quote that read “August is when laziness finds respectability.” I speak from an American experience, born in the “south” and now a “Yankee.” August means higher temps, not much rain and no one over the age of 10 moves very quickly – or is expected to do so. August is also a month of high emotion. For kids, August is full of summer vacations, fireflies and s’mores but a return to dreaded school looms in the not-too-distant future. For adults with kids, the coming month marks major milestone of time, whether your child is just beginning school, or going away to college. It’s a month of anticipation of the adventure of life ahead but the present has a definite expiration date. So August is the time we eke out the memories from our collective “mulberry days.” Focus is on FUN and, for now, we do our best to press pause on thoughts of the future.
Both of our featured artists this month say they use their art as a means toward joy, whether that joy comes from an ego boost or being able to express in images what can’t be expressed in words. Silivren says that her photography is therapeutic, and M8ty discusses a beautiful photo that he created to mourn a personal loss. They both have this beautiful talent/gift/ability not only to communicate emotion but to invite us to identify with their human experience. Life is often considered a journey we travel alone, but art – in all forms – reminds us that we are in this together.
And that sentiment perfectly segues into announcing our newest gallery (#3) called “Exploratorium of Art.” We all labored over a word to describe what we dreamt this gallery to be, and Patrick offered that word at about 3am, not expecting it to go anywhere, as he had suggested about 200 others by then. But I said “Yes. That’s it!” and the Exploratorium was coined. The artwork displayed will be meant to explore, study, enjoy, and spark conversation.
“I know you are thinking, ‘now there’s a guy with a sexy accent who will pick me up, throw me on the bed, flip me onto all fours, pull my hair, grab the back of my neck, slap my ass.’ I am not that kind of man. Well maybe I am that kind of guy, but I am so much more than a hot piece of man meat, so back-off, missy! Lift your eyes up to my other head. I also have something between my ears.” – M8TY
Patrick: I can’t tell you how excited and honored I am to interview you as FOCUS Magazine’s feature artist! Your artwork has been so incredibly inspiring to me, as I know so many in Second Life and far reaching into real world digital design and art! You have a careful eye for details and creativity that so many younger artists hope to achieve. Thank you for spending a few minutes with us this evening.
Just so we can get to know you a little better, as is our tradition at FOCUS, let’s begin with fun icebreaker: Tell us about an embarrassing moment you had while on holiday – where were you and what happened?
M8ty: Well, not sure if I should admit this, but I was out camping and got caught short without toilet paper! It was a very awkward position to be in, and needless to say, the walk back to the camp felt funny wearing just one sock. [Editor’s Note: TMI! But now I can’t help but wonder if you left the sock behind or stuffed it in your pocket! Update: He said he left it in the woods! hehehe]
Patrick: Your art is quite expansive with genres that go far and wide into digital art! What leads you to make certain decisions about theme and composition? Where do most your ideas come from and do you have a favorite?
M8ty: Ideas come from the world around me, what I see, other people’s work, and different photography styles I have tried to replicate. And many ideas come from other creators in Second Life. I have friends who love gatchas and end up with freaky costumes and make ups, and I love incorporating these into my art works. I have even been known to ask people I see to model for me, and some do.
Patrick: Which artists do you enjoy, from real world artists to even musicians and authors that might have had strong influences on you and your work?
M8ty: When I was learning how to use photoshop, I came across a guy called Andrei Oprinca. He had some tutorials on YouTube, he also has a web site called PSD Box. I subscribed to his web site for a year, following his tutorials and adapting SL images in to them. Before I knew it, I was competent in Photoshop.
I use Deviant Art for stock images and like to look at the many collections they have there there. I found art by a guy called JUDAS Art and have tried to emulate his work. While nowhere near his standards, I managed to make some images that I am proud of. Some SL artists would be people like AyE | 4му and Skip Staheli. There are many.
Patrick: What excites you about the creative process the most?
M8ty: The ideas. Then the making of poses and building of props. Then trying something new.
Patrick: You use so many amazing techniques, from set design, poses, lighting, props, to post-production edits. What processes do you look forward to experimenting with?
M8ty: Very hard to say, I don’t always come up with new ideas for my art, but I do take a lot of commissions, so I try to produce what the customer wants.
Patrick: I’m really curious about this next question, as I was also recently asked, and it took me a few minutes to formulate a response. Why do you create? And, what need in you do you think it satisfies to create artwork?
M8ty: Hard one. Well, it is a good way to express feelings and emotions. One example of this is this piece I did after the death of my mother, called “Mourning.” (https://flic.kr/p/H5WqMo) Also, I like to do a pic for a friend or family member that captures something of character and personality as seen through my eyes. And I guess I would not be human if I did not admit that being told that your art is appreciated stokes your ego and brings pleasure.
Patrick: I’m really challenged with this simple phrase, and this is true from Second Life extending far into my Real Life: “Less is More!” Following that idea then, when do you know your work is done?
M8ty: This is so true, I often work on images with someone watching in Skype. I could spend a lot of time painting hair, for example, when all I need to do is paint a little for some effect and the result is as good. The live feedback has shown this to me, also if I find myself thinking what else, it is normally time to do my final adjustment layers and finish.
Patrick: If you can sit down with a new artist (raises my hand as 1st in line) and share with them a few pieces of advice, what you tell them?
M8ty: Don’t limit yourself. Keep trying new things. Work on new ideas. Look for YouTube tutorials. Search Deviant art. Study the images you like, and try and work out how they have been done. If you find that hard, reach out. There are many in SL and Facebook groups that are happy to help. I have started my own YouTube channel with tutorials specific to Second Life photoshopping. I am also a member of a Facebook page committed to helping people with Photoshop – Photography Help Tips & Tricks SL Edition. I would suggest all these things.
Patrick: How has “Too Sexy for This Group” influenced you? Have you met other artists and those who appreciate sharing their passions?
M8ty: I have worked with Rachel Magic trying to help her get started. She has come a long way, mostly credit to herself! I would love to work with any artist that reaches out with an idea that inspires me, I enjoy helping new artists hence my YouTube channel.
Patrick: Once again, M8ty, we’re thrilled to spend the time getting to know you and share your visionary work at FOCUS Gallery for August! Cheers, my friend and thank you!
FOCUS Magazine & Gallery now has a page on SocialVR.me, which is a network almost exactly like Facebook for avatars and businesses in SL. I’ve heard that Facebook doesn’t much like having avatars as part of their database and regularly has major sweeps of deletions, or disables things like Flickr-to-Facebook abilities. I presume their reasoning is that they want to compile (and sell) our RL photos and information, but if their information is impure because of avatars and aliases, they can’t guarantee to their clients that everyone who has an account in Facebook is a potential paying customer. Though there may be more to it than that.
The term “Social VR” means any virtual reality experience that is shared between two or more people. As people become more aware of SocialVR.me, this could potentially stand to rake in thousands of avatars from many different games. I don’t know a ton about it yet, but Athayus Quan is the founder and he personally invited me to join and create a page for FOCUS (after Avalon Bouvier-Boa introduced us).
“I know someday this adventure in SL will end for me. So when that day comes it will be really nice to have a way to look back and remember all the beautiful moments I had here and all the amazing people I have met and formed friendships with.” – Trisha Rose
Patrick: I’ve always enjoyed the joy you obviously have in Second Life photography, Trish! You seem to be connected to an inner spirit that transcends real life emotions to our digital world here, and so many that follow you enjoy your passions and love for life! I’d like to begin with an easy question so our FOCUS community can get to know the real you: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?
Trisha: This really takes me back to the past here. It was so many years ago now but I remember always wanting to fly – not a commercial airliner but fighter jets. I remember being about 7 or 8 and my mother taking me to air shows. The sound of them passing over and the maneuvers were just so breathtaking at that age. Then to top it off we had a rope swing out in the woods behind the house. A few friends and I would spend hours jumping from it into the creek. That 3 seconds of free-fall would feel like minutes of pure freedom. That dream of becoming a pilot lasted a few good years.
Patrick: What drew you to Second Life four plus years ago, and how has this digital world of ours brought you happiness in your real life?
Trisha: Such a good question. I was playing or exploring a world called Red Light Center for a few months. A few good friends from there told me about SL and how I should check it out. So I did, for two days. I couldn’t figure out how to add hair and became really frustrated. I was walking around bald for two full days watching a laser come out of my hands every time I pointed at something. I just hated SL so much at first. I still laugh thinking about how horrible I thought this was. Those same friends tried to help me but I couldn’t figure it all out. So I left, I went back to RLC for another month or two. Then they talked me into coming back to SL and really sitting down with it to explore. I’m really happy I did. SL has brought a lot of happiness into my RL on a daily basis. I have such a beautiful circle of friends here that I wouldn’t trade away for anything. The love and laughs we share is so special to me and I still wonder how I got so lucky to have crossed paths with them. I’m even friends with the ones who took me out of RLC. But I do question their friendship for putting me through the torture of walking around clueless for days!
Patrick: When taking a picture, what are motivations in creating your images? Do you find that RL experiences have influenced your work and design of your creations?
Trisha: My biggest motivator has to be emotions. Something emotional in my life will leave me searching for a way to express it, and even trying to work it out. Music also plays a large role. Some songs just randomly spark a memory or a image that I will try and capture. From there the wheels start turning. I will try and piece together a scene that can reflect on whats racing through my mind. Also the Flickr community is an amazing motivation. Everyday I open Flickr and I’m blown away by the imagination and beauty that is captured and shared there. The love and support they show to each other really helps to motivate everyone I believe.
Patrick: What does your work aim to say?
Trisha: Well, where to start with this one? I’m not sure. I really started taking pictures and still continue to take them for my own selfish desire to remember. To remember this adventure. I have watched so many people here in SL just poof and never come back. I’ve watched friendships that ended so sadly and suddenly. Also, on a positive side, so many good moments filled with love, laughs and friendships that blossomed. Those moments should never be forgotten. And with pictures, I can help keep them all tucked away. I know this adventure will end for me someday and when that day comes I will have a way to look back on all of this and feel all of those emotions once again. Kind of beautiful in a way and something I would like to hold onto. But will my pictures affect change in anyone other than myself? I would have to say most likely not. But if it does I hope it’s only for something positive.
Patrick: What are some of your favorite SIMs to take pictures and what are a few windlights you love the most?
Trisha: There might not be enough room to list all of them. There have been so many beautiful ones that are no longer around but for a short list I would have to say Elysion, Mother road, Mystical Fae Forest, and SSOC – Tokyo windhill City. So many to list here. I do find myself going to the destination guide often and searching for places there in the photogenic spots section. Windlights are my absolute favorite part of taking pictures. I could spend hours playing with them. A good starting point for me is [NB]-MistyDay-4pm. Then I can open the New Sky Preset and start to change colors and start moving slider bars. I seem to make the windlight for every picture, they’re all in the moment and different every time.
Patrick: And lastly, how has TSFTG influenced you?
Trisha: The group has been so wonderful to be a part of. Such a variety of artists who have always been so friendly and helpful. I love looking through the group on Flickr and seeing the pictures that are constantly being uploaded. Then you also have the events in world the group holds. Always so enjoyable as well. Giving everyone a chance to meet. The group has had a very significant influence, Not just on myself but I think everyone that has been involved over the time. Giving everyone a chance to share knowledge and ideas. I have had a chance to meet some amazing people through the group and would love to work with so many. It’s always such an honor for me to see them work their magic first hand.
Happy July, all! This issue of FOCUS has been an interesting one to produce. I happen to be in the role of collecting all the pieces and parts that make this magazine a whole. This places me in a very fortunate position: I get to read everything first!
Not only do I read it, but I lay the articles and photos out so I pay a bit closer attention, and I get what I will describe as an “intimate view” of each raw article. I fix the misspellings and sometimes edit to make the words a bit clearer, or to shorten in order to fit on a page, but I’m tempted to leave the articles as I receive them. While I try to extract the humanness of their words in a genuine way, sometimes nothing can communicate another’s feelings but their own words, typos included.
This issue features very passionate and emotionally aware artists. They are interesting, sensitive people who we as a group can be proud of ourselves to call friends.
The first feature is Trisha Rose, a photographer who wears her heart on her sleeve. Even in the titles of her photos, like “Making Angels with a Friend” or What Bothers Me Most is… I Don’t Miss You,” the intent and message conveyed is crystal clear with heartfelt honesty.
Our Membership feature is Ladmilla. I’ve known her for some time, so I was surprised to learn I knew so little about her passion in her art. Then our live music feature is Kaleb Wolf Avedon, a deeply feeling artist in many ways. He explains his personal connection with music and what it means to him to share his talent.
These pages are an excellent example of creativity and collaboration in Second Life. Della and Luc invited us to see their beautifully decorated home, Loegan Magic took stunningly masterful shots, and we at FOCUS laid it all out here to share with all of you. Enjoy!
Sari (Sanrifa Resident) has been a member of Second Life since 2015 and a Flickr member since 2017. She is a RL artist who has a keen eye for beautiful landscapes, detail and sensuality. More, they show us how Second Life can be – and is – so beautiful!
Seline: How would you describe your style?
Sari: My style is a bit carefree, as I’m still learning with the digital editing process. Sometimes the photo tools of Firestorm are all I used in the beginning photos of my stream. I love trying to achieve detail, play of light and shadows, and it’s fun to try and depict that in a digital way, and I also think the digital art world has vastly improved my RL painting.
Seline: Do you have any favorite sims to visit for your landscapes?
Sari: I love all of Elvira Kytori sims (White Dune Estates), Neva River, Isle of May, Borneo, Bailey’s Norge to name a few.
Seline: From where would you say you draw inspiration?
Sari: I’d have to say mostly from my home as I live in a coastal area in the US. SL has inspired me on quite a few paintings I’ve done in RL also. I love the creativity the builders, creators, and landscapers bring to SL.
Seline: You have been in SL for three years this month. What brought you into SL?
Sari: Tabletop role-play that brought all this about. A close friend started talking about a role-playing community during a friendly get together.
Seline: Aside from photography what are some things you love to do while in-world?
Sari: Well when my guy is on that’s usually where I am. He’s a very close friend from my RP days, and we enjoy our time together. I am a woman… so second to that would be shopping, right?
Seline: And finally, what is one thing you would like readers to take from this about the art you create in SL?
Sari: In art, different things appeal to different people. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. But as most artists hope for, I hope it moves you, or makes you smile, or laugh, as an image that can evoke an emotional response is all any artist can hope for.
I heard about Birth from a friend years ago when I first came into SL. She helped me beautify my horrible noobish self and Birth skin store is where we started. It was one of the best then, and continues to be even as SL has upgraded through the years.
But as I promised last month, this article is focusing on the men. You will find skin appliers for the major brands of mesh heads, bodies, and system skins for those of you that haven’t made the leap to mesh.
There are 9 skintones at every vendor to find that flesh tone to match your head and body perfectly. Every body pack contains customizations for colour and thickness of body and chest hair, tone of finger and toe nails, and musculature of your body. Every head skin pack contains a customizeable shape, 4 eyebrow colours, 6 beards, and tintable hairbases that can be turned off and on.
So if you want a new look, grab a demo. I’m sure you will be quite satisfied!
I was surprised to stumble across an article speaking to a long debate on whether architecture is considered art. I mean, it had never been a question in my mind. When looking at some of the stunning structures that are legendary for their style and aesthetic pleasure, I find it a very weak debate. But I may be biased.
I’ve been searching (enjoying every second of it) for mesmerizing places to explore. Places that photographers can find perfect settings for their many visions.
This month I hope I’ve found a sweet spot for a backdrop, a date night, or an adventure. The Da Vinci Gardens is a peaceful place with so much to explore. So far, I’ve discovered a gorgeous ballroom that made me feel like I was walking through a Baroque painting. Then after flying around the tall castle towers, I landed to find a dragon waiting to take me for a ride and battle with other dragons flying around. And when I fell off the dragon, as one tends to do, I dove into an underwater city full of colorful fish with more buildings to discover.
There is also a pirate ship, three connecting tropical sandy island beaches… and a rocket launch pad. The list is much longer which means lots of areas for creative shots or romantic moments!
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