A Moment of Serendipity on the Train

(PLEASE NOTE: This is not a Second Life blog post today!)

Today I was heading into the gallery to babysit the art at the exhibit and while I was riding the train in to Southbank, I saw to my surprise, this amazing guy, dressed in a pirate costume, softly playing a guitar. Now…I am fascinated by people who are a little out of the ordinary. I want to hear their stories. I want to find out who they are and what they are doing and know the details of their lives.

Normally, I wouldn’t take photos of people on public transport or on the street. I kind of have a bit of a moral conflict about taking photos of people without their permission, but I really love street art photos, which quite often have people within them. So, I took a chance, and asked the guy if he would let me take photos of him while we rode the train together and he was happy to be my life model for our journey. I have never wished for my camera SO much since I got it. I only had my phone (its a Samsung Galaxy S7…yes I know it is a bit outdated now…I have a problem letting go of my tech, ok?) on me so I had to take these on my phone camera.20190827_220450

Paul Hilder was a fascinating guy, he gifted me with his story as he let me take photos of him. He was heading into the city for a meeting for musicians. He had gotten into trouble recently at a Climate Rebellion protest and had a beautiful brood of children. He had this beautifully easy going manner and was a delight to listen to. He had this way about him that was endearing and I liked the way he drew people in to conversation. We talked about the act of rebellion and you know what? Sometimes, to me, just talking to people in unexpected places like the train feels like an act of rebellion these days.

20190827_220714

But you know, its those moments of serendipity and chance that make life endlessly interesting…where for that moment you get to see inside someone and you connect. I’d like to explore more of those moments and maybe hold an exhibit next year revealing them in a way that is joyful, beautiful and serendipitous. I don’t know…I’ll see. But I will definitely continue on with exploring the idea for awhile and see where it leads me.

20190827_220943

With thanks to Paul Hilder for his stories, his time and for allowing me to randomly take his photos on a train ride into the city. 

A Weekend With a Little Bit Less Creating.

Yes, I am continuing the posting about my RL art journeys. I know I haven’t done an SL post for a whole hot minute, but don’t you worry about that. They are coming. I’ve just been taking a small holiday from SL while I can because very soon, I will be in there pretty much 24/7 as I prepare for exhibition and final assessment.

I DO want to do a shout out to the very generous and patient Wavie Haller of Consignment who has sponsored my final installation piece by donating the use of a full Homestead Sim for me to work on and show my final installation piece on for a few months. I’m truly thankful for this generous donation and so here is an advertisement I did a little while ago featuring Consignment that Wavie never used….If you are reading this, which you will because I will link it to you and make you read it…Thank you and you’re welcome Sir Haller!

Consignment Motorcycles

And now I have done that, here is the…DISCLAIMER: This is not a SL post, but rather a post about my RL stuff. I hope you enjoy it anyway!

This past weekend was a weekend filled with…ummm…I’m not even sure any more. It just kind of…went by before my mind could even process it was happening. Saturday was a blur of chores and domesticity. Sunday, we attended a community celebration. I am sure that I have mentioned before how my community likes to celebrate itself. Well, this was one of those weekends. Community groups were out in force with their stalls. Local acts were playing on a couple of stages. Schools were selling crafts and home baked goods. Even my GP was on stage playing his guitar and singing. I basically live in a small country town in the city ok?

I visited a friend (shout out to Cath) Sunday afternoon, where, while we were chatting, I said the awful sentence, “Triangles are not my genre.” After we managed to stop laughing at my intensely sincere stupidity long enough to catch our breath, we decided that we needed to put together an exhibition next year based around that and then we spent the whole afternoon dreaming and making notes on what that exhibition will be and what pieces need to be put into it. Everyone needs a friend who makes you less serious about yourself and who will dream a whole exhibit with you that both amuses and inspires you.

In between moments were spent working on one piece. Which is how I actually managed to say the sentence about the triangles. I work a lot with circles and swirls when I am just drawing intuitively. So I thought I would try something a little bit different and work with some jagged triangles. I KNOW RIGHT?!?! Such a leap of thinking there.

via GIPHY
Anyway..what I found out by doing this was basically that I hate drawing triangles. It’s annoying. It doesn’t flow well. It takes so much longer to do than the circles. It’s finicky. Its persnickety. Yeah, ok…I am just making stuff up now. But it still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like it. I’m not unhappy with the results, but I prefer last weekend’s drawing.

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Title: Untitled
Artist: Alison James
Size: 42.0 x 29.7cm
Medium: Micron 0.4 & 0.8 pens, Faber Castell warm and cold
grey artist pen, green ball point pen.

Next week, I think I will do something I don’t usually do and go for some realism. I haven’t practiced realistic still life drawing in a really long time and I am feeling drawn (pun totally intended. I heard you chuckle.) to giving that another bit of a crack. It’s one of those drawing forms that makes you LOOK at a subject, tonality, shadow and light, composition…It’s so easy to take the basic principles for granted when you are working on pieces or exhibiting. You just kind of shove those basics to the side and work on getting the concept out there. Its good to be purposefully mindful of these things and I am feeling a quiet tingle of excitement to be going back to basics in my art practice for a while. Whether it is a small while, or a big while…we shall see.

Weekend Creating

Disclaimer: This is not a SL post, but rather a post about my RL stuff. I hope you enjoy it anyway!

Sooooo….as just about everyone here knows, I am an artist in my physical reality. I came to Second Life as part of my postgraduate studies and have dedicated a lot of time to learning a ridiculous amount of things in order to use the platform to create art. Sometimes though, I just feel the need to return to other mediums and I often do pieces that are not just online world photography or videos. I think I don’t talk about my other art work enough on this blog or anywhere actually, mostly because I have been focused on writing about Second Life things as what I am doing there has been my biggest project to date. Right now though, I feel like chatting about it and showing you some of the other things I do…so here we go…

I have just gotten a beautiful new camera (it’s an EOS M50) and as I have never actually done any serious photography in real life with anything other than my smartphone, I have been spending a lot of time playing with it. It is fast becoming one of my favourite things to do. I still have NO idea what I am doing or what half the settings mean but it has been SO much fun trying to find out. The photos you see here were all taken at a beachfront near me in the hour and a half before sunset as that was the time I had to get out and play.

I love that photography makes you LOOK at things. My second degree was in Environmental Science and I have a particular passion for tidal zone ecosystems, so a lot of the photos I have taken so far seem to highlight that. After spending so long cocooned in my studio at home looking at the outside world through my window, it has been so very lovely to be outside, especially since we have had some absolutely gorgeous days.

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On top of the photography, I have been doing some drawing. I have always enjoyed the physicality of scratching on paper with a pencil and I have a terrible habit of collecting pencils from just about everywhere. Don’t ever leave a pencil or a pen near me, ok? You have been warned…This piece was done over the weekend. It takes a bit of time to obsessively draw enough of those little circles to fill a page but I find it quite hypnotic and soothing.

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Title: Stars in the Sky
Artist: Alison James
Size: 42.0 x 29.7cm
Medium: 2B pencil

I actually wasn’t going to title it, but a friend of mine said it looked like Stars in the Sky and it felt appropriate given that we have just had a giant full moon here, as well as the 50th anniversary of the moon landing! I draw these types of drawings intuitively. There is more of an emotional connection to them than there is an intellectual one. I simply sit and draw and that is really refreshing after being submerged in an art project that is highly conceptual and has taken 3 years to come to fruition.

So that was the creating I did this weekend. It has been a fun expedition into real life. Tomorrow I will be back at uni asking the hard questions again about life, the universe and everything, but for today, I am just happy to be sharing some of the other works I have enjoyed making this weekend with you.

World Events and Community Cohesion – SL16B

 

In the 2002 article, “Community Celebrations as Ritual Signifiers.” by Deborah Smith-Shank wrote,

“Not only do community celebrations give us a sense of belonging, they can also serve as sites of inquiry. They can help us by answering significant questions about our histories, our communities and ourselves.” (1) P 57

I believe the same can be said of the celebration of our virtual communities. Events like SL16B are just as important for that sense of belonging, for place making and for connection. These celebrations tell us a lot about each other and they also tell us a lot about the teams of people behind the platform of Second Life.

Deborah Smith-Shank also states that,

“Community celebrations identify the character of the community that hosts the event..They are sites for affirming cultural identity, for renewing acquaintance with people and customs, and, of course, for commerce.” (1) P 58

We can see all of this happening in the current celebrations. Cultural identity is being celebrated in multiple ways, not just through the choice of theme but also through the exhibits and art installations where we see reflections of who we are and what our people want to tell us about themselves.

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We also see what is coming in the aesthetics of the newer parts of our world with the unveiling of the new style of Linden homes and the settings in which they sit so comfortably.

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The Tapestry of Time is an exhibit not to be missed. I look forward to this exhibit every year because it shows us really important aspects of our culture within the world…it reveals to us our history. For myself, I love this exhibit as much as I love the exhibits of the people of the world as I am so relatively new (I landed in world in 2016) that it pieces together parts of the world I missed out on experiencing and explains how we got to where we currently are. It makes me remember that we are all part of something…more. Something built on not only the shoulders of giants, but the dreams of ordinary people and over time, that has made something truly EXTRAORDINARY.

SL16B Tapestry of Time 20190620

We renew our acquaintance with the Lindens in a time honoured tradition of being able to Meet with the Lindens. Conversations with Ebbe, the CEO will be watched with great interest for any hint of where SL is heading in the future, what we will be working towards as a community and what new innovations will enter our world. (2)

Conversations with our very our Strawberry Linden and the effervescent Xiola Linden (3), Oz and April Linden (4) and Patch Linden (5) have taken place and been recorded as well and these can be found circulating around our Second Life Blogosphere. If you missed them then you can catch up with them on the Second Life Official Youtube channel or Daniel Voyager’s blog (6).

The shopping event, is of course, HUGE! Over 100 creators have participated this year over 5 incredible sims. They have left free gifts for you and if you want to see them, you should check out Naria Panthar’s video (7) where she shows ALL of them. They also have a whole lot of discounts on their items and some of the creators even have exclusive items out!

When you head to the welcome area, don’t forget to pick up you free SL16B gifts, your special edition avatars and also your swaginator HUD to claim all your birthday gifts. This year, they have released the gifts as a hunt over the SL16B regions, with clues that are announced in  your local chat as you click the HUD. So you can run around and collect them all at once.

And lastly, I want to mention a few of the vloggers and bloggers I have seen doing amazing things to bring you footage of what the celebration is like. These content creators are significant to the community and to engendering a sense of community as they record the events of the world as it happens, are sources of information and entertainment and spend a large amount of time marketing Second Life itself in positive and uplifting ways. If I have missed you out, please feel free to add your vlog or blog to the comments sections as I would also love to check it out!! I explain a bit more about these bloggers and vloggers in the video above, so I am just going to list them with their links here for you to check out for yourself:

VLOGS

Second Life Official Youtube Channel
Isabelle Cheren
Oema Resident
Maddie Wyatt
Lrvtv
Olly Esel
NovataSecondLife
Lexy Nexen
Emily Wand
Jenny Love
Bloodfang Clawtooth
Celena Troye
Quincy Robin

Cassie Middles
Cat Pink SL
Naria Panthar

Blogs:

Daniel Voyager
Inara Pey
Caitlin Tobias
Prim Perfect
Read Meri (who I have only just found out also has a youtube channel )
Magick Thoughts SL
Ricco Saenz
Kess Crystal
Oema Resident

Add to that long list, I have some important links for you to check out:

SL16B Landing & Info Page: http://secondlife.com/view/sl16b
SL16B Destination Guide Category : https://secondlife.com/destinations/sl16b
SL16B Music Faire Lineup & Schedule: https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2563-sl16b-music-faire-lineup-schedule Meet the Lindens Schedule: https://secondlife.com/destination/meet-the-lindens
SL16B Official Shopping Event – 5 regions and 100 creators to shop and receive gifts from- https://secondlife.com/destinations/sl16b/sl16b_shopping
SL16B Community Experiences to Explore: https://secondlife.com/destinations/sl16b/sl16b_community
SL16B Swaginator Gift Hunt:  https://secondlife.com/destination/sl16b-hunt

And last but not least…Some Important Dates:

  • SL16B Open to the Public: 10am (SLT) June 20th – July 8th, 2019
  • SL16B Shopping & Gift Event: June 20th – July 8th, 2019
  • Meet the Lindens: June 24th – June 27th, 2019 – 2pm (PDT)

Remember that you still have a few more days to go check out the celebrations before they are done for the year. The event finishes up on the 8th July so hurry up and get yourself in there!!! SL16B Welcome Area

References:

(1) Smith-Shank, Deborah L. “Community Celebrations as Ritual Signifiers.” Visual Arts Research 28, no. 2 (2002): 57-63. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20716064.
(2) Meet The Lindens 2019 – Ebbe Linden https://youtu.be/-rTRYAprz5M 
(3) Meet the Lindens 2019 – Strawberry and Xiola https://youtu.be/mkAs2KXx4G8
(4) Meet The Lindens 2019 – Oz and April Linden https://youtu.be/1ePiNC0d8wE
(5) Meet The Lindens 2019 – Patch Linden https://youtu.be/tpyPocpzmK0
(6) Daniel Voyagers Blog – https://danielvoyager.wordpress.com
(7) Naria Panthar SL16B – ALL FREE GIFTS ON 5 SIMS – Second Life https://youtu.be/4ow7mloX8us

Every Great Dream Begins with a Dreamer

Soul, I Hear You Calling

Soul, I Hear You Calling.
Mangrovejane Resident
Digital Online Photography
6016px x 3316px

Some days I sit at my desk and I dream. Sometimes I dream of a new beginning, new people, new adventures. Sometimes I dream of lines and shapes and colours. Sometimes I walk forest paths or sit quietly on beaches. Sometimes I sit in libraries surrounded by the great repository of knowledge accumulated from the minds of people who can write much better than I. I once dreamed of a life filled with the practice of art and music and adventuring in worlds I could not even imagine…That was a great dream.

Mostly I dream of a peace so overwhelmingly thorough in its tender regard that I long wholeheartedly to sink into the rest it promises me in whispers. These dreams are wistful yearnings for a gentler existence perhaps. Or for just a moment to cease the hectic rush of the everyday. It is precious, that moment. Rare. Cherished for its infrequent visitations and beloved for its lingering embrace.

That, I think, is what is found in Chouchou. Horizons that stretch out endlessly and a minimalist aesthetic combined with beautifully produced and soulful music returning me to that space where I am for a moment at rest. A moment where as a dreamer, I can dream freely, thoughts wandering uninhibited and uninterrupted. It is also a moment where a dreamer DID dream and that vision is what we are privileged enough to experience here.

I read in a Oema’s Blog post, “Chouchou will be closed soon…unless…” , that as the title suggests, the Sim will soon be closed. It is the way of online worlds that the places within it are fleeting and ephemeral. They are the dreams and thoughts and visions of people brought for a moment into existence. Appearing, they wonder and delight us, and disappear again leaving their presence embedded within the reality that we hold within us.

We can see the vision within other people. Comments on social media, forums and Oema’s blog post attest to the many moments people have spent within this place, the memories and also to the grief people feel at the loss of the Sim. This place has been REAL. It has lived. It has had an existence and the possibility of its loss reminds us that the realities built within online worlds are tenuous and impermanent on a much quicker time scale than in the physical world. It conjures up an existential dread that we don’t want to acknowledge because if we acknowledge it, it breaks into the immersion we want from online worlds.

There may also be a chance that Chouchou stays for a little longer should the processes of the world be in its favour as we can see from this post in New World Notes. Or the cycle will rumble on and this dream will fade but somewhere, someone is dreaming of a new dream, a new reality, a new place with new moments…

But either way, we will be reminded that Every Great Dream Begins with a Dreamer…

Every Great Dream Begins With a Dreamer

Every Great Dream Begins With a Dreamer.
Mangrovejane Resident
Digital Online Photography
6016px x 3316px

You are Not a Writer

I listened to those words come out of a close friend’s mouth. It was said with a sneer and not long after she had read a recent blog post of mine back to me in a tone that conveyed ridicule and contempt. I don’t think I have ever claimed to be a “writer” but this sentence really kind of struck me to the core and I’ve been ruminating over it ever since. I write every day, just as I practice my visual arts everyday. Sometimes it works…sometimes it doesn’t. For awhile, those words stopped me from writing because what was the use of writing if it wasn’t good enough?

But why did those words affect me so? I usually just write with the expectation that no-one is reading. I’m just putting my thoughts and words out there and chronicling my journey. I am of the belief though, that if criticism hurts it is usually because you think there is truth in the criticism. So , I guess the truth is that I DO believe it. I am NOT a writer. Good, bad or otherwise.

I am having the same trouble writing my exegesis draft. I have a fear that it won’t be good enough or succinct enough. I am scared that I won’t be able to put in words that totality of the experiences I have had in the world of Second Life and in turn do a great injustice to the people of the world. I am afraid that I am not a writer and so anything I write about this topic will come out wrong and people will, like my friend, sneer and ridicule. I will fail. The world will break. I will prove myself a fraud and the people who love me will stop because I could not find the right words this time.

But that is not true is it? Even if I fail…the world will not break, it will just keep turning. The people who love me will continue to love me because they have already heard the words and they know that those words are only just a few in the very many that make my story.

And so…even if I am not a writer….the use of writing is in being able to express myself. Its using the words that are inside me, forcing them into coherence and reaching out to other people…to explain the thoughts and perspectives in my head. It is the same reason I chose to study and practice art.

I HAVE to.

I MUST.

And so…I will.Don't...Just Don't....

“Don’t…Just Don’t…”
Mangrovejane Resident
4096 x 2160px
Digital Online Photography

The New Subscription Box In SL Town: The Second Life Syndicate Crate

I want to talk to you about this new subscription box that is coming out really soon!! If you are anything like me, you are still weeping over the fact that both Builder’s box AND Deco(c)rate have finished in world and there is no more monthly home and garden goodness to be had. I seriously LOVED both of these subscription boxes and was a regular purchaser. I loved being able to pre-purchase, check out the teasers, then finally opening the box was like Christmas EVERY TIME. The Deco(c)rate box was incredible. From it’s actual look to its animations…so SO good. But…while I can fill a whole post with the sadness and maudlin I feel at no longer having these to look forward to, that is not what this is about…

Second Life Syndicate are putting out the Second Life Syndicate Crates which are soon to be released! Each crate features 6 designers and sells for 1000L Preorder until the release date and then 1500L for the next 3 months after which the crates are officially retired.

SLS Upgrades Ad

The very first crate is one I am particularly interested in is called “Upgrades 1.0”, which is of course, Sci-FI Themed! SO let’s go through and check out who the first 6 designers to participate are:

  • Contraption sell Steampunk and cyber punk attachments (masks, prosthetics, etc.), as well as décor items, furniture and homewares. A lot of it is kind of horror/goth inspired and some of it reminds me of the story that you follow in the game Bioshock Infinite.
  • Deadly Nightshade sell Fantasy based Avatar Attachments (wings, horns), weaponry (swords Staffs, etc.), props and spell effects
  • Ex Machina have a variety of items on their Mainstore sim including Skyboxes, buildings and home décor. It’s all industrially themed based and seriously good quality original mesh.
  • Hilted. They also appear to have their own exclusive themed box in which you receive 5 items based on a theme for 500L preorder or 700L after. Hilted do a range of really cute home items, furniture and décor as well as some aimesh shoulder pets
  • This is Wrong do a range of truly exquisite handmade tattoos, clothing and shapes and makeup. I particularly liked their Dead Tree Body tattoo and the Moloch Makeup, both of which I HAD to buy while I was at the store.
  • Violetility. I had the best time in Violetility. Now they sell a range of props, homewares and fashion, as well as Kink adult props and tools. I actually spent quite a bit of Lindens in this store after I recorded there because I loved the statues and the overlarge book prop so much that I had to have them. You have to check this place out. I may have to do a Have you seen store exploration here because I loved it all.

Having such amazing designers in the first box bodes REALLY well for the quality of items we are going to receive and makes me look forward to this box even more. You can preorder your boxes at the Second Life Syndicate headquarters, SLS marketplace or participating stores from May 17th to May 31st. And also…the Second Life Syndicate headquarters is this great place to hang out and play some games. Its set out really nicely to encourage people to stay for awhile and meet people.

If you need any more information about this box, you can head over to SLS Discord Channel, Website, Facebook, Social VR, inworld group or their headquarters.

Let me know what you think of it when it comes out and also if you like Sci Fi and Cyberpunk Roleplay sims, check out Cocoon. I have been wandering around there as a visitor for a couple of weeks now and it looks INCREDIBLE!

The New Subscription Box  in Town
What the heck is happening in this photo: (Pose) Simple Bloom Poses Thinking Girl 07; (Head) Akeruka  Lulu; (Hair) !Oleander Tegan; (Skin) Lara Hurley Abby; (Body) Maitreya Lara; (Arm) Shu Mesh N.cc Nuada Arms Implant; (Monocle) Bauhaus Movement Verlaine Monocle ; (Wristband) Una&Mushilu Cyber Punk Wrist Band ; (Leg Band) :::SOLE::: GRPE C.Leg ; (Coat) Bakaboo Sora Top ; (Top) Alaskametro Karena Bralet ; (Pants) Stories & Co. Signature Vinyl Leggings ; (Shoes) Ingenue Britta Bootie

References:
Second Life Syndicate Crates Webpage
https://secondlifesyndicate.com/sls-crates/
Second Life Syndicate Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/SecondLifeSyndicate/
Second Life Syndicate Social VR https://socialvr.me/secondlifesyndicate
Second Life Syndicate Flickr Group
https://www.flickr.com/groups/2981462@N20/

Cocoon Space Station Slurl http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Esperia/237/166/4086

Contraption Slurl http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ministry%20of%20Invention/122/70/119
Contraption Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/waltonwainwright/
Ex Machina Slurl http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/ExMachina%20Flagship%20Store/107/205/25
Ex Machina Marketplace https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/16570
Ex Machina Flickr group https://www.flickr.com/groups/4479818@N24/
Deadly Nightshade Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/142985607@N03/
Deadly Nightsdhade Slurl http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Cult%20Grounds/195/226/1839
This is Wrong SLURL http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Chaos/157/163/1028
This is wrong Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/142007505@N03/
Hilted Slurl  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Kremlin/182/230/2557
Hilted Flickr https://www.flickr.com/groups/4484639@N20/

Glitch: Adventures in Second Life Photography, a Lesson in Frustration and Shutting the Door on Perfectionism

It has been quite a learning curve week of playing around and learning new techniques in GIMP. I am having quite the moment of perfectionism panic as I stare at my latest photo that has taken me ALL DAY to learn to do and still did not turn out how I wanted it to. However I did learn a couple of things and I am slowly but surely breathing through the panic and reminding myself that experiments don’t have to be perfect. They just have to BE.

So what exactly is going on here? Well….Earlier this week, I released this photo, which was quite an easy technique to learn and I enjoyed the result of it. Smoke and Mirrors

Today, however, I spent the whole day feeling frustrated and annoyed at myself for not learning quickly enough, despite the fact that I had chosen to learn a technique that was pretty damn complicated. I look at the photo, and I cringe. I see only the flaws and my failure to get the vision I have in my head out into the world. And I know THAT is the ugly monster that is the unrelenting standards of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder playing with me.

So I breathe. Slowly. In and out. I shut the door on the monster and I upload the photo to FLickr, where again, because of the compression Flickr needs to do when uploading, the result is not what I want or expect. I remind myself again…it’s ok. Breathe. This is not about perfection. This is about learning. And so I also shut the windows on the monster, despite knowing it is still prowling around outside…for the moment, I can breathe. 

So here it is…This is Glitch. 

Glitch

I wanted it to be more like the glitch in a video of a badly done surveillance camera. But when the photo gets compressed in Flickr, I lose a lot of the detail. Below is the photo before I uploaded it to Flickr. The detail is small, but to me in this present moment…oh so large. Glitch NuNoX 5ac2a 20190404_001

There is also I think, another couple of GIMP techniques I am missing out on to make this be what I want it to be. There needs to be a static of sorts in the photo that is missing. But for now, this will do because it is time I turned my computer off and ventured out. Breathed fresh air and talked to people. 

I will say just one more thing before I go though…this photo was taken at the most incredible sim called NuNoX Cyberpunk City. If you get a chance…head out and take a look. You won’t be disappointed. 

She WAS the Storm

I have had this picture in my mind for a very long time. I actually took the original photo for it last year and have been slowly working on my GIMP skills in order to get it somewhat close to where I wanted it to be. Truth be told I will always look at my pictures and artwork and think they are not finished and see their imperfections. I have a tendency to see what they are not, rather than what they are. However, there comes a time when you just have to stop and move on and for me that time is now. This picture has taught me everything I needed it to teach me, so now it is time to let it out into the world and show you what I have been working on so I can start a new and more ambitious project.

This photo was highly edited using the GIMP program. I love this as editing and drawing software. I can hear your groans and exclamations of, “WHY DON’T YOU JUST USE PHOTOSHOP?!?!” Well…umm…just because ok?? I like GIMP, I am familiar with it and I like supporting open source software and developers whenever I can. Also…I’m a poor art student and am too cheap to fork out for the photoshop subscription. Add to that, GIMP is a powerful tool when used properly, it can do some really amazing visuals and I’m really impressed with how it performs. So yeah, you can just keep your GIMP complaints to yourself.

I can’t even begin to explain what I did in order to get it to this place. However, over the course of doing this photo I have learnt a whole lot more about using layers correctly, different ways to use gaussian blur, inserting backgrounds, choosing different brushes for different effects and playing with colour curves and gradients. I’m going to link some GIMP tutorials I have been following down below for my own records and also for anyoone who is interested in learning some basics and new techniques.

But for now, that’s enough blabbering from me..here is…

Title: She WAS the Storm.
Artist: Mangrovejane
Medium: Digital Online Photography (manipulated)
Size: 4448px x 2355px

She WAS the storm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

What the heck is she wearing? (Body) Maitreya; (Head) Akeruka Lulu; 
(Hair) Tableau Vivant - Summer Hairplay - Coromuel;
(Eyes) Buzz Gleam Eyes; 
(Outfit)Wiccas Wardrobe Naesala Armguards, Belt, Dress;
(Shoes)The Forge Livia Sandals

For further reading/watching:
GIMP 2.10 Basics: Complete Overview Tutorial for Beginners 2018
https://youtu.be/2EPIUyFJ4ag
GIMP Tutorial 5: 5 things you didn't know GIMP could do
https://youtu.be/oxUMtv07Sys
How to Blur Backgrounds in GIMP 2.10 - Shallow Depth of Field Effect
https://youtu.be/AfM9uMIkZoU
How To Blur The Background In GIMP (Create Shallow Depth of Field)
https://youtu.be/GpGfcHcSX4s
GIMP tutorial: Using the blur filters | lynda.com
https://youtu.be/mog3Bnnc2a8
Mastering Layers & Masks in GIMP
https://youtu.be/GIon0DgCCOI
Gimp Clone Tool Tutorial - [ gimp tutorial for beginners - gimp clone stamp tool ]
https://youtu.be/5p7mqkQ7YzM
GIMP Basics 2018: Intro to Layers and Advanced Layers (GIMP 2.10)
https://youtu.be/pCyBF0NwIDU
Editing with Cassie: Color Burns and Overlays
https://youtu.be/lSicScnglnc

Making a (Linden) Dollar in Second Life by Reselling Gacha

 

Let’s talk about gacha reselling. This is apparently quite a controversial thing in Second Life for a few reasons. Gacha are basically machines in SL that hold a set of items by one creator. These items are transferable, most times modifiable but not copyable. These sets contain common items as well as rare(s) and you pay a certain amount of Lindens to play for the items you want. They have multiple events (Arcade (1), The Epiphany (2), The Gacha Life (3), Gacha Garden(4)) based exclusively around gacha and they have proven to be quite popular. Gacha have become a huge part of the culture in Second Life, economically, socially and visually, and so, I have done this little video explaining the whole thing and what I do with my gacha in order to make some extra (Linden) Dollars.

For me, I get a kick out of reselling gacha items because I kind of like to see it being used by someone else who can get some use out of it rather than having that item sit in my inventory. It’s like second hand goods…I genuinely also like having items in RL I no longer need or use either sold, donated or given away as well.

I like having a little shop that I can go to, stock with items and sell things in that other people may want. It keeps me out of trouble and amuses me when I am having some down time and its fun to set things up the way I want. In all honesty, you could probably make a much better living out of gacha reselling than I do if you were really serious about it and worked at advertising and bumped your prices up a bit more, but that’s just a bit much like hard work for me.

My own gacha store (5) is located on one of the Gimme Gacha Sims. I chose this particular place for a few reasons. For a start, I liked the layout and the look of the sim. It seems to get a lot of traffic through. They have lots of incentives for people to buy there such as a rewards scheme and giveaways. They are competitively priced. I pay 1000L per month which works out to be 250L per week for 250 prims. Management is really active here so if you have a problem or need some advice, they is usually someone on hand to talk to.

So that is my take on one of the ways to make a Linden dollar in Second Life and the whole gacha situation. What do you think about gacha? Do you love them or hate them? What do you do with all your extra gacha if you play?

The Gacha Shop

What the heck is going on here? (Pose) Ana Poses Sydney; (Hair) Magika First Light; (Head) Akeruka Lulu; (Body) Maitreya Lara; (Skin) Lara Hurley Abby; (Eyes) Atelier Pepe; (Glasses) =Rebellion= Savant Specs; (Top) Tres Blah Carrington Cardigan and Undershirt; (Pants) Pixicat Classy Pants; (Necklace) Maxi Gossamer Violette Cut Bead Boho; (Shoes) Empire Flax 

References:
1. The Arcade http://thearcadesl.com/
2. The Epiphany https://www.theepiphanysl.com/
3. The Gacha Life https://www.evilbunnysl.com/
4. The Gacha Garden https://www.thegachagarden.com/
5. My own gacha resell store, “All The Things” http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Pelvoux/128/203/2496