I think this is the first issue in three volumes of issues that I wasn’t at the nth hour wondering if I would be done by the deadline and sometimes missing the deadline! I completely credit a few new members of the team for this miracle, two in particular. First, Cesar Lighthouse. We met about two years ago, but it wasn’t until he began piloting the HUD. A HUD produced by FOCUS Magazine of hand-picking galleries with active exhibits in the given month; and saw the method to my madness (or the madness to my method) that he began sharing his ideas. I have no idea how he did it but here I am, sipping tea instead of tearing out my hair and growling at Patrick for no good reason. ;).
Then, there is Chant Lyric, one of the most fun women I think I’ve ever met. If you haven’t befriended her, I highly recommend it. She produces two of the articles in this issue. While it was great fun to learn more about her interviewees through her questions, I feel as though I’ve learned nearly as much about her in her articles. She’s intelligent, professional, creative, kind, sexy and just a touch nutty. The best qualities anyone could have in my book! I’m so happy to call these two people friends can cannot thank them enough for seeing the outrageous potential of this magazine and wanting to be part of it. This issue is again jam packed with interviews with amazing people written by amazing people.
I hope you all have a happy March! Enjoy the issue!
Hi, all, and welcome to the February issue. This month, FOCUS Magazine celebrates love in a few important forms. First is love of oneself and love for one other, and February brings us a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that. I’m speaking of One Billion Rising, an event that happens every year on February 14, meant to strengthen our resolve to end violence against women — and hopefully violence in general. So many of our group’s photo artists have expressed their support for One Billion Rising, so I have chosen some of their touching work to share.
Then, of course, comes romantic love. After all, Valentine’s Day is also on the 14th too! For this, I’ve interviewed Paeoti Snaps — not just because she and Shaw Juran have been in a loving relationship forever — but because her photos boldly express love in a sweet vulnerable way. You may need to see her photos to understand what I mean. Whether it’s her stunning landscapes or her romantic couples shots, her sweet, somewhat shy, quirky, and downright naughty personality is bravely offered for all of us to see. And of course, we all know Shaw Juran who has been the FOCUS Comics Columnist for a little over a year now. “Shawsage” (Paeoti’s hilarious nickname for him) is a terrific photog too.
Lastly, we’re celebrating “agape” or friendship love. In our group (Too Sexy for this Group), we are so blessed to be friends with hundreds of the best people — and artists — on the grid. One of these people is JimmyT49 Dukes. Not only is he an extraordinary performer, he has an openness and kind spirit that’s rare in any life. His contribution to SL through his art is truly immeasurable, and his die-hard fans (like me!) know that well. If you haven’t heard him sing, turn to the last page of his article in this issue, written by Chant Lyric, and click play.
I hope you all have a happy February! Enjoy the issue!
Happy New Year! I’m so happy to present you all with the first issue of the new year!
I was chatting with Patrick about New Year’s resolutions. He said he doesn’t believe in them because, most of the time, we don’t stick to them and if we really want something – why not just do it now? But I really like making new year’s resolutions. It’s like an adult Christmas list of all the things I want to do and succeed with. My resolutions usually have to do with health and money. Sometimes promising myself that this will be the year I go on that cruise through the Mediterranean or get out of debt. But the resolutions – to me – are less important than the feeling I have when making them. I feel a sense of freedom in possibilities. Holding onto hope and dreaming dreams are what make life happier for me, especially as I get older and there are less possibilities. For instance, I will never be a 22-year-old billionaire. That opportunity has passed me by.
But I can still have hope for being a 29-year-old billionaire! But for now, the universe has put FOCUS Magazine in my path and each issue is a new possibility.
This month, we are featuring Etamae Goldsmith. She is most definitely a multifaceted gem! She is a silly and funny, but then she is intelligent and socially concerned, then she takes bold photos with extreme images and colors, and then she grins about her kink like a naughty schoolgirl who avoided getting caught. Most of us in the SL art community know her (or at least know of her) and she adds her unique light to many lives.
Then we have an interview with Jaz (jessamine2108), another friend from our SL art community, born in India. Etamae interviewed her and encouraged her to express her social concerns about the treatment of women in her country through her creative expression in photo art. Her photos are on display now, and she will have a gallery opening later in the month. Her message and personal knowledge about the unfair and often brutal treatment of women is important for everyone to hear.
Then we have an interview by the ever-quirky Matt Thomson with his dear friend, Eva Burroughs. Eva explains a bit about how she ended up here in SL, taking photos, and living her SL dream with her partner, Mynx.
As usual, this magazine is packed with even more treasures. We have art, friends, shopping, thought-provoking topics, comedy and – most of all – I hope you find inspiration as we begin a new year in our journey together! Until next month, my friends!
This is our second holiday season together! As usual the year went by too quickly. And what a year we’ve had! Our little magazine has grown exponentially, with thousands of readers every single month. Our gallery had a one-of-a-kind facelift and split into three, adding the FAIR Gallery and the Exploratorium of Art. We’ve featured amazing artists, thrown some memorable events, made many new friends, bought a few lunches for hundreds of needy kids in Africa, inspired and supported one another, and met our main goal to spread the ideals of positivity, inspiration and community. We’ve also had a few struggles in our group, but we remain a strong and positive support to one another by sharing our creative light.
This holiday issue is a celebration of the old and the new. Our membership feature, Dana Or, is one of our long-time Flickr Mods. She has supported our group tirelessly, and now we get to take some time to support her back! And we are thrilled to feature Lam Erin. He has long been an artistic inspiration, and now he’s our friend. Thank you all for a great year and cheers to an incredible 2020!
Our membership feature, Dana Or, is one of our long-time Flickr Mods. She has supported our group tirelessly, and now we get to take some time to support her back!
Angela: Thank you for joining me for this interview, Dana! First of all, you are one of the superstars in our group. You and Linda Hedda particularly have been moderating our “Too Sexy for this Group” Flickr page forever! When members post a pic, I know many look forward to an award from you!
Okay, first question…
So if you had to choose to be an animal in SL, what animal would it be?
Dana: hmmm… a swan.
Angela: Wow that’s a good answer! Why swan?
Dana: It’s beautiful, it’s pink or white, it’s pure and elegant.
Angela: Perfect! You are a prolific photographer and blogger in SL. What inspired you to begin taking photos in SL and then to begin your beautiful blog?
Dana: Anything inspires me. But when I’m taking a photo, I want to tell a story. At least I try to! It doesn’t always work. I want to show more than the item that I’m blogging. I like to show many faces. And I care about the aesthetics and realism. I hope I’m explaining myself well.
Angela: Yes! Very well. How did you decide to become a blogger?
Dana: I didn’t plan it. I love to take photos. The owner of Entice saw my photos and asked if I would be their blogger. Back then I didn’t have a blog, only Flickr. They said “Okay, don’t open a blog. Be our flickr girl.” Then over time, I started a blog and more and more owners began to ask me to blog for them. Now I have Flickr, my blog and Instagram.
Angela: Wow, so you blog for a bunch of stores now?
Dana: Yes, and I have only one rule: only one post a day. No more then one. That’s why I won’t take more stores if it forces me to post more then one post a day.
Angela: Right! it would end up taking up all your time!
Dana: That is the reason. I don’t have time. One post is fine.
Angela: What other things do you like to do in SL?
Dana: I spend time with friends, and dance and such, but mainly I take photos. And go shopping. 🙂
Angela: Do you ever use models, or do you mostly model for yourself?
Dana: I model for myself. I’m not a pro photographer. I just love to take photos. I still have to learn.
Angela: Well, your photos are beautiful. And you are in Italy, right? Do you find the time difference makes it hard to spend time in SL?
Dana: I’m in Israel.
Angela: Oh! I remembered it was a country that started with an I, so I took a shot!
Dana: We have the same temper as an Italian. 🙂 But I want to tell you about my mentor. I have a mentor who guides me and helps me so much. Everything I know comes from him. Millionaire Reichmann is amazing and has taught me everything I know about photography. Do you know of him?
Angela: I do! How did you two meet?
Dana: By mistake. A long time ago, I posted a photo to one of his groups, and he removed it. So I asked him why. We start to talk, and we became friends. And then he became my mentor. He’s an amazing person and a very good friend. I owe him all my abilities.
Angela: How did you find out about SL in the first place?
Dana: Oh, that’s a story. It was my birthday and I was having a really bad day. I was sad and a friend told me to try SL. She said “come try it for fun,” so the next day I joined and since that day, I’ve been here.
Angela: I’m sorry you were sad but I’m glad you’re here! When you take pictures, do you have a favorite windlight, or a favorite sim to take photos?.
Dana: Yes, but I use the SL viewer, not Firestorm. I like pirate the most. And I do have favorite sims but I love to search for new sims.
Angela: Do you ever use music to inspire your photos?
Dana: I LOVE MUSIC! I am always listening to music!
Angela: What kinds of music?
Dana: Pop. Also Israeli music. Everything. I’m open-minded.
Angela: In Flickr, you are veryy well-known. You have nearly 5000 followers and you are a moderator for “Too Sexy for this Group.” Are there any other groups you moderate?
Dana: Yes. I have a group with Millionaire Reichmann. Our group is 200+ SL Favs.
Angela: Oh yes! I’m always excited when I reach 200 so I can post there.
Dana: Me too. LOL!
Angela: I know people in our group are THRILLED when they get an award from you. Many look forward to an award from you every time they post to Too Sexy for this Group! How do you do it?
Dana: I’m always giving awards. I love to accept and I love to give. When I award I am telling people “I’ve seen your work.” Comments with words are rare from me. In my land, I am a very good writer, and in RL, I’m known as a writer. If my English was better, I could writer for you! I wish I could but I know I can’t.
Angela: We can translate!
Dana: It’s not the same. 🙁
Angela: Well, photos are the same in any language.
Dana: Yes. 🙂
Angela: And so are awards! Thank you again so much for joining me today for this interview!
Dana will also be displaying her photography in the FAIR (FOCUS’ Artists in Residence) Gallery throughout the month of December. Please stop by and get to know Dana’s photography better, and if you appreciate her as much as I do, please feel free to drop her a note!
I’ve known of Lam Erin’s art for about as long as I’ve known photography in Second Life exists. Every once in a while, I check back to his Flickr page to marvel at the landscapes that he captures. They are consistently clear and lifelike. His use of dark, bold colors like citrine, garnet and jade is like looking at semi-precious jewels arranged on a page. Because of Lam’s magical winterscapes, in appreciation for all he has done to inspire over the years, and possibly to introduce him to newer artists, we proudly present his art for December 2019! ~ Angela Thespian-Ireland
Angela: Hi Lam! Thank you again for being our FOCUS featured artist for December! Our tradition is to start out the interview with a fun first question that helps us get to know you a bit better, so here it goes: If you could have lunch with anyone from history, who would that be?
Lam: Being Greek, I would say Aristotle, my favourite philosopher.
Angela: Ah! I didn’t know you were Greek. You have been a member of SL since 2008 and on Flickr since 2013. Did something happen in those first 5 years that inspired you to get involved in taking photos in SL? If not, what did?
Lam: I was taking photos even before creating my Flickr landscape account. Actually, I had a Flickr account since 2009 where I was posting some snapshots from my SL social and business life to share with friends. But it was nothing special. Curiously, though, being a SL photographer was one of my first jobs in SL. In 2007, I had a brief career as a photographer, making images for SL profiles. But I quickly abandoned it in favour of the other business projects.
What inspired me to get involved in photography again was my return to SL following a year’s absence in 2013. After that return I felt that I did not want to pursue new business ventures and that I would use SL, instead, only for fun. And taking photos in SL seemed at the time to be the fun thing to do. And that’s what I did!
Angela: I agree that SL should be for fun. What interests you about SL photography and particularly in landscapes? What inspires you? And are you an artist in RL?
Lam: I always liked visiting beautiful sims in SL. I was fascinated by the realism of the landscaping materials and tools, but also by the talent of SL landscapers and sim designers who created amazing artistic sims. I also noticed when I compared some SL edited and textured photos with RL equivalent that there were no big differences. With proper editing SL photos could look like real and even better than RL equivalents.
SL had also the advantage that it was allowing the photographer to manipulate the scene by moving landscape parts, derendering some blocking items etc. Such manipulation is not possible in RL landscapes. It can be done on Photoshop, but I was not very keen to use Photoshop manipulation (merge different landscaper images, etc.). I thought SL was perfect for creating great raw images where Photoshop enhancements would then be limited to adjusting colors or adding textures.
I am not an artist in RL, but I always had an eye for things. My friends used to tell me that I paid attention to details and had visions of things and scenes that others did not have. So, photography looked like a good platform to demonstrate these skills and visions.of working together.
Angela: Do you have any techniques or routines that you use when taking a photo?
Lam: I have no standard technique of routine except from the use of Photoshop. I approach any new landscape with open mind and I let the landscape guide my imagination. Over time, I developed some broad ways to shoot and edit, but these are not prescriptive. Sometimes I take dozens of shots of a sim before deciding to edit one of them. Some other times I take a few. Also, the editing process does not follow a specific order, is not simple and not always successful. The aim is to try to capture the details and mood of my imaginative scene and this is not always easy to achieve. I have a big number of incomplete images. I only post an image if I really think that it depicts my vision.
Some prominent features of my work include the yellow/gold as a prominent color in spring/summer landscapes. This is inspired from Mediterranean (where I come from) summer sky and landscape colors where the shining sun often combines with dust and creates a yellow horizon effect. I have created a windlight for this.
The other prominent feature is the cloudy sky. This was the result of me not being satisfied with SL sky options. So, I decided to create my own sky on Photoshop as it is very important for the atmosphere and mood in the landscape images. People also use to tell me that they love my monochrome winter pictures: the cream/sepia tones.
Angela: Yes, I do too and we’ll be showing many of those in this winter issue. How do you find sims to photograph? Do you have any favorites?
Lam: Usually I find them from Flickr or from people sending me LMs of new sims. I have many favourites and they are all exhibited in my Flickr.
Angela: Please tell us a little about your store on Marketplace? How did it come about?
Lam: It was a period between 2017-2018 when my partner and I decided to try again some business project. We like vintage fashion and accessories and decided to give it a go. It worked very well, but RL work requirements for both of us forced us to have to choose between SL and RL work. We chose RL work and decided to scale back our SL business involvement, which was also very demanding. But we hope to come back at some point.
Angela: What’s something that a lot of people are missing out on because they don’t know this about you?
Lam: I do not know. I guess some of the things I do in RL where my life is in some aspects different than in SL. But I do not and cannot copy aspects of RL Lam’s life in SL and vice versa. Conditions are different, although my persona remains the same.
Angela: Lastly, how has TSFTG (Too Sexy for This Group) affected your SL?
Lam: I was invited to join very recently (I think 2-3 months ago), but I can say that I have seen there a lot of activity and membership by some of my favourite Flickr artists so I keep following announcements of events and other news. It is definitely a very vibrant community and I am happy to be part of it!
Angela: Thank you so much! We definitely are a very vibrant community and growing so quickly. And thank you for your time, answering these questions. I hope that our readers are inspired to check out both of your Flickr pages: your Lifestyle page as well as your Landscapes page. It’s artists like you who take the time to share and continue to open our eyes to more possibilities in SL art!
Founded in April 2018, MADD Modelz is a group of some of the strongest, most dedicated and multi-talented professionals in the SL fashion industry on the grid. They share one mission: to “create moments in SL that make people smile.” With this mission in mind, on November 2nd they celebrated the grand opening of Modelz College where they will be sharing their combined experience and eclectic, honed knowledge of the fashion industry and beyond with anyone who wants to get the utmost out of their Second Life. Classes range from fashion to blogging and advanced PhotoShop skills. Patrick and I invited them to FOCUS to talk about their exciting new path!
Patrick: Thank you, ladies, for meeting with us and so early in the morning! I have my coffee in hand, so if you’re ready let’s dive right in. I’d like to direction this question to all three of you. How did you get involved in second life?
Adriel: I discovered it through friends I went to university with. When she moved away, we used it to stay in touch and I loved it! So 10 years later I’m still here. I get bored easily so I love that I can choose to do something new on a moment’s notice in SL. I think that freedom is why I stick around.
Chey: I came to SL originally for Gorean RP and then I started designing clothes, which kept me busy. And then I began modeling. And now I stay because Jess threatens me with my life. 🙂 I’m just kidding. I stay because I have lots of friends and I love my modeling and my blogging.
RedJess: I came here about 2011 when my late husband was working in Guam. A local friend suggested it because she knew I was social and home with a young child. My friend said “Oh I’ve got something for you!” Then, within 2 hours of logging in, I no longer looked like a noob because I met people and someone said I looked like a model and directed me to Costa Rica sims modeling academy and I never looked back. That’s how I got involved in the SL fashion industry.
Patrick: What are your goals in Second Life? What is it that you want to accomplish?
Chey: I find that some people can be a bit headstrong in SL and they don’t want to share what they know with others. My personal goal is to share everything I know about modeling, blogging or building – really anything I know and have learned. And that kind of goes with the goal of MADD Modelz. We want to give people a place where they can learn somewhat at their own pace and they’re not going to be limited to what people do and do not want to share. They’re going to get all of the relevant and up-to-date information we have to offer. There are so many people with lots of different things they are good at and we will combine all that knowledge into one place where others can come and learn.
RedJess: You know, Adriel and I don’t even have to say anything. Chey just answered it for us.
Chey: You’re welcome. LOL
Adriel: I just want to add that everyone comes to SL for a reason. It’s our little escape from the day-to-day of real life. So, my hope is that we are all more supportive of each other rather than separate from each other. I see it especially so much in the modeling world that there are cliques – cliques based on where you’re born, what country you’re from and who you know. I’d love to erase those lines so we are all supporting one another rather than working against each other.
RedJess: I agree. The cliques are quite established. And, let’s be real: we’re not going to be able to erase them. But that doesn’t mean we won’t try! We want people to feel accepted at MADD Modelz. We want to be trailblazers of a different path. We all came into fashion in different ways and different modeling schools, and we’ve all grown into our own niche. Like, Adriel is a creator and Chey is a serious blogger. I am very much into production and teaching MADD Modelz is very much about pulling all of these different talents together and sharing the wealth. And most of all, MADD is about having fun and making SL better for everyone who joins us.
Patrick: A big part of FOCUS, obviously, is photography and for me, that is my artistic outlet. Each of you have artistic outlets as well, like blogging and creating. Can you tell me what draws you to those particular interests and what you love about them?
Chey: Well, when I first started blogging, I followed a lot of bloggers on places like Facebook and I kept seeing comments from people asking “where is that hair from?” or “where are those shoes from?” and I’d say probably 80% of bloggers don’t credit that stuff. They’ll wear a top and pants and that’s all they credit. They give no information about what else is happening in a picture and that would drive me crazy. I am one of those people who would go searching for those things. So, there aren’t a lot of descriptive bloggers and when I started blogging, I knew I’d be one of them. I don’t just post a picture and give credit. I talk about what I’m wearing.
Adriel: For me, I tend to get bored easily so I love to have opportunities to create new things. I also came from modelling and I noticed that a lot of models take the safe route, and I didn’t want to. I wanted to be different and I wanted to stand out so I started to make my own clothes and my own accessories. I could get as freaky as I wanted to. Then people started to ask me “Hey, can you make me this or that” and eventually it turned into my store, Prey. I never liked to see people wear things straight from a box so a lot of my items had different parts that people could choose from and make their outfit unique. But Prey had to go on the back burner due to real life for a while but there just might be something coming in the future.
RedJess: Well, you know I am a recent graduate of Visionaire photography school, and Adriel was a graduate long before me. I really think that Visionaire is the best L$20k I have spent in SL. I highly recommend it. It’s been wonderful to have photography as my SL artistic outlet, especially when RL gets in the way of my RL artistic outlet of sculpture.
Patrick: Please tell me about the MADD Modelz Infohub, what it is and what your hope is to accomplish with it?
RedJess: Our infohub is our latest “brain child.” It’s a way to be a source of information for people and to offer learning opportunities not just from MADD but from other’s events as well. If someone has an event in the fashion industry, just contact Adriel and let her know and we will put it on our universal calendar so we can all plan our events so that they don’t coincide with one another. Also, we will have direct teleporters to events like fashion events, hunts, shopping events and more at the Infohub. And all for free! We have a good amount of traffic at our Infohub as it is, and we hope that more people will become involved and use the calendar as a resource. As a continuation of the infohub, we are also developing our idea for a school of our own that I really think will take off in the new year. We will of course have people teaching classes about modelling, but we will also offer other helpful courses like photoshop and blogging essentials. And there is no defined course path. Everyone can choose whatever classes appeal to them and choose their own path based on their interests. We are dedicated to being an ALL inclusive school – open to anyone from any walk of life who genuinely want to learn. And we’re looking forward to learning more ourselves from this experience.
We’re having a grand opening for the school on November 2nd and classes begin in January. We hope that as many people as possible attend the grand opening to see what we’re all about.
Patrick: Thank you all so much for this interview. You all – including the rest of your team – are good friends to FOCUS and Too Sexy for this Group. Can you tell us how being a part of TSFTG has affected your SL?
Chey: For me, TSFTG has connected me with a lot of new people who share a love of photography as I do. I used to be one of those who just snapped a picture in-world and then photoshopped the hell out of it for hours if not days and called myself a photographer. When I started blogging and got into chatting with others from TSFTG it helped me take more pride in the actual “photography” of SecondLife. Anyone can learn to manipulate photoshop, but being able to share and learn from others about what true photography is, manipulating those windlights, angles, focal points etc. That’s what makes a person a photographer. Photoshop isn’t photography, hence why it’s called an “editing program.” TSFTG has opened the door to so many photographers to come together and grow, share and truly enjoy a common interest.
RedJess: TSFTG is a group that we stumbled across and since we stumbled, it’s been nothing but a great experience. We have met new friends, expanded our circle, and included more into our Madd family, and overall, it’s just a fantastic and evolution of the new SL members. We welcome all! Thank you, TSFTG for EVERYTHING you do for the creative people in sl! We love you for it!
Patrick: Please don’t miss visiting the MADD college, and I look forward to taking a few classes at MADD College beginning in January!
If you’ve never been to Burning Man in RL, and you don’t see yourself traveling to the playa in Nevada any time soon, you can find the next best thing in SL!
It’s called Burn2.
This time around, Patrick and I were very fortunate to be
invited by Lee Olsen to share his plot to exhibit and display Patrick’s surrealist
art. Without much of a plan, we began to build a monstrous maze that evolved
from some research about the principles of Burning Man, and some suggestions
from friends. In the end, truly almost like magic, we ended up with an amazing
build that embodied the theme of this year’s Burn2 which was “Metamorphoses.”
I have to say that during our experience displaying art at Burn2, surrounded by people who truly take the meaning and message of Burning Man into their hearts, both Patrick and I felt a connection to everyone there and a common purpose: to share, to give and to be our true selves as wildly as we wanted to be while maintaining respect for others.
In fact, there are 10 principles that are followed precisely. A few of them are “radical self-expression,” “radical inclusion” and “radical self-reliance.” By the use of the word “radical” they mean not just a little bit. They mean include EVERYONE. No matter the differences that sometimes keep people apart. Another principle is “Immediacy” which I understand as living in the absolute NOW – not over-thinking what people may say in response to our art, not limiting ourselves to standards for fear of being considered brazen. This is truly an event where people are encouraged – and even expected – to be as weird as you want to be! It is the manifestation of the words the poet, Rumi, when he wrote “Don’t you know Yet? It is your light that lights the World.” It’s not just my light or your light. It is the communal light we produce that lights the world. The light that so many of us are hesitant to uncover. When immediacy is added to the mix, there is no time to be anything but happy, and free – in a radical way.
There are long-time burners there that keep the noobs from breaking the rules like ‘Decommodification” which is a great big SAT word that means no commercialization, no selling things – taking the monetization and consumption right out of the picture. Alternatively, gift-giving is encouraged. A gift is a gift. There is no commerce exchange. A gift is given and hopefully accepted with the intended effect of creating more happiness.
Lastly, there is a burning down of the art installments. Patrick was not at all a fan. It was a fun period of time where people enjoyed the gifts we had to give, and we actively enjoyed the gifts of others. And to destroy it seemed like the destruction of all that effort to him. But one of the principles is “leave no trace.” Our fun was had, but when it was time to move on, we had our memories and peace in the knowledge that next year, we will build something just as fun again. However, we DO have pictures to remember it all by, kindly taken by Radioactive Rosca. Here is a link to his album. BURN ON!