I explore a lot. I’ve told you this before. I’m looking for locations and ideas, and I happened to stumble on the Alanis Gallery of Sensual Art during a search for museums and galleries.
Pictures of it will be in short supply. Actually, pictures of it won’t be here, as the gallery reminds us that much of the art, created out of world, although there’s certainly a few SL avatar portraits sensually hanging in the gallery, is subject to copyright and that photos aren’t taken. I respect the gallery, and the artists’, wishes.
So how to illustrate it? We’ll come to that. In the meantime, the artists often work with the nude, so I thought it might be something that interested some of you, as it does me. And yes, some of what I saw there did inspire me, as all good art should, and fired my imagination accordingly for future shoots.
Sometimes I step back from one of my own photographs and think ‘I like that’, but on visiting the Gallery -which is huge and will demand at least an hour of your time- I’m just a holiday snapper. Some of this work is seriously good. Granted, I don’t have to think ‘art’ too much. What I do is take snaps of photogenic people in pretty locations for a magazine, so the ‘art’ element doesn’t need to be at the forefront too often, although I do indulge myself a little in the ‘Vintage’ page.
While there, I met up with a kindred soul, Croatian girl Djevica (which is not her real name, ‘djevica’ meaning ‘virgin’ in Croatian). Djevica is also a SL artist (assuming we’re even on the same level) and she showed me some of her work, which isn’t on display at the gallery, but which she was using for the same purpose as me; inspiration.
I’ve been in conversation with her at length, in a mixture of her limited English, my non-existent Croatian, and ample use of the Google Translate tool 🙂 I’ve got the main thrust of what she’s saying, which Ella has kindly re-written to a more conversational style. I hope Ella and I haven’t done Djevica a dis-service in our translations.
D : I am an adjective! Yes, I picked this in keeping with my new, second life. A new beginning, a new me in virtual form. And the name reflects that. Also, I think it is of a more artistic nature to be a concept. So my concept was to be this thing, an idea, as much as a person or avatar in Second Life.
H : You’re an artist in real life.
D : I am an artist by training, but art does not pay the bills! While I pursue art as a hobby, as a thing which motivates me and is a life source, I pay my bills by other means. I am involved in tourism for a wage. I am involved in art as a purpose of life.
D : In Second Life, yes. In real life artistic work, less so, but I do use my own body as a thing which can feature in abstract terms within my art. Paintings or photography sometimes, not always, feature something of me, because the artist always gives something of themselves in their work. So it is sometimes the case that I will paint a finger into a painting, or include my toes in a photograph. Not always in real life. But my avatar in Second Life almost always features in my ‘paintings’ or photography. Of course, all of my work is essentially photography, the capturing of Second Life scenes and images. After that, though, I will try to re-touch these to have some feeling of them being drawn or painted.
H : And this is where this incredible sense of artistry comes in, whereas my work is just snapshots.
D : Your work does not need to be artistic for the purposes of an online magazine. It does the job it is intended to do. I think you take nice photographs which fit the context of the magazine. I have a preference for capturing and reworking an image again and again to give it more of an artistic sense. Did you study art at college?
H : No, photography has always been a hobby, in and out of Second Life.
D : You need to think more as an artist. For me, sometimes the hard work is naming the work to make the viewer think about what is trying to be achieved. I also always frame my work. This says that it is art. I cannot explain this better.
H : I’ve noticed that there’s a theme in your work where your body is exposed where your face is partially hidden, and vice versa…
D : You do think like an artist! Yes. This is a very interesting point you make and it is true. If my body is exposed, I try to ensure I, or my avatar, is not looking to the camera. If no private parts of the body are on display, I will try to stare into the camera lens. For one thing, there is vulnerability in nudity, and looking away from camera creates mystery. With no exposure of nipples, perhaps, I then try to be defiant to the camera. Yes, this is a theme in my work as best as I can achieve within the limits of Second Life.
H : Will you cone back and discuss some of your work with the readers of SLN?
D: I would be delighted to do that.
nb: I still have connection problems myself, so I’ve had to abridge this slightly, just to get a post up and let you know I’m still here. I’m working on a ‘part 2’ to this post (I had the photos and text prior to this ongoing issue) which I’ll spend the evening working into the ‘conversational style’ Harry mentioned. Ella